Urban Green Life: Creating a Cozy Atmosphere


By: Chloe Williams

There is nothing as enticing as a warm, cozy bedroom when the weather cools down. True coziness stimulates all five sense, so a truly cozy room should do the same. In order to create a cozy atmosphere, you must first decide what cozy feels like to you. To me, coziness is when I feel warm, content, and secure. I based my room around that feeling. I then broke down what made me feel that way using the five senses.


  • Pinecones – pinecones remind me  of the change of season and give me the sudden urge to curl up in bed.

  • Pillows – I’m just drawn to beds with abundances of pillows. They’re just begging to be sunken into.

  • Photos of significant other – seeing the face of a loved one induces that warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

  • Knitting: thick cable knits of a blanket or my own basic purling makes me feel ceaselessly comfy and cozy.


  • Billie Holiday – All of Me

  • Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Follow You Into the Dark

  • Bon Iver – Holocene

  • Miles Davis – Seven Steps to Heaven

  • Anything by Frank Sinatra or Harry Connick Jr.


  • Scented pine cones – you can find these at your local craft store; their look and cinnamon scent are an instant reminder of fall.

  • Cloves – there’s just a little bit of autumn with every whiff.

  • Pumpkin Spice – I think this one speaks for itself.


  • Yarn – yarn, in my opinion, is the coziest material of all time.

  • Blankets – getting snug under covers is what the cooler seasons are all about.

  • Book pages – I always associate that coarse feel of book pages against my fingertips with being warm in bed.

  • Warm mugs – heating up your hands with a nice cup of tea or cocoa is a must during winter and fall.


  • Warm drinks – matcha , chai, hot chocolate, and coffee are great to sip on to stay warm as it gets cold.

  • Candies – hard candies like butterscotch and caramel taste how being cozy feels.

Once you have your list, try putting some (or all!) of those elements into your room. Then, tell us some things that made it on your cozy list. Look out for our cute, cozy mason jar candle tutorial !


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Autumn is Here

ImageBy: Chloe Williams


When autumn comes around, I feel renewed. The days seem to go by in slow motion and I notice every detail. The leaves turn color and fall, leaving tree limbs bare and vulnerable to the winter’s chill. My favorite coffee shop is full of people with their noses in books, cozied up in scarves and cardigans, sipping hot matcha and chai lattes.



The season encompasses every aspect of my life. From the places I go to kill time, to the place I lay my head.

My room is filled with hues of deep red and rich brown, and scented heavily by candles named things like Spiced Cider and Pumpkin Pie. My bed is loaded with pillows, blankets, and throws. I keep a bouquet of dried flowers on my bedside table, along with some rustic looking picture frames containing photos of my boyfriend and I. I even go as far as to change the books on my shelves from New York Times best sellers to classics and personal favorites. A cup of tea is perpetually perched atop my night stand.  


This season, Urban Green Life will be posting some great fall and winter tutorials. We’ll have simmering stove top potpourri, customized mugs, and a DIY gift ideas; just to name a few. We also have a new column this season called Sol Food, which will feature some brilliant, hearty recipes for fall and winter.

Until then, share some of your seasonal staples with us.

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SLV Comes to Sol Collective Tuesday, October 15th

SLV is the musical project of singer-songwriter Sandra Lilia Velásquez.
After recording three studio albums and touring extensively with her band Pistolera, her solo debut EP, Dig Deeper, was released on February 12, 2013 on her own Luchadora label. The four song recording was produced by ten-time Grammy nominee and legendary bassist Meshell Ndegeocello, who plays bass on three of the songs and co-wrote one. She debuted her band at the famed Joe’s Pub in February of 2013 of which music site Feast Of Music hailed, “SLV transported the audience to a different time and place… her energy blanketed the audience… Leaving the deepest impression was SLV’s absolute authenticity.” After a successful east coast tour she is set to tour the west coast in October of 2013. SLV’s second music video for the song “Painted Pictures” recently premiered on USA TODAY. She has also been featured on NPR and WNYC. Her band is currently a trio with a laptop and fans can expect what the New York Music Daily boasts in their live review, “[SLV] channeled minute fractions of the spectrum between boudoir seduction and full-blown angst and every emotion in between.
Check out her video for “Enough” here.
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Urban Green Life: Coconut Hair Care

Urban Green Life: Coconut Hair Care

Ladies, we all have that one brand of shampoo and conditioner we can’t live without. That one hair mask that makes our locks look voluminous, shiny, and luxurious. However, as luxurious as those products may be, they are not really good for us. Shampoo and conditioner are known to contain neurotoxins like methylisothiazolinone, diethanolamine, which are also biocides and cytotoxins, and carcinogens like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Never fear, you can avoid these toxins by making your own shampoo and conditioner at home! You will need the following, all available at Trader Joe’s.


1/2 cup coconut milk

2/3 cup Dr. Bronner’s tea tree Castile soap

1 tsp vitamin E oil

1 tsp coconut oil

10-15 drops tea tree oil



1 cup coconut oil

1/4 tsp tea tree oil

1 tsp vitamin e oil

Hair Mask:


1 egg

1/4 cup coconut milk

1 tbs coconut oil

In order to make and store your shampoo and conditioner, you will need two pump containers (I got mine from Dollar Tree), two mixing bowls, a whisk, and a funnel.

You’ll first want to melt your coconut oil, I melted my whole jar in forty seconds in the microwave. Then, you’ll want to start on your shampoo. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until frothy. Use your funnel to pour into your container. Do the same with your conditioner after you’ve washed your whisk and funnel. You’ll want to put your conditioner in the fridge until it hardens partway.

For your hair mask, you’ll repeat the same steps, excluding the containment. Just go to the bathroom, saturate your hair with the mixture, put on a shower cap, and wait twenty minutes. Use your new homemade shampoo and conditioner after, and you have soft, shiny, healthy hair.

Tell us how this worked out for you! Suggestions are welcome.

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New Dia de los Muertos Garden at Sol Collective!

New Dia de los Muertos Garden at Sol Collective!

By: Chloe Williams

Today our interns here at Sol have helped us revamp the garden for Dia de los Muertos by planting Flor de Cempasuchil and Agave. We started by digging up the old garden and bagging up the old plants so we could move them to the back. From there, Mari of Spanglish Arte worked her magic, planning the garden’s layout to make it pretty. We followed her plan and the results were wonderful. Behind a barrier of Flor de Cempasuchil sits several Agave plants ready for use.

Flor de Cempasuchil are also known as Flor de Muertos, the flower of the dead. This flower is used every year on the second of November to honor those who have passed.

Agave is known as the goddess of medicine in many cultures. Agave nectar is used quite often as a sweetener, but can also be used to heal wounds. Agave needles were used in Latin America. The use of fermented agave juice dates back to 200 A.D. Agave is also known to be useful in the wild, when one is in need of a needle for sewing.

Come see our garden and take our classes for Dia de los Muertos! Pop-up Art Labs: Saturdays 11:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m FREE at The Sacramento History Museum.
October 5th: Papel Picado and Paper Flowers
October 12th: Decorate Calaveras (Skulls)
October 19th: Mini Alters
November 1st: Dia de los Muertos Celebration, 6:00 p.m to 12:00 a.m

garden2 garden3 garden4

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Urban Green Life: Home Remedies for the Common Cold

urban green life common coldBy Chloe Williams

Autumn and Winter are without doubt my two favorite seasons. When the leaves change and the air gets cold, I feel at home. I get to bust out the blankets, the ugly sweaters, and unfortunately, the tissues. It’s not that time of year until I get sick, and it always seems to hit me early. Especially this year. Two days after the first day of autumn, I came down with a cold. The dreaded cold. The sniffling, the chills, the hacking cough. I got it all. After doing a whole lot of pinning on Pinterest and browsing WebMD, I came up with a small list of ways to kick that cold at home.

1. Eat Marshmallows
I had a field day with this one. Marshmallows were originally made to help relieve a sore throat. Eat a few–or in my case, a few dozen–and let them do their magic. This is perfect kids.

2. Make ginger-rosemary tea
This is really simple to make at home, from scratch. All you need is an inch and half of ginger, a sprig of fresh rosemary, and a couple of limes. Grate half your ginger into a teapot or pitcher, and slice the rest. Then, add your rosemary and juice one lime. Pour in four cups of boiling water. Add wedges of lime into the mixture and let cool/steep for thirty minutes or so. Pour into a mug with a strainer and enjoy cooled down or heated in the microwave.

3.Gargle mouthwash and peroxide
Say goodbye to salt water and hello to Listerine. Mix one part Listerine with one part hydrogen peroxide and gargle away. It seriously does the trick.

4. Drink plenty of fluids
It’s a pretty basic tip, but it works. Especially when it comes to my next tip.

5. Take a detox bath and sweat it out.
Draw a bath as hot as you can bear it. As it’s running, add two cups of lavender Epsom salt (I got some from Dollar Tree), one cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of sea salt, two inches of sliced ginger, three green tea bags, and ten drops of tea tree oil. Get in the bath slowly, and set a timer for forty minutes. The first twenty minutes are to get you to sweat out all the toxins and gunk in your body and the other half of the bath is for letting the minerals soak in.

6. Put vapor rub on the bottom of your feet and power nap
After your detox bath, wrap up in some warm pj’s and slap some vapor rub on the bottom of your feet. Pull on some thick socks and take a nice, long nap.

Hopefully I’ll be better within the next few days. Until then, share some home remedies you have.

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Spanglish Arte comes to Sol Collective!

Spanglish Arte comes to Sol Collective!

Spanglish Arte at Sol Collective.

The new Spanglish Arte location has arrived at the Sol Collective! This is not the first time Spanglish Arte and Sol Collective have come together to build towards arts and culture in the community. For the last few years , Spanglish and Sol have collaborated for the Pinata Festival. Sol Collective recently welcomed the store Spanglish Arte into their space. Along with a beautiful gallery of cultural art, Sol Collective now has a store stocked with 80% local artwork. When you walk into Spanglish at the front of Sol Collective you are welcomed by an array of handmade jewelry, graphic tees, and completely unique knick knacks. Our Q&A with Mari Arreola of Spanglish Arte tells us what her store is all about.

Q: What is the history of Spanglish Arte and Sol Collective? When did you first meet Estella and start working together?

A:I met Estella almost ten years ago through a friend named Jenny. All I remember is the clothes she had on and how cool they were. As the years went by, I heard all about the things Estella did with the community and I knew I wanted to collaborate. We started doing the pinata festival–it’s our fourth year now–and I guess that’s where it all started.

Q: What made you want to collaborate with the Sol Collective?

A: I’ve always been interested in nonprofits and local art. Also, I learned over the years that you should work with people that you like, people that you like to be around. When you generally like someone and what they’re about, the work is good. The energy is great (at Sol Collective) and they’re proactive and care about youth.

Q:What can people expect from the new Spanglish location (especially people who’ve never been)?

A: People can expect to see work from local artists around Northern California, along with art from around the world. Spanglish is space where local artists can begin to make a living off their work.

By Chloe Williams

Spanglish is open Tuesdays-Saturdays from noon-6p.m. and will be opening even earlier in October at 11a.m. Come by and see what all the buzz is about.

Find out more about Spanglish Arte and get your online shop on at http://www.ShopSpanglish.com.

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Urban Green Life: Introduction and Laundry Detergent


Freesolarts is introducing Urban Green Life, a column dedicated to healthy, sustainable living. Here, you will find recipes for everyday products that save you money and possibly your health. With each recipe comes a reason to use it, whether it’s to save you money or to avoid chemicals found in the original, store-bought product. At Sol Collective, we believe you should know what you’re bringing into your body and home.

Finding simple replacements for day-to-day necessities is an easy way to start going green. For our first post, we’ll be teaching you how to make your own laundry detergent with four simple ingredients.

In the past, neurotoxins and carcinogens have been found in mainstream laundry detergents like Tide . Neurotoxins have been proven to cause learning disabilities and other brain defects, whilst carcinogens can cause cancer and other illnesses. The truth of the matter is, we don’t know what goes into Tide or Shout without doing some serious research. So why not start making your own laundry detergent with four simple ingredients that cost close to nothing?

This recipe seriously amazed me. I was skeptical when I first tried it, but after the first use, I was hooked. It leaves your clothes smelling nice and fresh, and cleans just as well as any other detergent. You save so much by making this in bulk, since only two table spoons are needed per load; a little goes a long way. Here’s what you’ll need, all available at Target:


  • 1 cup borax

  • 2 cups baking soda

  • 1 bar ivory soap

  • 5-10 drops tea tree oil

You will also need a cheese grater, a large bowl or bucket (depending on how much you make) for mixing  and a container of some sort. The one I used for mine used to contain peanuts.

First, you will want to measure out your baking soda and borax and blend together in your mixing bowl. From there, you will grate the Ivory soap into fine shreds and add to the mixture. Once you stir that, you can add the tea tree oil. Since I made the smallest amount my first time, I just shook up the container. If you’re making it in bulk, you’ll just need to stir it very thoroughly.

I use around two tablespoons of detergent per load of laundry, depending on its size. You can also add vinegar when washing as a natural fabric softener. Don’t worry, the tea tree oil overpowers the scent of the vinegar.

If you try this recipe, tell us how it worked out for you.

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What is a Co-Lab? Come Tuesday nights and find out.


It’s six p.m. Thursday night at Sol Collective and people are pouring through the open door. Each person carries a sketchbook, writing utensils, and miscellaneous items used for their work. The atmosphere is wonderful. People are smiling and chatting over the faint sound of jazz music. Slowly, it progresses into near silence with the only sound being the background music and the scratching of pens on paper. Everyone is lax and approachable, especially muralist Shaun Burner who tells me about the origin of Tuesday night collabs at Sol Collective.

Shaun Burner and Waylon Horner started the Co-Lab at Sol Collective about a year ago, although the collaborative art night has been an ongoing underground event for longer than that. “At first, it was just a ton of weirdos (Burner clarifies that he means this in most endearing way possible) hanging out and making art together until the wee hours of the morning,” explained Burner. “Sol just turned out to be our venue,” Burner says gratefully, and Horner nods in agreement. Burner then goes on to explain that this is what he and several of his fellow artists considers socializing, rather than going to a bar to see friends.

When I ask about the energy, Burner and Horner exchange looks and smile. “It’s great, and there’s no real creating energy,” explained Burner, “It’s brought by the people that come.” Burner also emphasized that the Co-Lab is collectively run and thrived during his recent trip to the UK with the help of Horner, Stephen Williams, Trent Liddicoat, and more.

One artist I found out at the Co-Lab was BAMR (Becoming A Man Righteously) who painted the Kings mural downtown. “Sometimes artists collaborate. Sometimes we just do our own thing. It varies.” Bamr noted. Tonight he’s doodling, but usually, he paints. He says his favorite thing about the collaboration is networking. “I get to meet like minded people in a friendly environment, it breeds good work.”

Sol Collective is also working to start a writer’s Co-Lab on Tuesdays in the back room to follow up Microphone Mondays. “We want writers to get real, honest feedback so they can improve, much like artists when they come and get involved in the Art Co-Lab,” explains Andru Defeye, the man behind Microphone Mondays. Tuesday night Co-Labs start at 6-10 p.m. and are free to the public EVERY TUESDAY NIGHT. See you there.

Tuesday Night Collabs are open to everyone.For more information, email press@solcollective.org

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So You Wanna Battle?

941178_666302343397893_1708655577_nFor the last few months at Sol Collective’s Microphone Mondays, something very exciting has been going on…  A re-emergence of battle rap culture in Sacramento thanks to Khalid “Impact” Ali and the No Excuses battle league. Currently in the middle of an phonetically furious, and at times, hilarious tournament called Sol Survivor, we caught up with Impact to talk about No Excuses, Sol Survivor, and how more rappers in Sacramento can step into the arena.

Sol: When did you first start taking battle rap serious?

Impact: In 2010, we got a huge demand from people asking for more battles and that’s when it went from something we did on the spot for fun and became something we set up and planned.

Sol: What made you want to start a league? And how does that process work?

Impact: There was never a desire to start a league it was something that just happened. Originally No Excuses was a series of events as a part of a tournament. The process is very boring but it is basically being an event planner so getting a location, staff, battlers/performers and promotion. It sounds easy but it is a lot of work the hardest part though is to get a staff and people that are willing to commit their time and effort.

Sol: How did you get involved with Microphone Mondays and Sol Collective?

Impact: Heard about it a lot from different people, mostly praising it and saying good things. And one of our battlers suggested we hold an event there and the rest is history

Sol: What can people expect when they come out to a No Excuses Battle?

Impact: The unexpected. Yes it is cliché to say that but that’s me being honest. Me, as the president, I never know what to except. I can preplan, conceptualize & envision but at the end of the day Sacramento has so much diversity that we always have something new and different. The only thing that has been consistent is peoples reaction which has always been positive from your 18 yr old thug, your 30 yr old police officer to your 70 year old couple and yes all of those people have come to watch our battles.

Sol: Who are your favorite NE battlers and why?

Impact: Hahaha wow umm. That’s a tough question. My favorite battles are ANT vs Dom, Repellent Vs E Tagg, Kevo Vs Deathspitter and Cris Vs Teddy Graham. My favorite battler right now is MattKO our champ I just wish I could give him more battles!

Sol: How do folks interested in battling sign up for No Excuses?

Impact: Facebook and our website, signing up is easy, just contact us. Facebook.com/NoExcusesBattleswww.noexcusesbattles.com

Sol: What are you most excited about at the upcoming “Total Elimination” event on July 29th at Sol Collective?

Impact: Repellent Vs Menstral Cycle and then the return of Deathspitter! Its going to be an amazing event lots of new faces and a lot of battles around 6!

Sol: What else is coming up for No Excuses in the coming months?

Impact: We are having some huge events August 24th in Stockton and then August 31st at Sol Survivor. We are also planning to come out to Auburn in September so that should be good.

Join us for No Excuses Total Elimination July 29th at Microphone Mondays. Event starts at 8:08. Battles start after the open mic.

Click this link to find out more: https://www.facebook.com/events/508265955913499/

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