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Food for the Goodest Boys: Treats My Dog Eats made from ingredients you’d eat

Pets live a life that can fill their owners with jealousy. All of their basic needs are taken care of, money is no object and they pretty much get to do whatever they want with little consequence (though some do show remorse once they realized they did something wrong). In return, pets give their owners unconditional love and affection (this is mainly true for dogs, but applies for most animals, with the exception of some cats that just want to be jerks). Finding a high quality treat is the least a responsible owner can do. 

Jonathan Zanger lived with cats most of his life. At his wife’s request, a little furball of fun named Bubba joined their family. As Bubba adjusted to his new home, Zanger came to the realization that some dogs (including Bubba) have difficulty digesting commercially made foods due to their use of preservatives and other necessary ingredients. Zanger set out to create a better product for Bubba — one using the same ingredients he uses when cooking his own food. He liked the products he was making and felt that there was a market, which led to the creation of Treats My Dog Eats.

Zanger spends his week making the all-natural treats in his home kitchen. He uses a combination of yams, pumpkin, peanut butter, beef, eggs, cinnamon, turmeric, salmon, oats, apples, almonds, chicken, blueberries, fish skin, turkey, whole wheat flour and pork. His key is to dehydrate the treats instead of using preservatives. This enables Zanger to keep the unnecessary ingredients to a bare minimum (he will use extra ingredients in some of the ground meats and fish to keep them more stable).

“Baked treats are packed with as much flavor as possible with the least amount of ingredients,” Zanger says of his products. “And everything I make is made from food I will eat.”

Zanger puts a lot of thought and effort into making his treats something pets can’t get enough of and educates owners on what ingredients what could be unhealthy and even unsafe. Zanger says that it’s important for pet owners not to feed their animals the following ingredients, which can be toxic: chocolate, raisins, garlic, onions or peanut butter that has been sweetened with Xylitol.

While Zanger dreams of one day opening a storefront that would include a day care, veterinarian services, pet owner meet and greets and adoption services to coincide with treats and other items (“maybe after I win the lottery”), he currently sells his products online and at farmers markets. He is a regular at the Providence Flea and can also be found at either the Huttleston Market in Fairhaven, Mass, or Pawtuxet Village Farmer’s Market at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston on Saturdays. He will be participating in the indoor markets when the weather starts getting colder in the fall and will be at numerous holiday shows. Zanger can be seen wearing a button that asks if he can treat your dog, offering samples to more-than-eager recipients. 

“Come to all the outdoor events with your pups,” he says excitedly. “I will treat your dog on the spot!”

In addition to being available online and at pop up locations, Treats My Dog Eats can be purchased at The Emerald Frog in Cranston, with more locations to be announced. 

Zanger relies heavily on word of mouth to promote Treats My Dog Eats, in addition to his website and social media platforms. Zanger takes the time to talk to, and most importantly, listen to his customers (both human and pet). This has led to the addition of cat treats in April 2021 and the development of softer treats for older dogs. 

“Come talk to me,” Zanger requests of customers to better know and understand their needs and preferences. “If your pup has a favorite that I do not make, please tell me about it. This is the beginning of my second year in business, and it has changed a great deal in that year alone.”

Treats My Dog Eats is available on Instagram, Facebook (@TreatsMyDogEats), Twitter (TreatsMyDogEats1) and the website: treatsmydogeats.com




The Apothecary Is In!: Home-grown service and homemade treats make Green Line Apothecary a special spot

Picture this: You step through the frosted glass doors and take in the scene around you as pharmacists cheerfully fill prescriptions, greeting each customer by name. You approach the gleaming wooden soda fountain and settle into an evergreen velvet stool, peering at the menu, filled with seemingly endless choices. A cherry phosphate? A chocolate egg cream? What sort of wonderful concoction will it be today? No, this isn’t a stage direction from a deleted scene of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town – it’s actually just a day in the life at the Green Line Apothecary.

What began as a romance on an MBTA Green Line train in Boston (get it?) blossomed into a booming business for husband and wife duo Ken and Christina Proccacianti, and they just welcomed a brand new brick n’ mortar outpost — an expanded location steps away from the former home of their Wakefield flagship. The new spot boasts extensive seating at the comfortable soda bar that’s polished to a luster that would rival the dapperest of gentlemens spit-shined spats, shelves stocked with dozens of local goodies, and a carhop-style pick-up, so you don’t even need to leave your vehicle to take advantage of this warm and welcoming spot that strives to be Rhode Island’s community pharmacy.

Christina grew up working alongside her father delivering greeting cards to local drugstores and saw the clear difference between the personalized feel of these small businesses and large chain stores. She wanted to replicate that authentic and personalized feel in her own business. Everyone who walks through the sliding doors are treated like members of the family, and it’s details like this that really set Green Line Apothecary apart from the big box competitors. 

Of course, Green Line wouldn’t be Green Line without their fabulous selection of vintage victuals and vittles. It’s hard to pick between the seasonal Banana Split Ice Cream, the Strawberry Soda with syrup made in-house or the Donut Ice Cream Sandwich, but the Coffee Egg Cream is the true star of the show. This soda fountain staple that dates back to the 1880s consists of soda water, milk and syrup, but Christina and Ken pay homage to Rhode Island Coffee Milk with Dave’s Coffee Syrup added to the mix. It’s a delightful blend of old and new, with a touch of Li’l Rhody thrown in for good measure!

The Proccaciantis have truly made Green Line Apothecary into a family business — their three daughters serve as taste testers for the homemade ice cream and are integral players in developing the soda fountain’s menu. “They’re our biggest supporters, but also our biggest critics,” says Ken, laughing. Their oldest daughter will tie on the iconic green soda jerk bowtie this summer and try her hand at serving up sweets. Who knows? This could be the start of the next generation of ice cream soda superstars! 

No matter how the Green Line Apothecary expands (and boy, do they plan to!), you can count on the Proccaciantis to deliver friendly and one-of-a-kind service with a smile. “Pharmacy is personal. And the community has embraced our modern and personalized version of the classic American drugstore,” says Christina. I’ll raise an ice cream soda to that!

Green Line Apothecary has two locations: 905 North Main St, PVD and 245 Main St, Wakefield. For more, go to greenlineapothecary.com or follow them @greenlineapothecary.




Better Days Are Coming

When COVID cases decreased enough to allow for some shopping, Westminster Street got creative with Open Air Saturdays.

The usually heavily trafficked thoroughfare was closed to vehicles, allowing shoppers to wander the street while giving each other plenty of space. The event had to be postponed due to an uptick in cases, but business owners bouncing back from a long COVID winter’s nap are excited to continue this awesome initiative starting May 8.

Adam Buck, owner of Small Point Cafe, says, “Open Air Saturdays were awesome and got people to wander around the neighborhood and check out a lot of the shops and restaurants on Westminster Street. It was a bummer when we had to shut it down during the surge, but we’re excited to debut a brand new Coffee Cart with a house made Blood Orange Nitro and authentic Thai Iced Tea that we were able to acquire through RI’s Take It Outside program.” Some delish caffeine and sidewalk shopping? Sign me up!

Ongoing Saturdays beginning May 8, visit @indowncitypvd for more info




Knocking it Off and Shutting it Down

A few local businesses took the safety of their employees, customers and community so seriously that they kept things locked down even when state officials began to lift restrictions.

Frog and Toad, located at 795 Hope Street (they do have a second location on Westminster but it’s currently closed) has yet to reopen for in-person shopping, so adapted to being not only an online shop, but also allowing for pick-ups. If you don’t know the shop by name, you’ve definitely seen their products around. They kicked off the pandemic by printing Gina Raimondo’s favorite press conference slogan “Knock it off” on a t-shirt. The design, made by Maret Bondorew, paired with another local business, Parched, and 20% of its proceeds went to Rhode Island COVID relief. They’re since expanded into offering merch to show off that you’re vaccinated, including sweatpants that have “VACCINATED” written across the ass, and they do a lot of work to partner with local organizations to give back. frogandtoadstore.com; @frogandtoadstore 

Many Rhode Islanders held their breath until Wildflour, a vegan bakery in Pawtucket, reopened last summer after shutting down at the beginning of the pandemic. Once it did, many ran to it, gleeful to find their treats back and ready for them. Wildflour has handled the pandemic like a boss. Indoor dining has been closed since the initial shut down (on nice days you can sit outside) and they have set up a clearly-marked pathway through the store. You enter, look in the food cases, make your order, pay and walk out a different door. Drinks are made to order, and you wait outside for them. The whole process is quick, painless, and feels incredibly safe. You can also do online ordering so that you can pick-up without waiting. wildflourbakerycafe.com; @wildflourveganbakery 

Riffraff, the bookstore and bar that’s every book lover’s dream, has been incredibly in their handling of the pandemic. They still don’t allow people into their shop, but do allow book pick-up as well as outdoor browsing and cocktails. They also have surprise book care packages, curated by Riffraff staff based on your favorite books, and their recommendations are always on point. riffraffpvd.com; @riffraffpvd 

Tallulah’s Taqueria, located at 146 Ives Street and a contender for the best taco in Providence, took their takeout-friendly restaurant and adapted it for pandemic safety. They closed their patios and kept them closed for the past year, and turned their operation into a to-go window. Ordering ahead is effortless with their website, which is recommended because they have been busy at peak times. Safe takeout, delicious tacos, and a semblance of normalcy. tallulahstaqueria.com; @tallulahstacos 




Revolution Solution: Fashion Revolution PVD fights fast fashion culture

Before you ditch your skinny jeans for a pair of wide leg jeans that you’ll be tossing for next year’s trend, consider the impact. The fast fashion industry thrives on consumers salivating over the latest looks that make it from runways to closets with lightning fast speed, only to languish in landfills when the trends inevitably change in a season. These clothes are more or less designed to be disposable — they’re made out of cheap materials and poorly constructed, and their environmental impact is huge. The clothing manufacturing industry uses trillions of liters of water each year. Cheap dyes in wastewater pollute our water, then consumers pollute it further by tossing their synthetic clothing into a washing machine, allowing tiny plastic fibers to find their way into waterways.

There’s also a human cost to fast fashion. In order to produce clothing quickly and inexpensively, factory workers often are overworked and underpaid, forced to work in unsafe conditions. In April 2013, Raza Plaza, a shoddily constructed eight-story building in Bangladesh that housed five garment factories, collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people and injuring more than 2,500. This tragedy was the impetus for Fashion Revolution Week, which takes place in April to honor the Raza Plaza victims.

Fashion Revolution Week is an international event that fights back against fast fashion by supporting a more ethically sourced and sustainable fashion industry. Cities around the world participate, and this year, Betha Wood is the city lead for Providence. I recently spoke with her about her passion for the project.

Emily Olson (Motif): How did contributing to a more sustainable fashion industry become a passion for you?

Betha Wood: I’m one of the founding members of Style Week, which is one of the local fashion weeks in Providence. I was the director of hair for 10-plus years, and through that experience, I got lots of work backstage at NY Fashion Week and London Fashion Week. I’ve been all over the world in fashion, and I’ve been abused by the top people in the industry. I learned a lot from those negative experiences because it showed me that I want to change the culture backstage. It’s interesting that this organization [Fashion Revolution] was founded because of the mistreatment of people in factories. but it really relates to every avenue in the industry — people in retail, the models, the agents. It’s culturally nasty a lot of the time and it doesn’t have to be. Maybe if we can make fashion kind we can make kindness fashionable.

EO: Clothing that is sustainably and ethically produced and made out of natural fibers can be prohibitively expensive. What would you suggest to someone who wants an ethical wardrobe, but can’t afford one?

BW: Focus on recycled clothing or build a relationship with a local designer to rework the things you’ve always had that you love. It might be expensive, but then you’re making your loved clothes last. And we need to educate ourselves. Most people don’t know the fashion industry is the most pollutive in the world.

EO: What is Fashion Revolution Providence doing to combat fast fashion?

BW: I created a map that highlights as many Providence-based vintage and resale shops, as well as tailors and cobblers, that I could find. I’m also making mini films that tell the stories of the people who are in the industry or impacted by it. 

Rhode Island is the birthplace of the industrial revolution. We had the first cotton mill in the US. We have some of the oldest polluted waters in the country, and today, Pawtucket has some of the cleanest waters. Let’s celebrate our rich textile history, pat ourselves on the back for what we’ve accomplished, look at our next steps and share what we’ve learned with the communities behind us.

Fashion Revolution Week takes place April 19 – 25, with a film screening to take place on April 25. Find details on the film screening as they become available at fb.com/FashionRevolutionPVD or @FashionRevolution_PVD. Designers, tailors, makers and cobblers who want to participate next year should contact fashionrevolution.pvd@gmail.com. Motif partnered with Fashion Revolution to create its map and films.




Open and Closed

Open

Kin Southern Table + Bar: 71 Washington St, PVD. kinpvd.com This southern-cuisine-inspired eatery is opening this spring in Downtown Providence.

Bintimani: 326 Westminster St, PVD. Evicted from its Boston location, this West-African-inspired restaurant will be the second of two new Black-owned businesses in Downtown. (Where Tom’s BaoBao used to be). Opening in July.

Plant City X: 619 West Main Rd, Middletown. plantcityx.com The ever-popular vegan-vegetarian food court in Providence has a new location in the East Bay. See story at motifri.com/eat-your-veggies-plant-city-x-takes-root-on-aquidneck-island

Closed

Davis Dairy: 721 Hope St, PVD. This kosher market closed its doors for the last time after 114 years in business. They had a fire last May, and its owners have chosen not to reopen this last-of-its-kind Jewish kosher dairy market. It will be missed.

Skye Gallery: 381 Broadway, PVD. This long-standing and cultural mecca has closed its doors due to hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic. It brings us no pleasure to have to announce the closure of an art gallery in these pages.




Open and Closed

Opened

Diego’s Eastside: 192 Wayland Ave, PVD. diegosprovidence.com. The sister store to Diego’s of Newport, bringing their trademark style of modern Mexian food and choice cocktails.

Boomerangs Roadhouse: 293 Providence St, West Warwick. boomerangsroadhouse.com. Serving up classic pub fare, seafood, BBQ and other American cuisine goodies. Plus, full service bar and lounge (singer not included).

The Pizza Nomad: 291 Providence St, West Warwick. Not exactly new; it was formerly known as Wicked Good Pizza.

Marcelino’s Boutique Bar: 1W Exchange St, PVD. marcelinosboutiquebar.com. This spot actually opened last fall (which we missed, whoopsie)! The upscale watering hole provides an aromatic, earthy and authentic journey to the Mediterranean (via food and drink, of course). 

BB.Q Chicken and Soban Korean Eatery: 272 Thayer St, PVD. sobanbbqchicken.com. Soban closed last summer amidst COVID to renovate, and reopened after combining forces with bb.q chicken.

Latte Love Coffee House: 11 Comstock Parkway, Cranston. latteloveri.com. This new independent coffee shop (outside PVD, too!) boasts ethically sourced coffee from around the world. 




Dog Dance Parties, K9 Civil Disobedience, and Dog Island: An interview with the Peaceful Pack

Photo credit: Peaceful Pack

The Peaceful Pack is an animal boarding service located in Johnston that advertises itself as more of a home than a kennel. It is owned and operated by Ashly and Sheila Rose, and they recently invited me into their pack to talk about owning a business, working with your spouse and bringing pups to protests.

Erica Laros: How did the Peaceful Pack start?

Peaceful Pack: We met in 2012. We met and fell in love and we never left each other’s side since the first time we really hung out. That was 2012 and we got married in 2014. Bought the house and started the business in 2015 and six years later … with Max [their Australian Shepard]. We started off with Coco and Max. We had two dogs. We didn’t want to leave them behind and we didn’t want to miss anything. We didn’t want to miss the little footsteps of Max when he was a baby and Coco as an older dog mixing in with him and seeing their connection together. We didn’t want to miss any of that. She [Shay] was working corporate and I [Ash] was home here and we just kind of fell into it almost. 

We saw that there was a need and saw there was so much value and appreciation. You know when you do something and it’s different when you have an abstract thought about an idea and then you see the reality of it. Then you see when people have tears in their eyes. You can see that we’re really doing something. That makes a difference for one person and it multiplies. 

Even today we saw some dogs and we watched from afar and of course we were interested. We watched for a couple minutes. We saw the owner and hopped out of the car and said hi. We introduced ourselves really quickly and she was like, “This [meeting you] is heaven sent. You just don’t understand.” For us that is big. It makes our whole purpose worth it really.

Photo credit: Peaceful Pack

EL: So were you both dog lovers when you met?

PP: I [Ash] always have been in love with all animals. I’ve been working with horses since I was younger and I was always into animals. And I know Shay had dogs when she was younger as well… 

We are both pretty compassionate and sensitive souls. So those topics already– I [Shay] literally cry all the time. I am always involved in something creative or something that touches your soul a little bit deeper.  So that is already natural to me to be able to care on that level.

So it’s right in alignment with how we really are essentially and how we like to love. And what we learn from the dogs.

And how we like to live, too.

Because it’s a lifestyle.

We are definitely dog aunties and dog moms all the way. 

EL: Tell me a little about how you got the nuts and bolts of the business together. Did you consult a lawyer or friend for help or do it all yourself?

PP: We did everything from the ground up.

Literally learning as you go. Every single day. Even when you feel you have it down you are literally still learning something new.

Everything from talking to other dog boarders to getting a little deeper into that community and learning from them. Exchanging stories and contacts and really piecing things together that work for the way we want to run the business. We want it to feel more homey than a kennel. We don’t want 25 dogs just running in and out. We’re not in it for the money. We’re in it for the connection with the dogs and really serving them and making sure they get the mental exercise and the physical exercise and all the adoration and love they deserve. Because we don’t have long with them. So we have to get it in while we can. [laughs] We want to love them to the fullest. For us that’s an absolute privilege.

Even the fact that we also get to have our own dog [Max] with us makes it that much more fulfilling for us.

The Roses; photo credit: Desiree Boranian

EL: Max has so many friends.

PP: Yes! He loves it! And he knows them all by name. Literally you would be so shocked. Every single one, we will name specifically the dog and he [Max] will grab the dog and come back. He has such great talent.

…It’s wonderful.

EL: And you’ve taken the dogs to political protests. So they are getting their political action in there.

PP: [Laughs] Yes we have. Protests to Pride events to personal Pride events at clients’ homes where they’ve invited us to parties, and we’ve done some weddings. They’re pretty much with us wherever we are. And we are pretty much nowhere without them. [laughs].

EL: So some dogs got to attend to their first protest.

PP: [Laughs] Yes and they loved it. They learn to relax in the car and manage their state while there is a bunch of hectic things going on outside. 

That’s a big deal.

And for them all to be calm and watch everything around them. They’re in on it, and it’s kind of cool to see. We’ve taken them to events and parades and the dogs love it…

They are usually on their best behavior… like sprinkling [magic] dust on them [laughs].

EL: But you do some meditation with the dogs? And sprinkling the magic dust on them? Tell me is there some secret method you use when you have multiple dogs in the house and you want to ‘zen’ them? What’s your secret?

PP: It’s your own inner zen. They feel you as the pack leader — they feel your energy. So if you’re irritated or frustrated and you think it’s in your head and that you can keep it in, they feel all of that. So it’s important to get yourself to a state where you’re like let me relax first, sit down with them, usually it’s being with them present but your inner zen is there. As soon as you are calm, they can feel and it totally resonates with them.

We do have special little tricks though [laughs].

EL: I knew it.

PP: We do a lot of rotating. So meaning that our schedule varies their activities and we keep them busy all day long so when we take a break and sit down they understand the fact that it’s time to relax…We change the atmosphere. 

The music changes a little bit. It comes down to music like this [classical] where everyone is learning to relax and be quiet. The lights will come down. We actually did a little experiment the other day to prove our point where we played this type of music [classical] and everything was quiet-quiet-quiet. We had about seven of them that day. They were nice and quiet. Then we flipped it to some of our hip-hop music where we love to jam out and dance and have a fun time and the dogs love it, too. They party. 

…We love music therapy with the dogs. We do a little crystal healing. We do mini reiki sessions with the dogs. And we do meditations where we sit together as a pack. That could be anything [like] howling with the dogs– which our neighbors must love [laughs]. So we’ll howl with the dogs and they love it and they’re all riled up and then we’ll rotate into resting and sitting with them and loving on them for a little while. Then they’ll run around outside for a little while and we’ll take them on a little road trip. The varying activities are keeping their minds going, their little souls going…They love the varied activities. They love socializing and seeing other dogs. Six feet away obviously.

EL: Of course. Because dogs totally understand social distancing. 

PP: Yes they get it! [laughs].

EL: That’s amazing. What do you find as the biggest challenge of being a business owner?

PP: Trying to meet everyone’s expectations and trying to be available. We’re still just two people even though we want to serve the entire community. You’ll still come across time conflicts. Twelve o’clock is a big, big time everybody wants. 

EL: You also live and work in the same place. Do you have to create boundaries for personal space?

PP: We do create some time boundaries where we are open for appointment only.

That’s the best way.

EL: Who does the photography?

PP: We both do pretty much everything. We both work with and handle the dogs throughout the day. She does most of the driving. I’ll do invoices while she drives. We both do everything pretty much together. Any time we try to do anything separate we just come back to the point that we’re a pack and it’s easier for us and it flows better when we’re all together. Even with the dogs. Everything is with them and for them really. So if we’re not all together it doesn’t feel as in sync. So I think we share all of the responsibilities really equally.

EL: What would be your ideal space if money, land and number of dogs were no object?

PP: … [a] place called Rose Island…near Newport…the first idea that popped into my head is a big island with a whole bunch of dogs and us with G wagons. I just see so many dogs in a big field. I don’t know how that’s going to work. [laughs] [We] would need a boat to pick up and drop off the dogs.

EL: Maybe they could make it Dog Island?

PP: Definitely think a farm would be good for us…Little furnished human quality cabins that we would stay in on a big piece of property with big fields to run in and agility courses.  

EL: Any parting advice to pet owners?

PP: Listen to your dogs. Learn to understand what they want and what they need. When you make that deep connection with the dogs, you’re able to provide a better life for them. And that’s really what we’re here for as pet owners and pet moms and aunties. As caregivers we’re just here to provide for the dogs. A safe place to play. A place to be happy. [It’s important] to really listen to the dog and connect with the dog’s soul. Not just have a dog. It’s wonderful to have an animal, but it’s incredible to connect with that animal on a deeper level where it’s soul to soul.




Giving Rhody a Lfe Line: The latest kid on the fashion block

Clothes carry meaning, and fashion has the power to change social discourse. As the nation wrestles itself free from four years of hateful and divisive politics, society has an opportunity to express what it has learned from the experience and what it will no longer tolerate, and the fashion industry has the tools to communicate that attitude to a national audience. In Rhode Island’s latest apparel Lfe Line, married couple Amos and Katie Goodridge have taken their passion for design and lifestyle and fused it with a commitment to the greater good. 

Amadeus Finlay (Motif): Brand names carry meaning, and nothing is decided upon without deeper thinking. What does Lfe Line mean to you? 

Amos Goodridge: When I think of Lfe Line, I think of dependability, it is about everyday life. The name Lfe Line is unique, I want it to be different from anything out there. It’s not a brand, it’s an empire.

AF: Powerful name, focused intentions… now let’s talk about the clothing. What sets your products apart?

AG: Within our Lfe Line clothing range, our tie dye especially is unique within itself. Each shirt is none like the other giving each customer a one-of-a-kind design with each purchase. But more than that. Lfe Line does not apply to one size gender or race. Lfe Line is for the people.

AF: Do you practice ethical sourcing?

AG: We at Lfe Line strive to produce not quantity but quality clothing. We make it a point to be ethical in all operations of our future empire. The point is to set a strong foundation, and the only way to do so is to do everything the right way.

AF: Your Facebook page also covers a lot of food conversations. What is the relationship there?

AG: What we are trying to accomplish is helping people of all walks of life. Lfe Line is a lifestyle and one of the aspects is nutrition. I wanna show people there’s other ways to nourish your body through natural foods, meditation and exercise.

AF: At a time when socio-political tension is at a high point, what is it about your message of togetherness that compels customers to choose your products?

AG: It starts with the team that we have around us, we have people working with us from all different backgrounds. Our team consists of people from Cambodia, Africa, Portugal and more, giving our clothing a flair like none other.

AF: As the son of Black immigrants from Liberia, and as a woman of mixed European, African and Indigenous cultures, what does this beautiful partnership of romance and commerce say about the potential for a modern America?

AG: It shows what the American dream should be, it’s about unity and bringing everyone together. This is more than just a partnership; this is the solid foundation that is needed for this impending empire.

AF: Any final thoughts for the stylish, socially-conscious people of Rhode Island?

AG: No matter what your background or style you can always LIVE LIFE in Lfe Line.




Laughter and Joy: Spiritual healing shop Spiritually Lit creates a community

Alexandria Lynch and Jessica Rainey toast the season

Alexandria Lynch and Jessica Rainey started their company, Spiritually Lit, shortly after the pandemic put Rhode Island on lockdown. They knew that creating things made them happy, and they sought a way to use their creativity to make others happy. On a chilly fall day, I spent some time on the front stoop with these two women, discussing their business, their philosophy and how motherhood fits into it all.

Emily Olson (Motif): What is Spiritually Lit?

Jessica Rainey: Spiritually Lit is all about spiritual healing. We sell crystals and make hand-poured soy wax candles, sage bundles and self care boxes that might include a bath bomb or bath salt. Everything we make or sell, we infuse with prayer, like a love prayer or a protection prayer. People are asking for a lot of protection prayers these days.

EO: Tell me a little more about infusing your products with prayer.

JR: Take, for example, a protection box. I burned the Eye of Horace into the lid of a wood box. We put a piece of tourmaline in there, which is a stone for protection, and Alex made two protection candles. As Alex makes her candles, she says a little prayer or chant and then everything I do, I do the same. For a protection box, I pray to the guardians of protections against any evil, illness or negativity. 

EO: It sounds like Wiccan and Pagan traditions play a large role in what you do.

JR: People think of Wiccan and Pagan traditions as a dark thing, but it’s self healing. It’s a mixture of the law of attraction, knowing what you want and manifesting what you want in a good way.

Alexandria Lynch: I embrace mindfulness in the Wiccan tradition. When I sweep, I sweep away negativity with the broom. When I stir my tea, I stir in calmness. I like to start my day with meditation and set my day with an intention. That’s magic in itself.

EO: Alex, you have a busy 4-year-old daughter. How do you find the mental space for meditation and peace?

AL: I make my candles when Charlotte [her daughter] goes to bed because that’s when I’m calm. Then when I go to bed, I turn my TV off and sit in my bed with a stone. I breathe in to the count of four and out to four. If I have lingering thoughts on my mind, I let the negative thoughts go and the calm thoughts flow. That’s the hardest thing to do.

EO: Spiritually Lit does live events on Friday nights. Can you tell me about those?

JR: Friday Night Live! Those are fun. When we started the business, we used that as a way to reach people and to let people shop during the pandemic from the comfort of their own home. And we’ve made lots of friends and connections that way.

EO: I watched one and saw the two of you in full costume!

AL: We love dressing up and love Halloween. So for the month of October, we’ve been getting in full costume every Friday night. We do a little live skit at the beginning of our show that sometimes is a fail, but it’s all in fun. We have big secret plans for the 30th. We have a great costume picked out.

EO: What happens during a Friday Night Live show?

JR: People chat with us and have fun. Sometimes we do some education about the crystals we’re selling or I choose a topic to talk about. For example, I just explained what Mercury retrograde means. We do giveaway contests. And if someone wants to purchase one of our items, the first commenter gets it, then we have contactless pickup at my house in Warwick.

EO: What makes a good quality crystal?

AL: The juicier the better. But specific qualities depend on the stone. Clear quartz should have rainbow flashes. With an amethyst, the deeper the purple, the stronger the energies that it carries.

EO: Do the people who buy your products practice Wiccan or Pagan traditions? Or do they hope to gain the benefits of your prayers and expertise?

JR: The people who buy from us just enjoy Jessica and Alex. You don’t have to be Wiccan or Pagan to smudge your house or meditate. It’s just a spiritual journey that everyone goes on.

AL: Everything we do is about laughter and joy.

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