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Smoke Sister / Osa Atoe

Smoke sits down with Osa Atoe to talk about her journey from punk to pottery, her favorite DIY Smoke recipe, and meditation.

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Smoke Sister / The Mexican Witch

I first head of Valeria's work through my breathwork teacher training. I was speaking to a fellow student about New Orleans-based healers, and she mentioned The Mexican Witch. Since first hearing about Valeria, it has become clear to me that she a big impact and important voice in New Orleans and beyond.

I admire her wisdom, her passion for sharing and incorporating her culture into her work, and her style. I've learned so much from her immense knowledge of limpias, deities, and everything in between. She embodies the essence of a Smoke Sister, and I feel luck to have her in the New Orleans community of healers and inspiring, powerful women.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your work, and where we can find you?
My name is Valeria, more popularly known by my Instagram name The Mexican Witch. I am a professional bruja, spiritual guide, and creative genius! I was born in the land of the Raramuri people in Delicias, Chihuahua in Mexico.

Bruja is the Spanish word for witch. I grew up around the mystic my entire life, and as an adult I developed my passion for magick and tarot. Reading tarot is my most special gift! I use my psychic skills to help people on their healing journeys and help them connect to the spiritual world. I started my journey reading tarot a few years ago and moved to New Orleans from Boston after college to fulfill my dreams of being a full time reader. Since then, I have been featured in Cosmopolitan, The Hoodwitch and Spotify.

Besides my magick, I am also really passionate about social justice and destroying racism! On my Instagram, I like to create motivational and empowering content so that people can embrace their inner witch. I am a firm believer that adding witchcraft and magick to your spirituality can really be beneficial. I call myself a creative genius because when I am not reading tarot, I am a painter, model and much more. I love all things spiritual and occult.

I read tarot via phone call, video call and in person. You can find me and book with me at themexicanwitch.com

 

Where were you in life ten years ago, and did you ever see yourself where you are now?
I was only 15! I was a confused and angsty teen. I do remember being very independent and tenacious. I had begun motivational speaking and was already very politically active.

I absolutely didn't see this path coming. I found tarot at a very critical point in my life when I was depressed, and it saved me from sinking too deep.

Where do you derive strength? What gives you the fortitude to keep going when the going gets tough?
I find strength in MYSELF, but also with my spiritual guides and ancestors. I feel that I am very protected by those who are around me, and that gives me strength. I know that my family's prayers protect me, and I always feel accompanied by spirit and God/Goddess.

I also always point to the fact that my identity as a witch gives me strength because I have built a tough, resilient energy through my magick practice. A lot of people fear witches, and I think in some ways this serves to protect my energy, especially when it comes to men. 

What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced, and how did you overcome that challenge?
I have always struggled with caring too much about what others think of me. I still consider this one of my biggest challenges. I need to remind myself consistently that I am not here to please others. My meditation practice has helped me with this, especially when I have a lot of anxiety.

What is an early or favorite scent memory you have? What comes to mind when you imagine your favorite scent?
I am actually very scent driven and I tend to get "smell visions" when spirits are around. My favorite scent is probably any type of Mexican food because I grew up around my great grandmother who was a bruja and chef and my mother who takes after her! My favorite scents are typically woodsy and striking. Some of my favorite scents are cannabis and palo santo.

Self-care: What is one non-negotiable self-care ritual that you try to regularly attend to?
Reading my own cards! I love to hear from spirit the messages I need to enlighten and uplift me. I also LOVE having big meals. To me, self care is very indulgent. I am known to eat a dozen tacos on a good self care day. Besides that, I enjoy cannabis, meditation, and sound therapy.

Nature: We take great inspiration from travel & nature. What is the most inspiring natural place you've ever been to and why?
I LOVE traveling in New Mexico. Their hiking trails are striking. I found a "miracle" spring on one of the trails, and I remember feeling it's healing powers immediately. The entire state of New Mexico holds my favorite nature spots.

What is your favorite Smoke product?
I love the Full Moon Rose Body Oil because it is so luscious and sensual!

What is your greatest hope for the future?
In the future, I want to be the best me possible! I want to be widely known for what I do, and I definitely hope to live abroad in Barcelona Spain. One of my wildest dreams is to get paid to make art, so hopefully that happens too! 

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Smoke Sister / Katie Logan LeBlanc

Katie (left) with her business partner Jensen Killen.

 

Katie Logan LeBlanc is the co-founder of Logan Killen Interiors and its downstairs storefront Sunday Shop. Sunday Shop is a dreamy home goods store run by women.

I admire the creative empire Katie has built. Her taste is ahead of its time and extends beyond the New Orleans market while remaining dedicated to its roots here. She has built a powerful team of creative women and an equally strong community of women she lifts up through her work.

We are honored to be partnering with Sunday Shop as they host Smoke for a residency throughout the month February. If you've never been, Sunday Shop is luxe and dreamy, but unpretentious and welcoming – a space that speaks to the success of her deeply feminine business. Stay tuned for a very special valentine's evening of self-care!

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your work, and where we can find you?

I am an interior designer and shop owner along with my business partner Jensen Killen. We are lucky enough to have our interiors studio, Logan Killen Interiors upstairs from our most favorite of places, Sunday Shop. I work with ten amazing women everyday to create mostly residential interiors in the New Orleans area as well as run our little shop. I call LKI my day job because for the most part I am upstairs running the studio, but I try to spend as much time as I can finding new brands for the shop or taking a breather and doing some styling on the floor. I think for both Jensen and me, we would choose to be in the shop every day chatting with customers and rearranging things. Both of us could happily move a vase back and forth on a table for 30 minutes to get it juuuust in the right spot.

My home life is precious to me. It is full of dogs, food, sitting on the back deck with my husband, who I currently see too infrequently, and trying to keep up with our little yard which we both enjoy getting our hands into. I can also often be found cruising mags and Pinterest dreaming about decorating my current little cottage and all of my other imaginary houses in the Louisiana swamp, English countryside, Southern France, and the Italian coast.  Other than that, lately I can be found in the bathtub.

Where were you in life ten years ago, and did you ever see yourself where you are now?

Wow. I was nearing the end of my long time job at a small architecture firm in New Orleans where I worked from the time I graduated from LSU into my mid-late twenties. I was also about to meet my future husband and start See Scout Sleep, a pet product business that I started and owned for 5 years. It was a time period of learning so. many. lessons. I think for most people, your late twenties is really when you start to figure out who you are, and that you do not have to be everyone’s cup of tea. If you are in the design world or are someone who thinks about the aesthetics of things often, I think it is also when you really start to see some clarity in your taste and work. At least for me it was.

I think I actually did always see myself where I am now, but not in a clear way. Like I saw myself working in the environment I do and being creative like I get to be everyday, but the path was very winding. I think the biggest challenge and blessing for me professionally is my entrepreneurial spirit. It has aided and hindered me many times.

Where do you derive strength? What gives you the fortitude to keep going when the going gets tough?

I have always been a rather strong person I think and that probably comes from the confidence, kindness, and importance of education my parents helped instill in me. They also taught me to take care of myself and that if I wanted something, to just go get it. I am inherently lazy, so thank goodness I had them to curb this tendency a little! I have also suffered quite a bit of loss in my life, and I think when we go through that you can either crumble or actually come out of it a happier person in your day-to-day life because you realize how fragile and special every day is. All of these people that we meet everyday and interactions we have are passing moments that will never exist again. That is pretty powerful to me and something I think about often, especially when I am excited about something but having anxiety about facing it.

What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced, and how did you overcome that challenge?

 Tough question, but I think anxiety. I have actually derived a different type of strength from dealing with my occasionally crippling anxiety. Learning how to conquer your own mind is pretty powerful stuff. Everyone should reflect and meditate. This combined with the usual suspects of self-care rituals, exercise, and diet are my main sources of strength on combatting my own mental health issues. Mental health should not have such a negative stigma attached to it. If someone is struggling with their mental health it does not mean that are crazy. I think of my anxiety the same way I do a cold. It is a something that I need to care for and it will not always be there.

 What is an early or favorite scent memory you have? What comes to mind when you imagine your favorite scent?

 Dirt, pine trees, swimming pool, and manure! Ha. I grew up spending my summers on my family farm in north Louisiana and nothing brings me back to the deepest feeling of home than the smell of skin and sun right after getting out of the pool and the smell of a tomato picked right off of the vine. My favorite scent though (I have to answer this quickly before I spend 3 hours thinking about it!) is an old world musky citrus rose. 

Self-care: What is one non-negotiable self-care ritual that you try to regularly attend to?

 Nightly face wash.

Nature: We take great inspiration from travel & nature. What is the most inspiring natural place you've ever been to and why?

 I do not think I have ever been as floored by Mother Earth as I was exploring the red wood forest of Northern California. Yellowstone is also a place that holds a special place for me. My husband and I fell in love exploring that part of the world, and spending time in nature is still one of the deepest connections we have. I think the most emotionally healing place for me though is the beach. I have had some solitary breakdowns on a morning beach before. I don’t know... is it the eternal passing of time rolling constantly in front of you? It really just helps me wash it all away. 

What is your favorite Smoke product?

 I change my scent mood too often to pick a fragrance, but I am obsessed with and a forever future user of the Rose Body Oil. It is one of the best rose scents I have ever smelled captured before. It immediately lifts my mood, and I am convinced has helped improve my sleeping habits. I rub it into my feet and hands when I crawl into bed, and I swear ten minutes later I am out. I can feel my brow relax and a soft smile creep onto my face the moment the scent hits me.

What is your greatest hope for the future?

Professionally, it is to keep Sunday Shop open, growing, and thriving.

Personally, it is to continue to conquer my anxieties. I am focusing on my ability to speak in front of people and let new people into my life in a meaningful way. I have been working on getting out of my head by reminding myself that being can be a form of self-involvement. I say the word love over and over in my head, the idea being that when I come form a place of love and make the assumption that others are as well, it's easier to connect.  I find it amazing what good eye contact and one meaningful question to let people know you are focused on them and care about their presence can do for easing any “new person” conversation. Lastly, I am very hopeful and excited about the possibility of a new president who we can respect as our leader.

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