What Dads Really Want For Father's Day

We asked fathers in our office and around the city what they really want this Father's Day.

"Some more sleep." - Mike, Soma's Director of Product

Bamboo Charging Station

Bamboo Charging Station

Mike, a recent father of two little girls wants "some more sleep". To help with that we suggest a charging station ($39) to keep all technology and work out of the bedroom so it remains a sanctuary. Also a tea habit with the right kind of tea, like lavender and chamomile, may even lead to more and better sleep. 

"Something simple and practical." - Andrew, 39

Harry's Fathers Day Shave Set

Harry's Fathers Day Shave Set

Everyday gifts are sometimes the best gifts. Get him a personalized shave set, ($40) that will go to great use. A Soma Pitcher ($39) is another perfect practical gift with a simple design. Who doesn't want a healthier Dad? Both of these come with an online subscription that makes it easy for dad, and is a great gift that keeps giving. 

"I actually really enjoy getting socks." - Chris, 47

Paul Smith Socks

Paul Smith Socks

Well we don't blame you. With options like Paul Smith's signature striped socks ($30) and Happy Socks ($12) you can't really go wrong with that classic gift. 

"A card is always enough. But a trip to the Caribbean would be nice, too." - Richard, 54

Hartland Brookland Card

Hartland Brookland Card

Okay Dad, we can start with the card at least. We love Hartland Brookland's simple designs ($5). 

 

Refresh and relax this Memorial Day

Whether you’re hosting an al fresco dinner party, or just taking the time to relax this holiday weekend, we have some recipes that can make this Memorial Day a refreshing one.

Cucumber and Lavender Infused Water

Image and recipe from Soma

Image and recipe from Soma

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch Dried lavender
  • Fresh lavender sprigs to garnish
  • 1 Cucumber or 1 1/2-2  oz Cucumber Vodka
  • Pot of water
  • Your Soma pitcher or Carafe
  • Strainer

Instructions:

  1. Fill Soma vessel with cucumbers.
  2. Fill reservoir with tap water and store your fridge.
  3. Let soma infuse your cucumber water overnight or for a few hours.
  4. Bring a pot of water to boil.
  5. While water boils, strip dried lavender buds from sprigs and gather in a mixing bowl. Leave a few to garnish.
  6. When water boils, pour over dried lavender and cover with a towel. 
  7. Let buds continue steeping until the water cools.
  8. Strain buds form the water & discard remains (they will not have a lavender scent now that their essence is gone).
  9. When water cools, add to your soma to mix cucumber and lavender.
  10. Pour over ice and dress with both fresh and dried sprigs and a cucumber slice or two.

Rose Water and Lemon Spritzer

Recipe and image from Half Baked Harvest

Recipe and image from Half Baked Harvest

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Soma x Juice Served Here
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2-2 ounces vodka (omit to make a mocktail!)
  • 1-2 tablespoon honey, or to taste (use agave if vegan)
  • A few drops of blood orange or pomegranate juice, for color (optional)
  • 3/4 cup sparkling water, or more to taste
  • Fresh roses, for garnish (optional)
  • Order Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine the Rose Water, fresh lemon juice, vodka (optional), honey and blood orange or pomegranate juice (optional) in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice.
  2. Shake until combined and then strain into a glass. 
  3. Pour in the sparkling water.
  4. Garnish with fresh roses or organic edible flowers.

It’s not just the water that can be refreshing. Get creative with the ice cubes by adding flavor and color to take your drink to the next level. We love Peak ice cube trays from W&P Design. They are so easy to use and make customizing your cubes a quick trick to add some creativity to your glass.

Fresh Flavor Cubes

Image and recipe from Soma

Image and recipe from Soma

Instructions

  1. Infuse your ice-cubes with fresh ingredients such as sage, mint, lavender, etc.
  2. Freeze overnight and add to your filtered water or fresh lemonade for a hint of flavor.

Americana cubes

Image and recipe from Soma

Image and recipe from Soma

Ingredients:

  • Coconut puree
  • Strawberry puree or sliced strawberries
  • Blueberry puree or full blueberries.

Berry Puree will add more color and flavor to your drink as the ice cubes melt. For a more subtle look and taste, you can opt for pieces of fresh fruit.

Instructions

  1. If you are using puree, layer each ingredient in your tray. If you are using fruit instead of fruit puree, place the fruit in the tray, and fill it up with Soma water.
  2. Chill in the freezer overnight and pop out of the tray when you are ready to cool down your drink.

Cheers!

An Interview with Simon Cheng of Pique Tea

What makes Pique Tea different from other tea brands?

Pique Tea has found a way to turn organic whole leaf tea into instantly dissolving Tea Crystals that deliver the fresh flavor and natural antioxidants of exceptional tea without the hassle of brewing, waiting, steeping or cleanup.   We believe tea should be consumed as much as possible, in lieu of all other beverages and as a great compliment to water. Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water but not in the US where soda is the second most drank beverage. We are on a mission to change that. And we believe the only way to do so is by making tea healthier, easier and more enjoyable. That's why our Tea Crystals deliver an exceptional cup of tea, in an instant, anytime and anywhere.

Why did you start Pique Tea?

I grew up drinking whole leaf tea brewed. Having had a series of health problems when young, I became very passionate about traditional health practices. During a trip to tea land in Western China, I discovered a 1,300 year old tradition called Cha Gao, lost to all but Himalayan villages and classical medical records. Cha Gao was used to extract the powerful health properties of tea into a dissolvable tea paste. I was so inspired by its incredible health benefits, that I spent years in collaboration with leading tea farmers and tea masters to integrate this ancient tradition with modern science to create best healthy tea.

Why is water important to you?

Water is the substrate for all the antioxidants, nutrients and flavor in tea. The purer the water, the better the tea tastes and the less likely beneficial antioxidants in tea become adulterated.

Why did you decide to partner with Soma for this promotion?

Soma is a brand that we resonate with on many levels. It's better for you. The water it makes is pure. The coconut coal in its filter reflects an appreciation for nature and sustainability. It's design is beautiful and reflects an ethos that cares about user experience physically and aesthetically.

4 Reasons We Meditate at Work

At Soma, we gather every Monday to meditate as a team. Here’s how it helps our company -- and how it could help you too.

So much attention is placed on physical health and wellness today, from the workout of the moment to the latest superfood. But we spend far less time worrying about our minds. The brain, after all, is our command center, and when it’s not operating at top capacity, the rest of the body can suffer.

Meditation might conjure up images of monks in a faraway retreat (or Don Draper in the final scene of Mad Men), but it’s a simple practice that anyone can do virtually anywhere. And the result can be added clarity, sharper focus, and less stress.

At Soma, we practice what we preach. Every Monday morning, we gather as a team in one of our conference rooms, for a brief, group meditation session. And over time, we’ve found it to be a very positive kickoff to the week for all of us, both personally and professionally.

Dana Trans, Soma’s senior manager of special projects and impact, answers a few questions about why we do what we do.

How does meditation at Soma work?

Our Monday mornings include a team huddle. It’s a time for everyone to get together, identify areas to collaborate, find times to connect. From there, we go to our meditation. We enter our conference room and we’re guided through the meditation by a lady named Linda from Journey Meditation . We recently started using them. Before that, we used a Tibetan meditation bell. They really help explain meditation, how and why it’s important, what to focus on, how it can help you not only in your work life, but your personal life.

She gives us warm, damp towels to wipe our hands off. She asks if there are any new members participating, then dives into a lesson. One lesson that we learned about recently was talking about being present and where you are in that present moment. Being in tune with your sense and knowing your surroundings gives you that freedom and control of your life. You lose that sense of anxiety that may come from your day-to-day life. The example she shared was when her daughter was sick and she was rushing around, and rather than worrying about getting her daughter to X, she focused on her breath. That allowed her to get her anxiety down, her stress down.

We sit in chairs in our conference room. Some people pull in pillows to sit cross-legged on the floor. We close our eyes. We’re there for about 10 or 15 minutes. She cues us into the meditation, helps us focus on our breaths, and we sit in silence.

Oftentimes, there’s a misconception is that you’re supposed to clear your mind during meditation. But you’re actually supposed to focus on one thing -- and that’s usually your breath, because it’s always with you.

 

What does it mean to “focus” on your breath?

The inhalations and the exhalations, feeling your body inhale, focus on the exhale. You’re focusing on the rhythm, just being conscious of that breath. If you close your eyes, if you inhale, focus on your ribs expanding, your chest expanding, the air flowing into your lungs. As you exhale, you feel the breath leaving you and going through your nose. Whether they’re long breaths or short breaths, just that in-and-out flow.

How did this regular meditation start?

Our founder, Mike, and I and a couple other people are all avid yogis. I actually didn’t do regular meditation before, but I’ve found it’s a good way to start your workweek. It was a small group to start, maybe about five of us, so we started doing it every Monday.

Is it mandatory?

It’s not mandatory, but everyone participates in it. When new people come on the team, there’s a learning curve, and it’s great to have Linda with us because she helps explain it really well.

Was meditation new for most members of the team?

Yeah, actually most people are not exposed to it. It’s new to most people who join the team.

Any skeptics?

We have had a couple people who have a harder time doing it. One time, we had someone who put headphones in and used her own meditation app, because she wasn’t able to sit in silence. But we’ve never had nobody try.

So what are some of the benefits you’ve found?

A few things:

1. Firstly, it’s concentration. Mediation teaches you to concentrate the mind, just for 10 minutes, on your breath. We try to jump into education right after meditation. To allow people to come out of meditation, sit at their computers, and just start cranking. It definitely helps mental strength and focus.

2. Creativity is another one. The session just leaves you to be a little more open-minded and less anxious, so you can simply execute, first thing Monday morning.

3. It also creates a sense of community. Monday morning, everyone just had their weekend, it’s a time for all of us to come together and catch up real fast before we put our heads down for the week. And also the positivity. The woman comes in with the life teachings and gives you a nugget to help your daily life. The team-building that spurs from that.

4. I think it just creates the sense of efficiency across all areas of the company.

 

Why not meditate every day?

Really early on, we actually did it every morning. And it became more of a chore, rather than a sense of community and positivity. People have different schedules. It just depends on your workflow. First thing on Monday morning sets the tone for the week. I personally do feel the effects of the mediation. My anxiety levels have definitely gone down. Startups are moving so fast and can be stressful, so this helps tone down the stress.

What would be your advice to other people who are curious about meditation?

I would say two to five minutes is a good place to start. And that can be a simple sitting in your car, driving to work, turning off the music, and just focusing on your breath. Or sitting at your kitchen table, eating breakfast. Starting with your breath is a really great place to start. As you become more used to it, you can go from there.

And what about other businesses out there? Why should they consider meditating with their staffs?

It creates calmness, and when you are calm, you can think and collaborate more openly and transparently. Taking the emotion out, you’re just opening up so much more space for collaboration across all functions. Teaching and educating your employees to be more mindful, how you react to certain situations, and once people start to learn that line, it helps across all communications. And to make a business run efficiently, you have to have great communication and collaboration, especially at a startup.

Should more companies make health and wellness a priority?

I think people are definitely becoming more aware of it. It’s a slow transition, and it’s definitely becoming more important for employees. It’s something they’re definitely looking for. It’s trending upward, but not as quickly, especially at larger corporations. I think it’s so critical, too, for an employee to be clear-minded, have the opportunity to eat healthy, exercise regularly -- and creating a space for them to do that is important. Mike has done a great job doing that as he’s grown the company.

Artist Series: Aerosyn-Lex Mestrovic

We recently sat down with Aeronsyn-Lex Mestrovic to learn more about his #LivingPaintings art pieces, and how he hydrates his everyday.

Tell us about yourself (name, what you do, what work you specialize in, what you're currently working on, what you're passionate about, etc.)

My name is Aerosyn-Lex Mestrovic. I'm an Artist living and working in both New York and Tokyo. I work across a variety of genres, but my focus is in Fine Art and Fashion. I've recently exhibited at The MoMA, done installations for SCOPE and Miami Art Basel and I'm currently working on designing a collection for a Japanese Womenswear brand which I'll be launching at Tokyo Fashion week later in the year. I've also just returned from The White House where I was invited by Obama's administration as an Art Emissary and now I'm looking to develop some educational programs highlighting the creative relationships that exist between The US and Japan.

Tell us about this piece (what inspired it? how did you create it? why did you pick the color that you did?)

The work is of a very gestural and fluid nature. This piece is a part of my #LivingPaintings series which debuted at The MoMA last year for Armory Arts Week.
These pieces are very natural and spontaneous in nature. They are about controlling the uncontrollable. They in essence become an interpretation of a letter, of a word or perhaps emotion at times. They are at once performative and also representational ( in an abstract sense.) I chose this piece for the SOMA series as I felt it communicated an idealized sense of fluid and water.

What does water mean to you?

Water is Life.


How do you use water?

Interestingly, I use water very much in my paintings. It is an equal part to my chosen medium, Ink. Water is used to bring the ink to life and there's a beautiful symbiosis that exists there. It is this convergence of this dense, charred organic matter that is SUMI Ink with water that allows the painting to occur. One cannot exist without the other.


How many glasses of water do you drink a day?

I drink lots of things ( to be honest ;) but I easily down 7-8 glasses a day if not more :) 

 

See more of Lex's work: