Archive for March, 2012

March 28, 2012

Kitchen Grooves – The Cocktail Edition

by Crystal Cook

I have been completely obsessed with the Tiki culture these days – everything from vintage tiki sarong fashions, to the refreshing tiki cocktail revival! So I doubt that I will shock anyone when I say that I am totally in L-O-V-E with the chill sounds of Exotica! Just the name alone invokes fantasy and the mystical allure of the islands. (Uh, hello…guess who needs a vacation?) But since I am unable to escape to my own private isle, I retreat to my patio and create my own little getaway. All it takes is the company of good friends, a platter of Satay, and a Mai Tai in hand to escape the daily grind. Now, throw on this playlist, close your eyes, and relax.

Don Tiki – Close Your Eyes

Les Baxter – Jungle Flower

Stan Getz – The Girl from Ipanema

Steel Guitar Magic – Maui Chimes

Miles Corbin – Quintana Roo

Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass  – A Taste of Honey

Martin Denny – Quiet Village

Stan Getz- Samba De Uma Nota So

Arthur Lyman – Love for Sale

Yma Sumac – Wimoweh (Mbube)

March 23, 2012

Inside the Queen’s Studio with Tara Miko Grayless

by Crystal Cook

The Queens periodically interview someone we find interesting and inspiring. In this installment, we are excited to introduce you to Tara Miko Grayless. Sandy and I love meeting fellow entrepreneurs and hearing the personal stories on what motivates them to pursue certain career paths.  It was while we were out promoting our book that we met Tara Miko Grayless, owner of Happy Hemp!  Initially it may have been the name of the product that grabbed our attention, but we were equally intrigued by Tara’s story. After 10 years in the fashion industry, the stressful demands of the job were taking a toll on both Tara’s physical and mental well-being.   She was suffering from insomnia, indigestion and was generally feeling blue. After embarking on mission to put her health first, she was introduced to the benefits of hemp seeds. The passion she demonstrated over her product was infectious, and after months of being out on tour, it didn’t take much to convince us to give Happy Hemp a try!  Life on the go was simply not allowing us to make healthy eating decisions, so this was a perfect solution to balance out the airport junk and last minute grab-and go meals that consumed our diet! Just two tablespoons a day is all it took, and it truly did help with our general sense of well-being. Tara provides tons of inspiration and tasty ways to incorporate hemp seeds into your diet through her website and blog and we encourage you to check it out at: and

 The queens are proud supporters of Happy Hemp and we hope that you get inspired by her story as well.  Enjoy!

The Queens and Tara

Tell us a little about yourself and why you started your business.

After 10 years in the fashion industry, I came to a place where I did not like where my life was headed. Instead of continuing down that same path, I chose to create a passion project. Happy Hemp was born from me starting over and living a life that I choose to live, was proud of, and ultimately creates happiness for myself and others.

Happy Hemp is enlightening thousands of people to hemp seed, an ancient superfood with life-altering benefits. Often touted as “the most nutritionally complete food source in the world,” hemp seeds are vegan and gluten-free, and boast nature’s highest botanical source of essential fatty acid (more than flax or any other nut or seed oil), a perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6  essential fatty acids.

Happy Hemp should be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet either as a satisfying snack on its own, a topping for yogurt or cereal, or incorporated into a healthy recipe.

Behold the power of Hemp Seeds!

What is your “recipe” for success?

I am not afraid to hear the word ‘NO.’ One of my greatest strengths is my persistence, and being a successful business owner means to love your company and believe in your company when NO one else does.

If your personality could be described as any casserole, what would it be?

I would say I am a quiche. You take common ingredients like eggs, ham and cheese and come up with a unique combination.

 If someone wrote a book about you, what would the title be?

Failing to Give Up.

What dish from your childhood brings you the most comfort and why?

Grilled cheese and tomato soup. No matter where I am in the world, this simple dish brings me comfort when I am far away.

Family is in town unexpectedly and coming over for dinner. Quick – what is your go to meal?

When I have an unexpected guest, my go to meal is lasagna, a large salad and garlic bread. And don’t forget beautiful full glasses of red wine. For dessert? Two scoops of laughter.

Tell us about a cooking disaster that you’ve had.

OMG… which one? I am the queen of getting distracted in the kitchen, a professional food burner.

What unique characteristic do you bring to the hemp seed?

Most people are surprised by the way I look. There is a preconceived image of what a hemp seed salesgirl is supposed to look like. Some customers who would have walked past are intrigued to stop, chat and learn about how great Happy Hemp is as a food source.

Tara Miko Grayless

What has been the most interesting dish you have ever tasted with hemp?

Ice cream! Yum. It’s nice to be eating such a rich and tasty dish, knowing that it’s still good for you in some ways.

Let us in on your favorite hemp pairings and how often do you work hemp into an “everyday” dish?
My blog keeps me testing and tasting new dishes weekly. I am personally a fan of simple and easy dishes. I love a fresh fruit smoothie to start my day.

Happy Hemp Takeout Noodles - Yum!

Happy Hemp Sesame Sauce with Kale

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