Dear eyechow readers,

At last, news of what’s happening with this website is here: EYECHOW HAS MOVED! It is being integrated into my NEW website, ValerieBrett.com. Please check it out when you have the chance!

The new site has blog posts in 5 sections:

  1. Yoga
  2. Food (eyechow!)
  3. Books
  4. Travel
  5. Essential Oils

I am so excited to share this new project! Check out my new About page to learn more about the new site. I have already posted some brand-new entries, such as Essential Oil Diffuser Blend for Autumn and Yoga Playlist: October 2015.

Thank you so much for all your support, comments, and feedback for the past four years. I  appreciate you all and hope you continue this blogging journey with me at ValerieBrett.com!




eyechow Update

Hi everyone,

I have been so horrible at posting these past few months. In part, it is because I’ve been so busy, but it’s also because I have been working on something new… or rather, an upgraded, new and improved, expanded-upon version of eyechow. I’m so excited to share it with you soon! In the meantime, thank you for your patience & if you’re trying to get your blog on, check out my recommended reads in the Blogroll section.

More information & full launch to come soon!



Homemade Dinner, Oslo

homemade dinner in Oslo

There is a good reason that I haven’t finished writing about my trip to Norway and Sweden with Zan (which was already a good two years ago).

I usually leave out details of the story surrounding a meal or dish, not because they aren’t interesting, but because they’re frankly too long and difficult to recount. But there was something magical about my arrival in Oslo, Norway, from New York City two years ago, that I feel I need to somehow convey when I show you the first meal I had there.


This is an exact line from my journal from that day, August 30, 2013: “Fell asleep on the train from the airport but made it to Wenche’s!” Wenche is a family friend of Zan’s; she’s our mothers’ age and has a daughter our age. I’d never met them, never even been in contact with them, and Zan had sent me her address with directions. I must have been in a post-plane stupor if I fell asleep on the train, and I honestly have no idea how I made it all the way to Wenche’s house on my own from the airport. Zan wasn’t scheduled to arrive for a few more hours, so I knocked on the door that I assumed was the right one from the given directions, hoping the strangers that opened the door were the right ones. Luckily, they were.


They were welcoming and their house was lovely, perched high on a hill, warm and welcoming on a chilly, wet afternoon.



Wenche’s daughter, Marlena, kindly offered to show me around the property. It was surreal, being alone in a new place with strangers who were as kind as old friends, and a fluffy, friendly creature named Luna.

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eyechow Interview Series Part II – Zan Schmidt

Zan Schmidt travel interview

Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, 2013

Welcome to Part II of my eyechow Interview Series! This part will focus all on TRAVEL, our second-favorite topic here on the blog, after food ;)


Where were you born? St Thomas, US Virgin Islands. In my own bedroom!

Zan Schmidt travel interview

View from Zan’s house in St. Thomas, USVI

Where do you live now? Sydney, Australia.

Where are you right at this moment? 2 hours into a 16 hour flight back to NY to see my family and friends, we just passed over Taiwan.

Do you speak any languages other than English? My Spanish is rusty but probably still passable, I studied Hindi for a year when I studied abroad in northern India and spoke basic Mandarin when I lived in Beijing for a year.

How many United States have you been to? Val I’m not counting like you are – can you refer to our joint list we made after the road trip?! (note from Val: by my count, it’s 18)

How many countries have you been to? America, Canada, mexico, Ecuador, Cuba, Dominican Republic, many Caribbean islands, England, Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, france, germany, spain, Netherlands, Italy, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia, Greece, Turkey, China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, India, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, New Zealand. That’s 37.

How many continents have you been to? 4


Zan’s friend Sarah on their roadtrip through Provence, France, with a fresh market picnic watching sunset at castle ruins above a little town

What was your best vacation so far? Traveling in Europe for 2 months visiting friends and exploring with other friends between living in China for 1 year and moving to Australia. It was amazing to explore so many countries and just enjoy myself before starting my next big life move. Val and I traveled in Norway and Sweden, later to Munich for Oktoberfest, and hung in NYC as well – 3 different trips together in 2 months it was a new record for us! Road tripping in Provence, France with a childhood friend was another stand out from that time in Europe.

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Review: GH Cretors Organic Popcorn

Organic Popcorn

Unfortunately, I didn’t take too many photos of GH Cretor’s Organic Popcorn (mainly because I was too busy shoveling it into my mouth). This, from the website, sums up this brand’s philosophy: “Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives just get in the way of the wonderful flavors of freshly popped popcorn.” AMEN! Honestly, I couldn’t quite tell the difference between the two flavors (simply salted and extra virgin olive oil) but both were fantastic. Kiyo and I are popcorn lovers and snobs, and we both thought this product tasted exactly like the organic popcorn we usually pop fresh at home. It’s simple but perfect; not dried out or stale at all, and satisfying salty without being overdone. Buying a big bag is so much faster and easier than popping it yourself (it’s not warm like fresh popcorn, which is the only drawback). I would highly recommend this for an anytime snack or treat. Just be careful because you will want to eat the whole bag! Oh and did I mention these products are organic, kosher, non-GMO and gluten-free? It doesn’t get any better!