The Ziz Files Vol. 5


July 2020

The Ziz Files is a monthly series featuring snippets of delight and education from the visual landscape of everyday life, the kitchen, lectures from the greats, a plant of the month, and some of the globes finest tunes. 

Sharing a slice of what inspires me, from my kitchen to late-night YouTube'n.




sojourner truth parsons foxy productions new york city painting

Sojourner Truth Parsons, Things that never happened, 2020, acrylic on linen, 61 x 44 x 1 1/4 in. (154.94 x 111.76 x 3.17 cm)

View her recent exhibition, Sex and Love with a Psychologist, online or in-person by appt. at Foxy Production.

On view now-August 16, 2020


"A cross-generational conversation about the experience of trans women of color during and since the Stonewall Riots.

– Miss Major, transgender elder and activist
Tourmaline, filmmaker, installation artist, and editor of Trap Door

The 1969 Stonewall Riots marked a turning point in the LGBTQ movement for civil rights, but the narrative of that event—and the half-century of activism that has followed—has often overlooked the experiences of marginalized groups within the LGBTQ community. On the fiftieth anniversary of the uprising, legendary activists Miss Major and Tourmaline draw on their collective decades of experience as trans women of color. They’ll also look back on their personal stories, artistic and cultural work, and the political insight they have gained throughout years of organizing for visibility, equity, and change.

This talk was hosted and recorded on June 19, 2019 by The New York Public Library as part of their Stonewall50 and Thinking Out Loud series."

~text from Tourmaline Productions


...And the Pursuit of Happiness

Directed by Louis Malle, 1986 

"In 1986, Louis Malle, himself a transplant to the United States, set out to investigate the ever-widening range of immigrant experience in America. Interviewing a variety of newcomers (from teachers to astronauts to doctors) in middle- and working-class communities from coast to coast, Malle paints a generous, humane portrait of their individual struggles in an increasingly polyglot nation." --The Criterion Collection


 joan didion slouching toward bethlehem

Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Essays on her experiences in California in the '60s.


Murmur of the Heart

Directed by Louis Malle, 1971

"Louis Malle's critically acclaimed Murmur of the Heart gracefully combines elements of comedy, drama, and autobiography in a candid portrait of a precocious adolescent boy's sexual maturation. Both shocking and deeply poignant, this is one of the finest coming-of-age films ever made." -- The Criterion Collection. 


zizia botanicals chicken broth

Everything but the kitchen sink chicken broth 

1 leftover roasted chicken carcass

1 onion cut into quarters

1 head of garlic (smashed and peeled)

3-4 carrots (cut in half, reserved at the end for other meals throughout the week)

3-5 red potatoes (reserved at the end to save on the side and eat whole like an apple dipped in hummus or baba ghanoush)

1/2 a bunch of celery rough chopped

1 Tbsp. of Zizia's Reishi Astragalus Powder or dried reishi slices

Add any other veggie scraps in the fridge that are on the edge of being tossed, sometimes I'll add cabbage, celery ends, or broccoli...

Salt and pepper to taste

Toss all the ingredients into a big pot and top with 1 gallon of water (or less depending on how much you want). Bring to a boil, let it simmer about a half-hour, turn off the heat and let it sit covered for 1-2 hours or until you're ready to deal with it. Strain, save any veggies you want to the side, jar it up, and stick it in the fridge.

For a delicious lunch:

Add 1-2 cups of the broth to a small pot and cook a half bundle of soba noodles in it, the leftover side veggies, and add fresh chopped herbs at the end (I like cilantro, dill, & mint). Mmm...


 milky oats avena sativa zizia botanicals nerve tincture milky oats tincture

Milky Oats (Avena sativa, Poaceae)

In herbal medicine, we use the fresh milky tops of Milky Oats as a medicinal to soothe, nourish and restore the nervous system. Often I build Milky Oats into nervous system restorative formulas for burnout, mental and physical exhaustion, addiction, stress, sleeplessness, and for those feeling so tightly wound mentally, they could snap!  This is an herb we all should be taking right NOW! Milky Oats falls into a category of herbs known as nervines, these are known for their nervous system nourishing and restorative benefits. A few other herbs in this category include Skullcap, Chamomile, Passionflower, Damiana, and Lemon Balm. While each herb listed here falls into this category, it's important to remember that herbs have multiple actions.  For example, Chamomile also supports digestion and liver function. Lemon Balm is a nervine but also an antiviral. You get the idea.

My favorite preparation for this is a fresh milky oat tincture which you'll find in Zizia's Nerve Tincture, but powders and tea also are available and have great and long-lasting benefits.

Find Milky Oats in Zizia's best-selling Nerve Tincture (w/ Tulsi, Skullcap, & Chamomile). I recommend taking 2ml 2-4x daily. If that's not doing the job, up your dose to 5ml 2x a day. Frequency and consistency are key.


zizia botanicals 11 flowers tincture herbal cactus hibiscus hydrating powder

Looking to cut back on booze, cigs, and/or weed? You're not alone. Trust me. Here are a few herbal formulas I like for these moments.

My preferred method is to pack a glass with ice and top with sparkling water. Then add 3-5ml of your formula of choice. You can add a squeeze of fresh citrus and/or a sugar cube if you want it a bit sweet.

Sleep Tincture-made with sedative and calming herbs, for those who like to mellow out, not only will this support a night of more restful sleep, but valerian and hops work lovely to calm a racing mind, ease minor pain, and relieve physical and mental tension. I wouldn't drive after taking this formula as it may cause drowsiness for some.

Relax Tincture-made with kava kava and rose petals, this one is soothing and calming for those with an overactive and chatty mind, feeling tension from mental stress, maybe it's spreading down to your neck and shoulders. If you're new to kava kava, try taking this one at the end of the day and see how it works for you, you also might like the kava kava lollipops for a stronger relaxing effect.

11 Flowers Tincture-if your heart is feeling heavy or even a little blue, this flower formula may soothe the emotions and lift your spirits, made with nine medicinal flowers to support both digestion and the mood, it helps that this formula tastes beautiful, enter the flower garden

Nerve Tincture-this is recommended as a daytime tonic to support sleep, stress, and racing thoughts, you can use it in higher doses of around 5ml to have a more calming effect, but for an even stronger calming effect reach for the Sleep or Relax Tinctures.

I encourage you to explore these formulas to find the right fit and dosage for you. There are many herbs to support our mental health!


Keep your spirits lifted through the mid-afternoon lull with the help of these beautiful Dwight Sykes tunes. As the days continue to fill with uncertainty and turn to mush...enjoy good music, take your herbs, and stay safe out there.