• 05/09

    Motherhood and entrepreneurship are two nouns that are more similar than not – they both thrive on nurturing, creative thinking, patience, planning and smart work. Women are naturally equipped for both rolls – we have proved to be able to spin more than one plate at the same time for centuries and we have assertively raised babies into capable human beings... and businesses from the ground up.

    99% of the clients I work with are women and I dare say that 90% of those are mothers. Some are drained from working uninspiring 8-5 jobs, some others have used blogging as a form of catharsis but never wanted to get anywhere with it... while others (like myself) didn't have any "luck" after several years of pouring themselves into their blogs and businesses – yet interestingly enough, 100% of these women deal with the same feelings of self-doubt and worry.

    I dug into my server archives and rescued a decent list of questions I get asked whenever I’m working with a "mom-preneur". Here are 5 of the ones I think are the most common and the most important ones:

    How did you decide to start a business?
    I became a mother almost 11 years ago and 6 months into motherhood I created my first blog and my first business while sitting on the floor of a tiny villa here in Brazil. I sincerely knew nothing about what I was doing, both in motherhood and entrepreneurship. I simply knew 3 things and those things only: that we needed money, that my baby kept me up for hours at a time while she breastfed into a milk coma and that I was going bonkers not doing anything... and that is how everything started. No, I didn’t have a revelatory dream. There wasn’t a prophecy or a call. I needed to maintain some level of sanity so I jumped in with both feet.

    What do you wish you had known before starting?
    To be honest, the only thing that I wish I had known was that I was doing the right thing at that time. I made many mistakes and the entire ordeal was a mess sometimes. It looked amateurish when I started and there wasn’t much or any information to find online back then but that learning curve taught me a lot – even that I didn’t want to run my business like a machine and that I wanted to keep this a one-woman operation working from the comfort of my home. But the thing that got to me was that irrational mommy guilt you feel when your tiny swaddled baby is taking its 9th nap of the day and you feel that by sitting in front of a computer you're missing out on precious moments that you will never get back. It wasn’t like that and it isn’t like that now that my little swaddled baby is just about my height and has feet as big as mine.

    How do you juggle motherhood and business at the same time?
    You don’t. I could end it there and drop the mic but I won’t. The reality is we all need to stop trying to be everything all the time. Nobody can constantly be at 100% in every area of their lives at all times – and that is the case with being a mother and an entrepreneur. You will eventually sort out a plan that seems to work for you... but 90% of the time you are just going to need to pick your battles: one day you will thrive at your business and get the rush of a professional bad-ass and some others you will be super mom and tackle all your little one’s appointments and needs and even sneak an extra hour of playtime in there; but we all need to understand that only some things are urgent and only some things need our undivided attention at any given time.

    Do you have a routine while being a freelancer?
    Yes, I have a weekly routine that tells me what to do every day from Monday - Friday and that forces me to work in a systematic manner. My days look different and I pay attention to different things during the week giving each task my undivided attention. A good routine for mothers who work from home should always start with them - say, having time alone in meditation in the morning... and then end with them as well – maybe reading a book in bed or spending time in exquisite silence. Of course, as a freelancer, your routine will probably look different from day to day but time for self-care and (if possible) weekends offline should be non-negotiable.

    Should I venture into a business of my own?
    What advice would you give new entrepreneurs?

    10 years ago I’d have simply said, "Yes!"... but in these times I need to be honest and say that you should start a business only if you have a clear idea of what that would look like and you are willing to put in the time to patiently see it evolve. If you are determined and already have a clear idea, I’d then tell you these things:

    ¹ Be clear about how much time you want to devote to growing your business on the daily. Calculate what your time’s worth according to your capabilities, resources and available time and don’t accept anything less than that.
    ² Treat yourself as your only source of income – so invest in your well-being and mental health.
    Communicate to your children and set boundaries: you need some sort of delimitation between home and work.
    ³ Working from home is being flexible and using what you have around you. Do not invest in anything until you’re truly seeing it take shape.
    ⁴ Loneliness is a common denominator for at-home workers, especially when your little ones are not yet in a talking phase.
    ⁵ Structure your work weeks and if possible make weekends off non-negotiable.
    No matter how much more you think you can do by sleeping less and working more, never sacrifice your mental health for your work.
    ⁶ Save a part of your money whenever you surpass your earning goals – for a rainy day.
    Be aware of the privilege that it is being able to always have your kids an arm's-reach away. That will allow you to swiftly take your work hat off and enjoy times with them without the guilt of stopping work for the day and vice versa.

    Neither mom-life nor entrepreneurial life are easy to manage; you will win some battles and you will lose some – but it is important to keep sight of what made you take that leap in the first place, as it is important to let go of self-doubt and worries.

    Make sure your business is constantly growing and that you don’t have to completely neglect one thing for the sake of another. Trust your instincts and always – and I mean always – look for help in people who are here to help you... yes, like me.
  • 12/12

    The notion that people who work from home work less (or more freely) can only be in the minds of those who do not work from home. As alternative and as exciting as it might seem, the truth is that most of us (at home or not) work too hard. If your job shackles you to a desk and a computer, chances are that like me, you often feel drained at the end of the day . . . and most likely, while you are checking commitments off your list you are not putting in time where you should. Yourself.

    I’m guilty as charged when it comes to neglecting oneself. I’m more often than not giving up a gym session to squeeze in some extra emails and more likely to give others my time than committing to my own well-being. Sound familiar? I’ll bet it does.

    Taking time out for ourselves can many times feel selfish or wasteful when building our careers up, when in financial stress and when having people (or creatures) around us that depend on us – but meeting ourselves in the middle is crucial, so that in the long run we don’t end up tired, anxious or maybe even giving up on our dreams.

    Beyond going for a quick walk, doing a few breathing exercises and keeping an arsenal of snacks at your disposal to munch on while tied down to your desk, we should also make our lives more practical. Like I always say, there’s always a way to better one’s life, no matter who you are and where you’re at.

    Here are 5 things (material and otherwise) to give yourself this Christmas:

    1. A (you) book: In the work frenzy we all lose track of our dreams, hopes and ourselves outside the professional realm. A you-book is meant to bring you back to your own. Not a work agenda and not a diary – but something where you can do both things. A moleskine is perfect to track your day-to-day life outside of work. This can be for your dreams, your learnings, your thoughts or essays... you name it. It simply needs to be all about you.

    2. A morning warm-up routine
    I used to be the type of person who would fall flat on her bed after a long day of work and dove right in to a digital immersion again every morning – without even catching my breath. It’s taken me years to get used to not getting sucked into that – the morning anxiety that tells you there’s not enough time. There IS enough time, especially when you don’t start your day stumbling from your bedroom into your office.

    Having a daily morning routine where you can ease out of bed is crucial. If you feel there’s not enough time, simply set your alarm so you can graft this into your life. Trust me, 15 minutes of morning relaxation is better than 15 minutes of extra sleep. So, start your morning by opening your eyes while in bed and pray or meditate and breathe. Sit on your bed and start your day mindfully. Grab a cup of tea or coffee (whatever makes you happy) and truly ease into your day. Think about the things you are grateful for before your to-do list starts niggling at your brain.

    Wash your face and continue to think about those things you are grateful for that day and tell yourself to have a good day.

    Then you can start, fresh and bushy-tailed.

    3. A daily spot in your agenda
    We are ALL busy. Let’s start with that. We all feel there’s no time for anything and everything is more important than what we think of as being frivolous, vain and unimportant. You are not frivolous, vain and unimportant. You are the brains of this operation, the motherboard to your computer... and so you should give yourself a special spot in your agenda – and when I say daily, I mean DAILY.

    Use this time for whatever you want – but don’t forget to pencil it in: 2:00pm-3:00pm “Me Time”, “Gym”, “Yoga” - you name it. If you easily pencil people and commitments into your agenda, why not you? After all, the better you feel, the better you will produce, so technically, by doing so, you are still a smart business woman (and a loving one at that).

    4. A weekly non-negotiable day off
    Do you want to know why many people crash and burn? Screens. Simple as that. We are constantly tethered to a screen, scrolling our computers, phones, tablets, smartphones and televisions in an endless haze of cold, blue lights... and we naively believe that a couple of hours of extra sleep on a Sunday can make a difference and prepare us for a busy week ahead. Wrong.

    Having a non-negotiable day off has completely changed my life and eased my anxiety. The act of disconnecting from social media, work, television, etc. is liberating (ok, scary at first but eventually liberating).

    Think about it. What are 24 hours (8-12 waking hours, really) in a 168-hour week. Not much… so things are going to be ok, especially you. Take that time to teach yourself new things. Sit in uncomfortable silence if you must.

    5. An evening winding down kit
    Having a nice end to your day is just as important as starting off right. I have already given you a quick walk-through of my previous robot-like behavior of the past... and let me just say that all I got out of that was endlessly more morning anxiety and panic attacks. So this is why I believe everyone (not only tiny babies) needs a winding-down routine.

    When night comes, you are run down, I know... but that is the exact reason why you need to wash off the day and give yourself a little pamper. A nice shower, a lit candle, soft music and sitting down for a warm meal is enough to do the trick – but if you want to take it a step further, I’d recommend you stop using screens 30 minutes before bed and that just as you eased into your day, you ease into your sleep. Maybe practicing a short breathing exercise or a prayer and a good read before bed.

    I keep a bottle of body cream next to my bed and I rub my feet every night before bed. I know I spend most of my day sitting down but there’s so much tension built up in the legs and feet and it’s very relaxing to soothe your body, mind and soul before sleeping. Not only will you get to sleep faster but you’ll also sleep better.

    If you have more tips and want to share with us, do it in the comment section. I just want to wrap this up by saying that no matter how hard-working you are, how many kids, pets or problems you are trying to control and resolve, never forget that you are important – in fact, you matter the most. To the measure that you take care of yourself, that’s the measure to which you will be able to take care of others.

    Say "Merry Christmas To Me" by adding these 5 small practices into your days.
  • 08/21

    Warrior One is a Yoga Studio located in bayside Melbourne – design by the geniuses of Golden. Inspired by the client’s deep connection to the ocean and the desire to create an organic, sensory experience for guests, Warrior One embodies a holistic approach to wellbeing. The design outcome is both sophisticated and bohemian at the same time, which makes it both equally inviting and pleasantly surprising.

    Ph: Sharyn Cairns
  • 01/12

    Fredik Stambro

    When it comes to most things in life, being a extremist isn't the answer. Life is, in fact, simpler than we make it out to be, don't you think? Yet most of us live it trying to unveil it like it's an ancient, mystical secret. This is also true when it comes to our beauty habits.

    From jars of probiotics and supplements… to colon cleanses, painful treatments and food restrictions, we make ourselves believe convenience and health come from the packaged stuff.

    What if our bodies were really that complicated that we could only be healthy and beautiful by eating goji berries and drinking detox juices every morning? Wouldn’t that be awful?

    I personally believe that our bodies are simply miraculous and giving. If we love them and treat them well (most of the time) they'll treat us with the same level of love. Of course, this might not be the truth for people who sadly live their lives with life-long health issues – but for the average, lucky human being it's really a no-brainer.

    Below are my cheat tricks for a natural cleanse:

    1. Drink water instead of juice: I can almost feel a lot of you frowning as you read this... but hear me out. For ages, humans have been able to live in good health and be hydrated by the mere act of drinking water. That's my best detoxifying trick – and let me tell you, I’ve tried several other whacko ways.

    2. Eat your probiotics: Some people's diet plans might require for them to take a probiotic supplement... but for those who eat real food and have no dietary restrictions or allergies, eating probiotics is the best option. I'm not only talking kimchi (though I personally love it) but kefir, yogurt, miso, apple cider vinegar… among others. The aim is to make healthy bacteria in our bodies available to fight the bad ones.

    3. Cut down your (bad) sugar and fat intake: I had to add the "bad" part because there are plenty of GREAT sugar and fat sources. You can easily pinpoint if something is "fat but good" if it comes from the earth or even an animal. Avocado, eggs, fruit and vegetables are examples of the best natural sources of fat and sugar.

    4. No-juice life: Most of my Brazilian friends look shocked when I tell them I'm not a juice drinker. I do like an occasional vegetable juice drink but I NEVER drink fruit juices, not even natural ones. My policy is that the more fiber, the better and the more filling. So instead of juicing, say, 4 oranges to make myself a cup of juice, I peel the orange and eat it whole.

    5. Liver health is simple: Realistically, no one in this world has perfect liver health – that goes for non-drinkers too (Ok, maybe Gwyneth Paltrow). Everything we ingest can damage our liver, even common painkillers and viruses that are out of our control. To keep our liver in good health, cutting down (Notice I'm not saying removing) on the things that hit it the hardest is a great practice. Have 1 cup of coffee instead of 4 (guilty on that count), make drinking wine a "rare thing" and make refined sugars and complex carbs an absolute NO.

    Last but not least, we all have an acute sense of what's right and what's wrong for each one of us. We know it because our bodies and our skin react to anything and everything we put in and on them – so being balanced and listening to our bodies is always the best way to show them some love.
  • 12/22

    Over the Holidays, our routines are punctuated by what we expect to be a time of recharging, rest and peace–but all the rush and the additional to-dos are anything but soothing and relaxing. Yes, even the calmest holidays can bring the biggest storms.

    Emily Laye

    Over the Holidays, our routines are punctuated by what we expect to be a time of recharging, rest and peace–but all the rush and the additional to-dos are anything but soothing and relaxing. Yes, even the calmest holidays can bring the biggest storms.

    Self-care is the key to keeping everything else in some sort of balance. Don't forget to be present and mindful this holiday time. Take time out for yourself to be alone... maybe take a mindful walk or spend a few minutes in meditation. Stop what you’re doing when something is making you stress out and simply breathe.

    This season is a time to enjoy and to be with the ones we love–but do not feel obligated to anything that makes you feel anxious or uncomfortable. Make no commitments you cannot handle and above everything, take some time to truly rest, to take naps and to do things slowly, truly enjoying the moment.

    Happy Christmas to all!

    P.S. There's a sale up on the shop. You get a 50% off your order this Holiday weekend. Code: HOLIDAY. x

  • 11/06

    Anna Pirkola

    One of the biggest human struggles since the beginning of modern times has been the attempt to achieve a balanced life. We push, pull and try to fit everything in, falsely believing that we can be everywhere and do everything all at once–spreading ourselves thin.

    If you were born in the late 80’s like me, you can attest to the revolution of technology. Life as we knew it changed before our eyes . . . suddenly everything went wireless, we no longer needed booth phones to call when away from home, video games were all the rage and all we could hear was that technology was here to make our lives easier.

    What started off as something that could ease the pace of our lives, ended up making us feel dissatisfied. It’s made us work harder, longer and feel a constant sense of unfulfillment. It’s like we cannot ever achieve our goals. Technology was supposed to connect us . . . but it’s pulled us away from real life–to the point where we now understand the difference between being “in” and “out of” real life (well, some of us still do).

    I used to think that faster was better. Only a year ago I was living my life like a race, doing everything on autopilot and living my entire life logged on, isolated from the real world–incapable of switching off even for the sake of my health or my relationships.

    The non-stop mentality is making us sick. In my book 30 Days To Minimal Blogging I explain how my response to anxiety in the past was to do more, to try harder and to never, ever stop hacking at the things that were difficult to deal with. We are tackling our challenges in the wrong way; we are doing more than ever but in that we are getting less and less life out of our days.

    Fast living at all times isn’t natural; the bigger, better, stronger philosophy is what brought us fast food–a disconnect with what we put on our plates. It’s made way for big chains, for dehumanizing services, for automating our consumption–without truly making things that once used to be an experience, what they should be.

    That’s why after spending my life trapped in the "do-not-stop" and the "boss-everything" mantras, I reached the tipping point and I needed to rewire the way I defined living.

    I’ve said this before: that often times the answer to changing a radical point of view is to start with a new radical approach and tweak that. So, my response to my fast-paced life was to make a 180 degree turn and start living slowly. Rethinking my approach to work, to myself, to my family, my relationships and my surroundings. In other words, I started being mindful.

    The Slow movement is not just about diminishing the speed at which we do things–it’s about being aware of ourselves and the things outside ourselves, about understanding when the right time is to be slow and when it’s time to be fast–and recognizing the difference at all times.

    Certainly, living on the slow side is a challenge in this modern era we live in and it has doubly so been a challenge for me and for my business. We live in times where people feel entitled to a response almost immediately as they send in an email, where everything is urgent and no one can wait. I’ve had to force myself to comply with a daily schedule, to switch off on my weekends, to connect more outside of social media and find gratification in simple things–in cooking a simple meal, in spending 15 minutes in meditation, in having a conversation with my daughter and sitting in the learner’s seat once in a while.

    By taking simple actions in our lives, we contribute to everyone’s life–we add significance to the lives of the people we love, we contribute to our communities by buying local, we say no to dehumanizing treatment by making better choices. We re-educate people to wait and at the same time we allow ourselves to be better at what we ourselves do.

    It’s imperative for our health and our happiness that we learn to slow down by doing what we can to add more life to our days and we that we collectively start redefining what’s truly good and what it means to be truly stronger.

    It is time for all of us to remember that slow can also be a good thing.

  • 10/30

    Anna Pirkola

    How lucky are we that the year is finally winding down?… Time will soon be still, peace and joy will soon be at our doorsteps and as the year subsides, so will our commitments, emotions and worries.

    Or will they!?

    No. Sadly, we already know that this time of the year is far from still. Our commitments will duplicate, the rush to check goals off the lists we made a year ago will become top priority and worries will be guaranteed. This is not, (regardless of how the movie industry attempts to make it seem) the most wonderful time of the year.

    The holidays are a time when everyone runs on expectations–either of the role they should be playing or the role that they want others to play. This guarantees a slew of new to-do’s: trying to catch up with people that we barely ever see the rest of the year, attempting to fulfill our forgotten goals (turning us into that so familiar breed of holiday monster fighting to fit into a size "x" dress before New Year’s Eve), sobbing on the kitchen floor for having burnt a batch of ginger cookies... and swapping out our plan "A" of signing up for French lessons with frantically downloading Duolingo on our phones–just so we don’t have to feel like we’ve failed.

    True story: Two years ago during this "oh-so-wonderful" time I was knee-deep in work, trying to catch my breath in the middle of all the commitments and struggling to make up for lost time with my daughter–I (as many of us do) ended up over-committing on all fronts because I had for years made it up in my head that the holidays should play out like a perfect orchestra.

    I predictably made countless unfulfilled promises to little EP–(in full-on holiday-beast mode) offered myself to cook Christmas dinner AND New Year’s supper after someone had simply asked if I could "give a hand" in the kitchen department... This consisted of spending a lot of my "free" time at the market... and later on with a hand stuck in a turkey’s cavity or my head stuck in a hot oven. I woke up on Christmas morning to the gift of swollen tonsils and a fever, looking like... Oh, well! I should probably spare you the visuals. Needless to say, it was a sour experience.

    The thing is that while I looked disastrous, my house looked more joyful than myself: there was the tree, the lights, the smell of ginger cookies... If only I had felt as good as the darn house looked.

    What I’m trying to get at is this: The Holidays SHOULD be a wonderful time. It should be a time to spend with our loved ones, to give of ourselves, to indulge in traditions and to ponder the year that’s almost gone–but not at the expense of our emotions and health.

    Living intentionally takes all our self-imposed, non-negotiables out of the equation. It makes us gentler with ourselves. It helps us see the importance of still acknowledging ourselves in the midst of all the chaos. So before we go out there–trying to check off goals and hit the Holiday jackpot by making this the most memorable Holiday experience in the history of the Holidays, let's take care of other things. Ourselves.

    Here are 7 things you can do before the Holiday time:

    Susanna Vento

    1. Hygge-up your bedroom

    Hygge, a Danish term defined as "a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being." Pronounced "hoo-guh," the word doesn’t have a direct translation in English, though "cozy" comes close. Making your bedroom a little safe and cozy space (before you run around trying to make everything else look inviting) is taking care of yourself.

    Think candles, woolen blankets, slippers, feet-warming rugs, nice scents. Or, if you, like me, live in a hot country: soft linen sheets, fresh scents, diffused daylight, open windows... Whatever makes you feel serene.

    Lina Östling

    2. Take an experimental yoga class

    When it comes to yoga, the benefits far outweigh any excuses in your head. Maybe you think that it’s "cult-ish", that it’s a "girl thing", that it's difficult or boring. Yoga, for me, is something that oftentimes saves me from my next panic attack. It’s a time that "forces" me to reconnect with myself. It helps me do something physical–to concentrate on something outside my routine, my worries and my obligations.

    I don’t do yoga for enlightenment, to be honest. For those things I go to prayer and meditation... but yoga is a thing that inevitably gives you an awareness of your self–it reminds you to be mentally flexible, it makes you feel capable and strong. That’s why I recommend it. I’ve seen even the toughest bodybuilders reveling in its remarkable benefits.

    My favorite yoga style: Flow yoga.

    Mikkel Mortensen

    3. Start a vision board–and make it a thing.

    I was recently asked about the things I do that bring me happiness–and I couldn’t have been more shocked myself to find out that building vision boards can do that in your life. After thinking about it for a while, I realized the following: My vision boards make me focus on the things I want to experience. They set a kind of creative frequency in me that usually influences my work and my emotions.

    Yes, it’s also entertaining to make them... but their return in the actions you take towards your dreams and the empowerment that comes from them go far beyond mere fun.

    Jennifer Hagler

    4. Schedule one hour of non-negotional "you" time every day.

    You’re probably innocently thinking (like I used to): "But I do spend time alone!" Really? You do? Think about this one harder. I personally used to think that my evening shower was my "me" time, that my time preparing supper while catching up with an episode of (that series that was all the rage last year) on my iPad was spending quality time alone. Lie. We need true time for ourselves–time in stillness, time to do whatever and however we want to do it... but by ourselves.

    Time off screen, off duty and off our routine is precious time. An hour every day doing something unplanned–something that we can do for our own sake is precious. Make it a habit to write it down every single day. It doesn’t have to be at a specific time of the day (unless you want to)... just take one hour to be in your own company.

    Karen Mordechai

    5. Learn a new recipe

    I don’t know if this is something other people do... but I can spend years on end cooking the same repertoire every week. Thankfully, my abilities in the kitchen department are not that limited–but yes, it gets boring at times. The funny thing is that I own at least 10 cookbooks and most of them have gone untouched after purchasing them.

    If you're like me, it’s time to dust those off. Let me tell you why:

    Learning to do something new is an eye-opening experience. Cooking, in this case, puts us in a position of awareness and discovery–it awakens our sense to new flavors and textures and it builds up excitement within us–waiting to see how things turn out, giving us the pleasure of having accomplished something that is so gratifying... something that plays with our every sense.

    Riika Kantinkoski

    6. A new evening ritual

    Since we’re being honest here, I have to admit that for the longest time (and given my daily juggling of work, home chores, homework, errands, play times...), my evening routine consisted of 2 steps: 1. Face the bed and 2. Fall flat on it, eyes already closed.

    One day, while working at my desk, I held my face in my hands in desperation. Nothing seemed to be working out. I ran my hand through my crispy, dry hair and thought "Oh, God! I really need to start taking care of myself... but how?". I made the decision right there and then, that I, Ana, would no longer ignore the things that I really needed–and a winding-down routine is what I came up with.

    It really doesn’t take a long time, but it does work miracles–at least in the way we feel.

    Every night, since that crispy-hair incident, I take a long shower before bed, I dry brush my skin some days, some others I put a hair mask or a facial mask on, I massage my feet before bed, I put on my pajamas and lying down in bed I meditate or read and slowly fall asleep.

    It doesn’t matter whether you have 20 minutes or 1 hour. That little bit of time of shaking off the day and relaxing will make you sleep more comfortably and peacefully so you can wake up more energized.

    Amara AU

    Maison Louis Marie

    7. Find a new scent

    You probably didn’t see this one coming–but hear me out: From this post you might have already gathered that I’m a creature of routines and habits... and that, I am. I can be "that lady" who owns 6 perfumes but only wears one and keeps on buying the same. My friends can already feel my presence just by the smell of my perfume... and while that might be a positive thing, I recently decided to change my scent. And what a difference it’s made!

    Switching up such a common thing can have a great and renewed effect on us. Especially with the transition of seasons that have such a profound effect on us and our daily routines and habits.

    Whether you take on one or all seven of the pointers above, keep this in mind: A simple Holiday starts with you–with how you feel, with your own expectations and with your right to claim your freedom and allow others to be free to enjoy this time in the same calmness, simplicity and honesty.
  • 09/29

    Tom Newton

    I’m soon approaching that age in life when women start feeling an urge to splash out on high-end skincare products... and when things that never mattered to me now matter. Things like Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Collagen, Propylene Glycol Hylorounic Acid and lots of other complicated jargon.

    Though the thought of being forever young sounds inviting to some, what resonates a lot more with me is the chance to age gracefully and naturally.

    Lines of expression are exactly that. Marks on our faces that say we’ve laughed a lot, that we’ve had a full life. That we’ve aged—therefore we’ve had the privilege to LIVE.

    The “beauty” industry is there, waiting for us to start questioning how to go about flash-freezing our age (on our faces) so they can fill our minds with more doubt and more worry—making it seem glamorous and necessary to buy the most expensive “miracle” products; products that contain things we cannot even pronounce, let alone pinpoint what it really is that we are putting on our faces.

    The one thing they do not tell us, though, is the most important and least glamorous secret... and that is that good skin starts from within. Literally, health starts from your gut. Isn’t that so enticing? I know it isn’t, but that is the honest truth. Your gut is the most responsible for your immune system, where detoxifying enzymes and nutrients are created—so smothering a detoxifying mask on your face every week or spending a ridiculous amount of money on masks containing rich live nutrients serves no purpose if you are not eating well.

    Your skin is very telling of how well you eat and how much water you drink. So before you make an appointment with your facialist or ask your dermatologist how many creams, balms, serums etc. to buy, make sure you are battling the war from within:

    1. Start your day with lemon I know coffee is a bare necessity or at least it is for me... but do not run to your coffee machine as soon as you wake up. Instead grab a tall, lukewarm cup of water and squeeze in half a lemon. This helps flush your digestive system and re-hydrate your body after your 8 hours (you better be sleeping at least eight!) of sleep.

    2. Take it down a notch Have a de-stressing routine daily, whether that’s hardcore exercise, yoga, meditation, a walk through the neighborhood or time of prayer. Look for ways in your day to find balance and peace; this does very well to your soul AND gut.

    3. Drink a lot of water (duh!) Like you’ve never heard this before. I know you have but, really, DO IT! Water is the best way to detoxify your system, it hydrates your skin and helps your digestive system—and who doesn’t want that, right?

    4. Eat probiotics and lower your sugar intake These 2 go hand-in-hand because sugar depletes good bacteria from your gut... so while you might want to introduce yogurts and some sort of pickled vegetable to your diet in order to produce good bacteria, you may also want to make sure that those are not filled with sugar.

    5. Hail to all vegetables! Make sure that the biggest portion of your meals is a good amount of vegetables (preferably steamed or sautéed). Why put a Vitamin C mask on your face when you can be eating delicious berries, tomatoes, baby spinach…

    Finally, let me tell you this: Beauty products, in general, should be there to enhance your natural beauty, not to change or mask your best traits. Show off those freckles, be proud of how thin or plush your lips are. Leave those eyebrows alone and please, protect your skin from the sun and clean it with love.

    Non-optional to have at your disposal: A mild cleanser, a good balm and sunscreen (always!).
    How do you take care of your skin? Care to share?
  • 07/27

    Photography and Styling © Karina Dimas

    For most people home ends on the outside of one door and work starts on the inside of another . . . but that's not the case if you, like me, work from home.

    We are the envied few, viewed as the lucky hipsters who get to work from bed. We lived in a falsely romanticized life by those who believe we get to work from cozy beds decked out in Egyptian cotton, free to work or play at our leisure.

    The testy truth is that working from home is far from glamorous. It is instead an endless race to meet deadlines and oftentimes a setting aside of the conveniences a home office might bring. It wraps around us like ivy and makes us feel guilty for enjoying the everyday things that others working outside of home enjoy: An 8-5 schedule, an hour-long lunch or even a 30 minute break away from our computers.

    So yes, working from home is one thing, but managing it successfully is another. It is very common, in fact, for most of us who work from home to feel like we'll never get a hang of it. We often use all of our energy and resources burning ourselves out, only to accomplish the same level of success as others who do less.

    I've personally found in my own pursuit of success on the work-from-home front that the secret to doing it successfully is inviting in a contradiction and holding to structure as if we were working outside of home.

    The 2 main areas where we need those limitations are:

    01. Space Designing a specific space for work might burst your expectations bubble and feel trivial if you believe the best thing about working away from an office is the freedom to work anywhere you want—but in assigning one space for daily work, whether that be a room, a workshop or a section of your living room, you automatically also create the ability to switch on and off work by acknowledging that as soon as you step away from that space you finish work and when you are in it . . . to log into it.

    Doing this doesn't take away from your freedom to occasionally spend a day of work at a cafe, to do it from a hotel room or even while on a plane ride to your vacations. It simply gives your brain an automatic way to switch off from your responsibilities.

    02. Time This one is a hard one but it is probably one that's the easiest to take for granted or to not value, depending on your schedule.

    Having a set time to work and structuring your online hours in extremely important—even for us creatives who might have a fantastic idea in the middle of the night or might feel a rush just before meeting a deadline.

    Time is were we have the most freedom when we work from home; we don't have to comply to a set schedule, we just have to put the hours in. So, playing with that freedom and missing the mark is often what happens. Delimiting your time can bring you not only a feeling of accomplishment every day but also actual accomplishments. Why? Because you will be giving your 100% to each task without the interruption of a billion other things.

    If you determine a clear work schedule and commit to it, you will welcome the daily pauses and breathers with a whole lot more peace of mind—and that will help you make the wheels spin with more ease on a daily basis.

    In short, freedom cannot survive without structure and structure deserves a little bit of freedom. To succeed at working from home, we need to understand where our limitations lie and enjoy our work and the fruits thereof fully and freely.

    What is your secret?
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