Adoption Stories: Meet Nicole and Emerson

Adoption Stories: Meet Nicole and Emerson

And learn how Nicole, our Global Senior Buyer, met (and adopted!) her handsome fur baby. 

Why did you choose Home at Last Dog Rescue and how long had you been thinking about adopting?

I was introduced to “Home at Last Dog Rescue” through my aunt and uncle. They had just adopted a puppy through them and had a great experience. I loved that each of the dogs are placed with foster parents, and not left caged in a shelter. The animals are then monitored for at least two weeks before they can meet any potential parents.

What’s your pup’s name? How old is he?

Emerson is between 4 and 5 years old. He is named after Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Tell us about meeting him. Was it love at first sight? What brought the two of you together?

I was constantly checking adoption agencies for chow mix’s or chow chow’s and one day Emerson’s face popped up on Home At Last’s “adoptable dog page”. I reached out to the foster parent immediately and filled out an application. I then went to the foster mom’s home and Emerson and I played ball in the backyard. He immediately opened up to me, dropping the ball at my feet, running after it, and bringing it back to continue playing. He had a crazy haircut, but you could tell he was a very special dog. My Mom and I left the meet and greet, and she turned to me and said, “If you want that dog, you better act quickly. He seems pretty perfect”. Following that I had a few intense days at work, culminating in a successful buy meeting. I was so excited the meeting went well, I called the Foster Mom and said, I would adopt Emerson and to please begin the paperwork. Best decision I’ve ever made!

Any idea of the breed?

I had his DNA done! He is 65% Chow Chow, 15% German Shepherd, and 20% Breed Groups (whatever that means?!)

His favorite toy?

A rubber ‘Chuck-It’ ball. He has all the colors, even a glow-in-the-dark one.

Funniest quirks?

So many — he is quite the Muppet. He HATES closed doors. He will head-butt them to push them open. He also has the loudest, whiniest yawns. He also huffs and puffs until he gets his way, audibly.

Favorite activities to do together?

Grab coffee at our favorite spot and head down to the beach for a morning of fetch and reading.

For more Adoption Stories click here

Need gift ideas for your furry BFF? Head to our site to check out all our pet accessories here

This post is in support of our long-time partner Best Friends Animal Society

Free People Blog

It’s The LAST Horoscope Of 2020!!!

It’s The LAST Horoscope Of 2020!!!

It’s a must-read…with a sneak peek at what’s in store for the new year!

To be honest, there were several moments this year — after mid-March, specifically — when I wondered if I’d make it to see a horoscope marked “2021.”

I don’t mean that to sound dramatic. But it’s probably safe to say that many of us juggled and struggled in 2020. It’s interesting to recall that our resident, astrologer Tracy Allen, alluded to 2020 as the year of foresight. It wasn’t so far off the mark?

In any case, it turns out that Aquarius is destined to perhaps play her biggest role yet — as the bearer of altruism, steadfastness and change in the new year. Ready to learn more? Just click here for your December/early 2021 horoscope! XO


Free People Blog

Adoption Stories: Meet Koa & Tegan

Adoption Stories: Meet Koa & Tegan

A recurring series about the magic of finding furever love (and giving a sweet baby a safe place to call home!)

Head on over to our IG account (after you read this post, of course), where today marks the start of a special holiday campaign featuring author and actress, Lili Reinhart. Throughout the holiday season, we’ll be spread the love for pet adoption while raising funds for longtime partner Best Friends Animal Society, America’s largest no-kill shelter.

In tandem with this campaign, we’ll also be rolling out a new series here, called “Adoption Stories,” where we’ll be highlighting stories from our home office colleagues who’ve found their BFF’s through shelters. First up is Koa — our Associate Manager of Experiential Marketing — who has been with Free People for over 3 years.

Why did you choose Best Friends Animal Society, and how long had you been thinking about adopting?

I chose BFAS because they are a no-kill adoption non-profit who commits to their animals for life. This means that if someone adopts from them and 8 years down the line can no longer care for the animal BFAS will always take the animal back — no questions asked — and re-home it. This felt really good from a values perspective to me. They also focus on ensuring accessibility is not a barrier in allowing animals to be adopted so they keep their adoption prices affordable compared to other organizations.

Tell us about meeting your pup. Was it love at first sight? What brought the two of you together?

I found Tegan at a Valentine’s Day Super Adoption event called “Find the One.” BFAS was trying to home unhoused cats and dogs for the winter and all adoptions were $14 in honor of Valentines Day. I was waiting until I graduated college to adopt and I remember there was a blizzard the day I met her. She was sooo shy, they had just rescued her from the NYC city shelter and she had just been fixed. When they let her into the playpen area to meet me and her soon-to-be-brother Duke, the first thing she did was shred a paper towel roll and want to play. We knew instantly she was the one.

What’s your pup’s name? How old is he/she?

When we adopted her they had just named her Zoe, but she is most definitely a Tegan! We got her at 7 months and she is now 6 and thriving!

Any idea of the breed?

She is a Labrador, Rhodesian, Pit mix. 100% princess.

His/her favorite toy?

She loves squeaky toys, kale stems, and buffalo horns.

Funniest quirks?

Tegan is VERY vocal. She has a ton of different sounds she makes depending on what she wants, sometimes it sounds like she’s trying to sing. She also will pick up her bowl and make a sound if it’s empty and she wants food or water. She always pokes her head in the shower while I’m in there. I like to think she’s checking on me. And she can’t walk past a flower without smelling it.

Favorite activities to do together?

We like to hike down to the river and play in the water on the warm days. These days we are doing a lot of snuggling and she’s my sous chef when I make bone broth.

To learn more about Best Friends Animal Society click here

For more info about our campaign, visit us on Instagram


Free People Blog

FP x Mercado Global : Supporting Indigenous Guatemalan Latinx Communities

FP x Mercado Global : Supporting Indigenous Guatemalan Latinx Communities

Continuing our partnership with Mercado Global by supporting their community of indigenous Latinx weaving artisans through a two-part COVID-19 relief program.

Since the onset of our partnership with Mercado Global in 2019 (when we visited Guatemala to work with their team), we have continued to develop finding new ways to give back and support the Brooklyn-based non-profit. For Indigenous communities in that part of the world, tourism serves as the primary source of revenue. So, when the pandemic forced Guatemala to shut down many of its factories — and essentially its tourism trade — Mercado Global’s innovative home-based, high volume production model provided them a safe way to continue securing an income. Known for their beautifully woven accessories, Mercado shifted focus in April by starting to produce much-need masks, which inspired us to support them by launching these two initiatives: 

Masks for Social Justice:

These hand-woven masks are handmade by the Mercado Global artisans who live in the Highlands near Lake Atitlan, in Guatemala. Each purchase supports the production of two masks – one for you and one that will be donated to those on the front lines of the racial justice movement, with each color representing a different community:

Red: Masks for Migrants in partnership with the organization Justice for Women: for every mask purchased, one will be donated to a migrant woman in need 

Black: Masks for Racial Justice in partnership with Latinx organizations throughout Central America: for every mask purchased, one will be donated to a Latino woman in need  

Blue: Masks for Guatemala: For every mask purchased one will be distributed to Mercado Global’s partner artisan communities to help prevent and contain the spread of COVID through the highlands of Guatemala.


Hand Sanitizer Donation:

In the Highlands region of Guatemala, PPE equipment and hand sanitizer are not only difficult to find, but incredibly expensive. To decrease the spread of COVID-19 in these communities, Free People is proud to donate 70,000 units of hand sanitizer. 

To learn more about Mercado Global’s incredible mission of empowering Latinx women through the preservation of craft, visit their website.

+ To support their mission, shop the entire FP x Mercado Global collection here.


Free People Blog

The Do’s and Do’s Of Virtual Dating

The Do’s and Do’s Of Virtual Dating

Dating is something you can do from home with little-to-no effort — all you need are a screen and a few things to get camera-ready…

Thanks to the last several months of quarantine, gone are the days of the cinematic “meet cute,” where you lock eyes with someone across a crowded room, slowly make your way towards one another, then spend the rest of the night laughing and canoodling in a corner or chatting on a rooftop festooned in fairy lights or walking the streets of your city until the sun comes up. (Did this actually happen pre-quarantine? Have I been watching too many movies from under a weighted blanket?)

Also gone? The endless hours spent going back and forth with a prospective date trying to figure out if you actually even wanted to meet, where and when the meet-up would go down, planning your schedule so you have enough time to get ready and get yourself to the location, paying for drinks and food…not to mention any time deemed “wasted” if the date was a dud.

So if you’re mourning the temporary loss of IRL dating, take comfort in the fact that it seems like the potential for good likely cancels out the likelihood of bad (or at least the frustration) that can come with going on dates. In-person dating is an investment of time and energy, but quarantine has changed all that: now, dating is something you can do from home with little-to-no effort. All you need are a screen and a few things to get camera-ready and give you a confidence boost (because we know you’re only rocking a date look from the waist up).


Lay the Foundation (Without Foundation)

Built-in phone and computer cameras are notoriously not-so-great, to the point where you think you look great in the mirror and then you turn on your camera and recoil at the washed out, pixelated face staring back at you. So while there’s absolutely no need to wear makeup ever, let alone on a FaceTime date, if you want to or if it’s what feels good and normal to you in this time of not-so-good and not-so-normal, start with killer skin. Of course, always be drinking water and moisturizing, but a tinted cream can go a long way in evening out skin tone and giving you a natural glow. With 15 different color options, Supergoop!’s CC Cream is an incredibly easy-to-use color-correcting cream that also just so happens to be super clean and oil-free. You can build and blend it to your heart’s content to get the exact coverage you want while still offering an effortless, radiant glow that’s visible even through a screen. (It’s also SPF 50 in case you’re venturing outside and need protection on the parts of your face not covered by a mask.)

Let Your Mouth Do the Talking

With your mouth covered by a mask 90% of the time these days — WEAR A MASK! — chances are your lips are feeling a little neglected. If you were ever going to experiment with a bold lip on a date, now’s your chance since there’s zero risk of messing it up with a makeout. But if that’s not your style, focus again on moisturizing and hydrating your pout so your smile really shines through the camera. Your best bet for nourished, protected lips? Free People’s Lip Juice Balm. The plant-based formula melts into lips, leaving them hydrated and with a natural-looking sheen that translated beautifully on camera.

Look Alive

The easiest way to pull your look together and appear perky and alert is, hands down, to zhuzh up your eyes. And since your eyes/brows/lashes take up half your face and your face takes up the whole screen during a virtual date, focusing on that 50% is a strong move. A few coats of a great mascara — like Kosas’ truly incredible The Big Clean Volumizing + Lash Care Mascara— will volumize lashes and accentuate your eyes, while a light wash of a smooth, shimmery, natural eyeshadow will make your irises pop on camera. (The Rose Quartz Gemstone Palette from Aether Beauty offers 12 beautiful shades to play around with and the shea butter-based powders offer buildability and personalization.) Frame it all with a great brow — aided of course by the foolproof RMS Back2Brow Powder — and your date will find it impossible to look away.

Set the Mood

At this point, much has been written about the lighting setups that lead to the most flattering light for a virtual gathering, but what about ambiance? I don’t know about you, but nothing would deflate my desire to flirt faster than a ring light staring at me from above my date’s face. Sure, lighting is important and you probably don’t want to go on a virtual date under the harsh glare of an overhead fluorescent, but don’t fret too much about your bulb situation. Instead, consider some good old fashioned candlelight; not only will it cast a lovely, flattering glow over your perfect face but it may help you feel like the date is happening IRL at a quaint, romantic restaurant instead of, you know, online. If you like a little scent to go along with your candlelight, Free People’s Eucalyptus Candle is ideal: the combination of eucalyptus and pine is clean, fresh and energizing without being overpowering and it’s slow-burning so you can use it again and again for however many dates you have lined up.

Need a little more than a candle to set the mood and calm your first-date jitters? Consider sipping on a “euphoric” drink like these from Kin. Crafted with stress-relieving adaptogens, mood-boosting nootropics, calming mushrooms and delicious botanicals, the alcohol-free tonics offer all loosen-you-up benefits of a glass of wine or cocktail without the brain fog (or the hangover).


Free People Blog

FP X Rose Bowl: How A Pet Portrait Artist Spends His Day

FP X Rose Bowl: How A Pet Portrait Artist Spends His Day

Darjeeling Portraits creates family heirlooms in celebration of our furry BFFs…

Let me tell you a few things about Owen Staszewski: he’s an incredible drummer, singer, and dancer. Sensitive, quick-witted, and funny — he’s an all-around top-notch guy. (And married to one of Free People’s equally talented and clever wovens designers.)

And just a few years ago, Owen added “pet portrait painter” to his already impressive resume. As someone who already dabbled extensively in art (one of his previous jobs was hand-rendering signs at the local Trader Joe’s), Owen was commissioned to paint a friend’s dog who had recently passed away. It was with this project, in honor of Buddy, that Owen realized his newest calling — Darjeeling Portraits.

To date, he’s painted over 50 cats and dogs, some living their best lives and others who have crossed the rainbow bridge.


“My hope is that these portraits bring people happiness, and can be passed down as a lasting tribute to a family best friend. I think having a portrait painted in a pet’s honor can also help to heal the heart and move on.”


I was curious what a typical day in the life of a pet portrait artist looked like, or if there could even be such a thing. Here’s a snippet from Owen’s diary entry:

8 AM alarm sounds. No snooze. Out of bed and downstairs for my morning coffee. Feed Bear (my doggo) and take him for his morning walk around the neighborhood.  This is when I reflect on the day ahead and figure out my game plan. 

Before I begin any project, I make sure I’ve got the right photo to work from, and know whether I’m capturing a serious or goofy side. (I’m always up for both!)

When trying to capture the spirit and personality of a pet, I pay a lot of attention to their eyes. You can really show so much emotion through their expression.

Now it’s time to tone the canvas. I like to use burnt umber diluted with odorless mineral spirits. Something about the warm earthy brown makes a stark white canvas more inviting. 

Now, with my reference photo taped below my canvas, I can start sketching out the painting, keeping it simple and focusing on proportions and bold shapes. 

Once I am confident in my sketch, I can start mixing colors and laying in some paint. 

Starting with the darkest areas and mid tones I begin to block in the most obvious shapes. Perhaps the shadow on the side of its face or the tuft of fur behind the ears. 

By this time, the subject is starting to come to life and look more three-dimensional. I can almost hear its playful growl… 

Wait, no that’s my stomach… Time for lunch!

Owen Staszewski, with Bear. Photos by Don Ortega.

(Which, Owen said, is usually three tacos.)

Although he was once intimidated by them, Owen’s medium of choice is oils, used in conjunction with a fast-drying medium called liquin. “It’s amazing, being able to mix colors that stay wet all day, as opposed to acrylics which pretty much dry within the hour. Also, the buttery consistency of oil paint is so satisfying to mix. The only downside to oil is the drying time but I’m a patient man and it’s well worth it!”

Perhaps fitting for Owen, so he can make time to enjoy dinner with Gemma, some wine and a whole lot of Seinfeld. 

If you’re interested in commissioning Owen for an heirloom all your own — or for a gift — visit here.

Note: to ensure delivery in time for the holidays, please place your order no later than December 3rd!


Free People Blog

Mastering the Art of the Double Cleanse

Mastering the Art of the Double Cleanse

Trust us — a double-dip of skincare will never feel or look happier…

Once upon a time, I thought that “washing my face” was as simple as some soap and water. Maybe I’d throw in a quick exfoliator scrub into the mix if I was feeling particularly motivated, and a mask if things got real fancy. After the initial soap-and-water combo, I’d also swipe a cotton pad loaded with toner or astringent over my face. Without fail, it would come away covered in leftover makeup and grime — aka the soap and water wasn’t removing everything my face had accrued over the course of the day and there was probably still a lot left even after the cotton pad.

Rather than change my nighttime skincare routine, I assumed this was normal and just kept on doing my thing. My skin had never been cooperative and I had resigned myself to just having a finicky face.

I don’t remember when or how I first heard about the phenomenon of double cleansing but, when I tested it out, my skin responded almost immediately. After nearly two years of religiously double cleansing every night, my skin has never felt or looked happier and, while there are definitely a whole cadre of products that have undoubtedly contributed, it all started with the double cleanse.

Why should I double cleanse?

Even though it’s a bit more high maintenance than what you’re probably used to doing, it really only adds a minute or two to your routine, I promise. And it’s totally and completely worth it.

As the name implies, double cleansing means washing your face twice: once with an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup, dirt, excess oil and dead skin, and again with a more “traditional” cleanser to further clean up the skin. You need these two types of cleansers because — surprise! — there are actually two types of dirt your face encounters: oil-based dirt like makeup, and everything else like dust, sweat and dirt.

And since science tells us oil and water don’t mix, you need to fight like with like and use an oil-based cleanser to remove oil-based dirt. The oil in the cleanser? It’s attracted to the fat in your sebaceous glands and the oil on your face in the form of makeup, sunscreen and pollution, meaning it’ll deep-clean without messing with the lipids and ceramides between skin cells aka it won’t leave your face feeling raw, dry and tight like a lot of traditional cleansers. Then that foaming cleanser swoops in to get rid of any remaining surface-level residue and deeply purify skin.

Another upside to double cleansing? Having thoroughly cleansed skin also makes it much easier for whatever products you use after — serum, moisturizer, oils, etc. — to be absorbed and do their jobs.

What products should I use?

As stated above, you’ll need an oil-based cleanser and a mild foaming cleanser. If you don’t have super-sensitive skin, you can try using plain ‘ole coconut oil like the one from Kopari for that first step. For a bit more nuance, look for something specifically deemed a “cleansing oil” (Pai Skincare’s Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil uses a mix of rosehip, olive, geranium and jasmine oils to make sure everything gets removed while still keeping skin soft) or an oil-based “cleansing balm” (the Birdbath Antioxidant Cleansing Balm from O’o Hawaii is a personal favorite, an exclusive antioxidant blend that features Hawaiian Coffeeberry Extract and Hawaiian Red Algae to promote new cell growth and prevent cellular damage, while Pineapple Enzymes help to brighten and resurface and Hawaiian Kukui and Macadamia Nut Oil deeply moisturize). Both oils and oil-based balms harness the power of oils and other natural ingredients to remove dirt, grime and makeup without stripping skin of its natural and necessary oils. You’ll also need a soft, clean cloth to remove the oil or balm, but more on that later.

For your second step, a mild cleanser will get to work on the water-based dirt still lurking on your skin. If you have oilier skin and like the idea of using a foaming cleanser next, Youth To The People’s Superfood Cleanser is a solid and luxurious choice since it’s formulated with cold-pressed antioxidants — kale, spinach, and green tea — to give your skin an ultimate cleanse. Ursa Major’s Fantastic Face Wash adds a hit of AHA exfoliation without stripping you of moisture or throwing off your pH balance. This formula works to remove oil and grime while helping to clear and brighten your skin, making it a good option for combination and oily skin. For the non-foaming fans out there, Pai’s Middlemist Seven Cleanser is a fave. And the fact that it includes a dual-effect sensitive skin cloth (with textured muslin AND soft terry sides!) certainly doesn’t hurt.

How do I double cleanse?

Step One:

Warm 1-2 pumps of an oil or a pea-sized amount of a cleansing balm in your dry hands by rubbing your palms together for a few minutes.

Step Two:

Once the oil cleanser/balm has melted, gently massage it into your skin (yes, makeup and all) for 30-60 seconds. Use slow, firm movements to work the oil/balm into your skin. I like to move my hands in circles from my neck upward, but it’s totally up to you. While you’re massaging, you’re also helping improve blood flow and activate your lymph nodes for even glow-ier skin. PS — Don’t be alarmed when your mascara and eyeliner raccoons its way up to your eyebrows and down to your cheeks…it means the process is working.

Step Three:

Take a clean washcloth and let it soak in warm water for a bit. Ring it out so it’s damp (but still warm) and lay it over your entire face for about 30 seconds. The warmth and moisture will help to lift the makeup and dirt that cleanser has picked up. Think of this step like a mini-steam for your face. Then gently use that same cloth to wipe everything away.

Step Four:

Time for cleanse #2. Use a small amount of your chosen cleanser and massage into your skin for about one minute using your fingertips. Really make sure you’re covering your entire face, throat and jaw line. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Step Five:

Apply your favorite serums, oils, moisturizers…whatever your heart desires. But do make sure you’re using something nourishing post-cleanse since this is prime time for your skin to receive active, good-for-you ingredients.

Step Six:

Stand back and admire your thoroughly cleansed, deeply moisturized, happy and healthy skin!

Step Seven:

Repeat every night before bed. Seriously.

+ Read more beauty tips and tricks from Allie here.


Free People Blog

Up Close With: Madame Gandhi

Up Close With: Madame Gandhi

A lover, a dreamer, and a Pisces…and a pretty killer playlist maker, too.

“When what we think, what we say, and what we do

are in alignment, we can never go wrong.”

Madame Gandhi

What do you think of when asked to visualize a “Creative Spirit?”

You might envision someone taking a sopping-wet-with-paint brush to canvas, or scribbling feverishly in a journal. Maybe even dicing vegetables for a tantalizingly complex dinner.

And you wouldn’t be wrong to think that, not at all.

But after watching and listening to the wonderful people who spoke on behalf of our latest campaign of the same name (that being, For the Creative Spirit), I realized that perhaps I was leaving out some really key components. Meaning, a Creative Spirit doesn’t always have to be an artist of some sort. Because creativity is not always about MAKING something. A creative isn’t necessarily the result of a process. It’s more about harboring an inherent FEELING, a mindset, to look at something and say, “I don’t know if I accept this thing as is. I might, or I might have my way with it to create something new.”

After listening to Madame Gandhi, I was floored, for lack of a better word. Because she is, in fact, the epitome of creativity. As true to her school as they come. Meaning, she believes in the reality of who she is, but refuses to settle for it at any given time. And throughout her life’s journey, she is warm, inviting, honest and powerful.

Watch her video below, and mark my word — you’ll be inspired to shine more of your light on this world than you thought possible.

“This video is meant to live as a reminder to all of us that, when we do our own thing and shine in our own light, we are happy, and this is what the world needs! We deserve to feel effortless in our personality, clear in our choices and brave in our risks. We should not have to worry what others will think.”

Free People Blog

Shonda Rhimes Shares The Final Straw That Pushed Her To Leave ABC For Netflix

This was originally posted on along with the image used.

Celebrated television producer Shonda Rhimes left ABC after 15 years of producing shows like Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy—and now she’s explaining why.

In a honest conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Rhimes revealed she had been in an ongoing battle with ABC over multi-year deals and compensation years before her departure. But wasn’t until she attempted to receive an additional all-inclusive Disneyland pass for her sister (which was a perk allotted to her through her deal with ABC at the time) that she decided to leave the network. After allegedly being told “Don’t you have enough?” by a high-ranking official, Rhimes immediately called her lawyer and implored that they negotiate a deal with Netflix.

Since then, she has signed a nine-figure deal with the streaming service and producers like Ryan Murphy have followed in her footsteps.

In the interview, Rhimes said that her relationship with Netflix was a work in progress and that she was emphatic about the type of work she wanted to create. “I said, ‘I just want to be in a place where I can make stuff and no one’s going to bother me or make me feel like I’m beholden,” Rhimes said, reminiscing on a 2016 conversation with Netflix’s CEO.

Three years after Rhimes’ first-of-its-kind deal with Netflix, she is finally releasing two new bodies of work.

Her first project with the content giant will be a documentary about choreographer and director, Debbie Allen, which will be available on Nov. 27th. She will also be releasing a period drama, Bridgerton, on Dec. 25th.

Shonda Rhimes Shares The Final Straw That Pushed Her To Leave ABC For Netflix By Brooklyn White ·October 22, 2020October 22, 2020

The post Shonda Rhimes Shares The Final Straw That Pushed Her To Leave ABC For Netflix appeared first on Essence.

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