Dancer Nardia Boodoo has graced many a stage with her delicate art of ballet — read on as she graces Free People with her presence…
Dancer Nardia Boodoo has graced many a stage with her delicate art of ballet — read on as she graces Free People with her presence…
Drop, fizz, drink, repeat…
Life is busy and, if you’re like me, finding time to cook in the kitchen often ends up on the back burner (ha). But we all know that we should eat more vegetables, right? Well, on time-crunched days, there’s 8Greens, a supplement that doesn’t replace your CSA bundle of fresh produce but can boost your intake of key nutrients. As the name implies, 8Greens delivers all the benefits of 8 supergreens, packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants: spinach, wheatgrass, kale, blue green algae, spirulina, aloe vera, chlorella and barley grass. In fact, one little tablet contains the nutritional goodness of 6 oranges, 15 cups of broccoli, 6 cups of spinach, and 7 cups of milk. Try cooking with all that!
Rather than swallowing a pill, you drop this supplement in a glass of water, where it starts to fizz and dissolve. (This takes about five minutes; try a little meditation while you wait). Then you simply drink the resulting concoction — a zesty, refreshing tonic that has a green color but doesn’t actually taste “green.” (Instead, it has a lemon-y flavor). Also important: it’s free of unnecessary ingredients and fillers, like preservatives, gluten, salt and sugar. (And each tablet is just 10 calories). It’s like drinking water, only better.
Our resident waterborne chef Sandy Ho recalls with magic and humility the emotion found on July’s sailing retreat…
Being a chef holds with it a good deal of responsibility — in essence, you’re looking out for those people who’ve chosen to sit at your table. Nourishing the bodies of seventeen beautiful souls on last month’s Escape through Sardinia and Corsica proved no less a challenge, but more so, an absolute dream.
We met on a hot day in the coastal town of Olbia, eager to immerse our spirits into the intentions set early in the week — To be present. To know your mind. With sails full of wind, water beside, behind and beneath us, I prepared lunch in the galley — clams in organic rose and marinated tomatoes with burrata and bottarga. Everyone was in the water, glistening under the sun. Time lost its rigidity.
Food never tasted better. We soaked up its last juices with fluffy quinoa and wiped up oozing burrata with fragrant leaves of basil picked from our boat garden. Forks and spoons were put aside, because we had our hands. We were full and joyful from this land, from this sea, and we ate like an Italian family.
I watched my fellow sailors practice yoga from atop an ancient fortress we found along the way. A place we would call home for the night. And now with the sun setting over these warriors, I prepared vegetables for dinner feeling the full presence of my purpose for the week. Every day, as our guests studied yoga and meditation, I practised my own meditation through cooking — not knowing what dish would come next, but intuitively healing and understanding what our bodies were craving through conversation.
Some nights we stayed up like children, giggling and dancing out all of our energy. Then we would swim under the stars. floating on our backs. I’m present again with those memories forged, and so thankful to have shared my meditation with new family.
+ Looking to travel? Learn more about our FP Escapes here!
Photos by Stefan Wigand.
Vogue’s 125th anniversary + Free People = Coat Check Stories
For actress and writer Hailey Benton Gates, a venue’s coat check is more than just a place to hang clothes — it’s where you find out the secrets of the patrons inside. “The coat check is a profession ripe with strange encounters and one that is predominantly female,” Gates explains of her interest in that small closet by the entrance. “Why is it that we trust women to guard our precious things over men?”
To answer that question, Gates interviewed scores of real coat-check girls from all over New York City. Some were friends, others were strangers, but what these women had in common is they all had spent a significant amount of time handling the outerwear of the city’s finest clientele. “Director Danielle Katvan and I cast a wide net, so I still have people sending me coat-check stories,” Gates says. “There’s almost enough to make a documentary!”
For Vogue’s short film, Gates compiled stories from three of the women she interviewed. Alissa shared her memory of the night a famous director walked into the upscale Italian restaurant she worked in. “I won’t say who, but he may have directed a movie that rhymes with gulp diction,” she admits. Meanwhile, Rebecca revealed which customers are the ones who always lose their tickets and almost never tip. (Hint: It’s whom you’d least expect.) And Laura opened up about the time she gave a client the wrong jacket — a coat-check girl’s worst nightmare.
Gates plays the part of all three of these women, lip-syncing their taped stories while a rack of Free People’s coats circles around the closet of Gramercy Park’s National Arts Club. “We took a long time to pick a location,” Gates explains. “I really wanted one of those coat checks that has that dry-cleaner conveyer belt thing, but there are not very many of them.” Lucky for her, she found just the right setting for her video at the historic spot. “It was exciting for me because the National Arts Club is also home to the Newswomen’s Club of New York, of which I am a proud member.”
As for whether there were any stories too salacious to include in this short film, Gates remains coy. “There were many,” she says with a laugh. “One of my favorites concerned a young girl whose father ran a bar in the East Village. He had her running the coat check at the ripe old age of 11. Hilarity and strangeness ensued.” Only in New York.
+ Want to check out a jacket for yourself? Shop featured items here!
A look inside our last FP Escape of the summer…
This post comes from retreat guide and yogi, Maria Margolies.
Every retreat we take opens up a whole new world of opportunity. The opportunity to step out of our comfort zones. The opportunity to be adventurous and bold. To experience something fresh. Meet new people and learn from them. Connect with Mother Nature in ways we normally wouldn’t. Most importantly, it gives us the opportunity to slow down so we can pay more attention to what’s around us and inside us. To listen and feel, so we can drop deeper and become more intimate not only with ourselves but with one another. Ultimately, isn’t this what we are all searching for?
Glacier National Park blew me away in every way imaginable. From the striking contours of the landscape with its soaring mountain peaks and sharp edges to the never-ending stretches of evergreens and golden fields carpeting its valleys. Even the colors and texture of the earth and its stones commanded my attention and touch every step of the way. And of course the water… It was everywhere: frozen in time in the ancient but powerful glaciers, cascading powerfully in creeks and streams, floating above us silently in massive clouds or falling rhythmically as rain on the meadows and forests.
This Escape managed to combine all elements of awakening mind and spirit in a breathtaking setting to create a uniquely incredible and inspiring experience. A seamless immersion with nature incorporating beautifully prepared and delicious plant-based foods to nourish us, yoga to start our days, meditation to end them, hiking to discover hidden lakes, horseback riding to take in the scenery, DIY beauty by crystal blue water and paddleboarding to test our balance. All of this filled with many laughs and truly wonderful connections at every turn.
Thank you to the beautiful tribe of women that came. I feel so grateful and honored to have held space for you to grow, open up, and plant a little seed of change. There will be many more journeys to come! Stay tuned.
+ Want to learn more about our FP Escapes? Click here!
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For your listening pleasure — music to soothe all of you curious Virgos out there…
Perfectionist by nature, logical yet curious, our feminine energy seeks stability and harmony. We speak candidly, give endlessly and love genuinely, without reciprocation, due to our tough exterior. Our mental strength and independence is magnified by our work ethic and our dedication is driven by our overcritical opinion. Music seems to be the only thing louder than the voice inside our Virgo head, so turn up the volume and honor the goddess spirit inside your soul!
Curated by Rachel from the SoCal team!
Photo by Jana Kirn.
Our monthly home office wellness series turns within, as we talk all things Eat Pretty with Jolene Hart …
This post comes to you from Certified Health and Wellness Coach, Jolene Hart.
As a health coach and author, I help my readers and clients look and feel their best via the beautifying powers of food and self-care. Together we look beyond the surface of the skin, into the various ways we nourish our beauty — beginning with our meals and extending to mindset, movement, energy, sleep, and all of the unique needs of our individual bodies in each season. Beauty, as you’ve heard before, is so much more than skin deep, and I love watching my clients build a dynamic and very personal lifestyle of beauty that reflects that, supporting their lifelong beauty and wellbeing in the process.
I shared my approach to beauty with the Free People Home Office this month, amidst vases of wildflowers, linens hand-dyed to match the covers of my Eat Pretty book series, and an abundance of fresh lemons (one of my absolute favorite skin foods) for beauty food inspiration. A sunlit space, the glow of a summer afternoon, and a room filled with the magical creative energy of FP employees made this event so special!
Whenever I share my work, I also tell my personal story, almost a decade’s worth of skin issues, and my exhaustive search for a product, prescription, or treatment that would heal them. Not only did I make it my job to figure out why chronic eczema and cystic acne were taking over my skin, it actually was my job to give beauty advice, as I was working as a magazine beauty editor at the time. After several years spent seeking and testing promising skin treatments and services, my skin was unchanged. Desperate, I left my magazine post and used my journalist role to search for answers — delving into various fields of study including Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, genomics, aesthetics, dermatology, and integrative nutrition to learn more about our bodies and our skin. My own frustrating experience inspired my second career as a coach and my beauty nutrition-focused coaching practice Beauty Is Wellness, and that personal journey has kept me passionate about eating for beauty every day of my own life.
During my visit, I challenged the Free People staff to rethink their own approach to beauty, beginning with their meals and extending to the sources of energy in their lives that influence their own mindset, stress, and emotions. We named some of the qualities that describe a universally ‘beautiful’ person — vibrant, energetic, fresh, glowing — and I asked the group to use those qualities as a guide when choosing their own meals. The foods we eat break down to become our bodies on a molecular level, so choosing foods naturally high in energy, vibrancy, and freshness strongly adds to the visible beauty of our bodies, even as it supports optimal physical function.
I shared other qualities that are essential to keep in mind when choosing foods for beauty — qualities like seasonality, anti-inflammatory value, and color — and explained the vital role that blood sugar balance plays in achieving radiant, youthful skin, balanced hormones, good moods and your healthiest weight. One simple strategy that I believe all women should know to support their blood sugar balance is to eat a meal that satiates the body and provides slow-digesting energy. To achieve this, it’s ideal to include a combination of protein, healthy fats, and abundant vegetables on your plate every time you sit down to a meal. This illustration of an Eat Pretty plate, taken from my book Eat Pretty, Live Well, helps visualize what those foods might look like together.
Above all, I encouraged the FP team to listen closely to their bodies, by watching their skin as well as their energy, digestion, hormone balance, and stress levels, to find the foods and the habits that best support their beauty and body. We’re all uniquely made, so it’s important to recognize our own needs by seeing and feeling those telling manifestations in our bodies. I’ve found, as have so many of my readers and clients, that building a lifestyle that supports your beauty from the inside out not only helps you look and feel your best, it teaches you so much about your body in the process.
So many thanks to the amazing FP staff for inviting me to share this message, and for providing so much creative inspiration as always!
+ Want to learn more from Jolene Hart? Check out these articles here and start your journey to healthy living today!
Photo by Magdalena Fountoukidis.
Get a glimpse inside the breathtaking campground, home to our August FP Escapes retreat…
Where peaks touch sky, glaciers move earth, waterfalls carve rock, and wildlife roam free… Welcome to Glacier Under Canvas, and home to our August FP Escapes retreat. Glacier Under Canvas takes camping to a whole new level, with luxury tents and endless mountain views giving you the opportunity to camp without ditching the comforts of home. Still not convinced to join us this August? Read below our conversation with Crystal McDonald from the Under Canvas team to help make the trip to Montana that much more desirable.
We love your mission statement, “To enrich lives by enabling people to share experiences in the outdoors in comfort and style.” Could you tell us a little more on how Under Canvas continues bring this mission to life.
Being outdoors definitely inspires, restores and connects people! Adventuring in the wild doesn’t come easy for everyone, but experiencing the outdoors also doesn’t have to mean “roughing it.” We provide unforgettable experiences and believe that immersing yourself in nature strengthens relationships and fosters environmental consciousness. Not to mention it allows you to decompress from the daily demands of being so connected!
Can you share with us some of the things that Glacier Under Canvas guests would be privy to: tours/activities/etc.?
We offer many fun activities that our guests can enjoy, like whitewater rafting and canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, horseback riding, guided backcountry tours to Glacier Lake, even cowboy cookouts. Did I also mention Llama Trekking? How cool is that!? The park is nearly one million acres in size, so the list is virtually endless. You might even spot some cute bear cubs!
Under Canvas has a few other locations. Where are they located?
It’s so hard to pick a favorite because they’re all so fabulous! Next month we are opening Under Canvas Zion, and our team has some really special things in the works! I hear there’s going to be an amazing lobby tent with a fire pit and trees inside, a campfire-inspired restaurant AND a huge yoga platform with a meditation area! Each location is totally unique and incredible in its own way — but you guys already know that because you’ve visited our camps in Yellowstone and Moab! Here’s some other exciting news too — we have more new locations rolling out in 2018, including Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
5 words that capture the essence of Glacier Under Canvas?
Adventure, relax, escape, inspire, discover.
Giving back is a huge part of who Under Canvas is. The months of May & June are blocked off specifically for hosting charitable camps. Could you tell us more about this?
Yes, giving back is at the core of who we are! We love sharing the gift of nature and we support organizations who work in partnership to offer that experience to children, youth and the disadvantaged. Before our Glacier location opens each season, we host charitable camps and help provide the ultimate experience in the great outdoors — and when it comes to sleeping in a safari tent there is never a lack of excitement (or late-night laughter)!
Our mission to bridge society to the great outdoors is a priority. Organizations can always contact us for more information!
If Glacier Under Canvas had (or has) a spirit animal, what would it be?
A bear! They are wild and powerful creatures, yet beautiful and graceful. And nothing says adventure like a bear!
What does the word free mean to you?
Not having a care in the world. But more importantly, being confident and truly comfortable with yourself!
+ Join us in Glacier National Park this August! Book here today!!
Want to learn more about our Glacier National Park Escape? Meet and stay up to date with our yoga teacher and holistic health coach, Maria, who will be joining us in Glacier NP!
With six million acres in wild land, Denali National Park is worth the trek to the Last Frontier…
Growing up in Alaska, Denali National Park holds a special place in my heart. Its seemingly endless acreage is home to the largest peak in North America, sitting over 20,000 feet above sea level and named ‘big mountain’, or Denali, by my Athabaskan people. Long before I was born, my own father even summited this beautiful beast during a mountaineering expedition in the late 70s. Needless to say, I was pretty lucky to grow up under such a mighty force. Denali stands alone from other national parks as it has a sole road that runs throughout the whole park, a majority of which can only be accessed by designated park buses. This vast and wild land offers lively wildlife, historic glaciers, and peaks whose dominance beckon its visitors to acknowledge the immense power of the Earth. Check out my guide below:
Byers Lake Cabins — This is my favorite hidden gem, located about 90 miles south of the Denali National Park entrance. An amazing weekend getaway if you’re looking to spend some time in the great outdoors without fully committing to tent camping. There are three cabins located on Byers Lake, all easily accessible via a one-mile hike or a three-mile kayak trip across the lake. These cabins may rest on the outer limits of your Denali adventure but provide quiet nights, lake access and stunning views of Denali. Each cabin sleeps six and is close enough to be able to visit Talkeetna after your park visit.
Wonder Lake Campground — There are six campgrounds located inside the national park, each different from the last and each offering a more intense version of an off-the-grid experience are you head deeper inward. Wonder Lake is one of the six and furthest from the park’s entrance, 85 miles to be exact, and can only be accessed in the summer months. The campground is also the closest to Denali Mountain…with 26 miles standing between you and the base. Open to tent-only camping and also guaranteed bear sightings, this otherworldly location to lay your head at night is not for the faint of heart.
Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge — Ok, ok so I know not all of us are ready to sleep on the Earth’s floor, let alone kayak for three miles just to drop off your pack. If this is you, however, Princess Lodges are where it’s at. Be warned — this is tourist-central and khaki shorts and selfie-sticks will be spotted. All that aside this lodge is beyond stunning and is located right outside the park’s entrance in the small town of Nenana Canyon. The lodge will set you up with guided hikes, whitewater rafting, which make adventuring Denali National Park effortless.
Prospectors Pizzeria & Alehouse — There are quite a few options within the mini “strip” of Nenana Canyon, from ice cream shops to killer Thai food. But nothing quite beats a hearty slice of pizza and cold beer after a long day of hiking and soaking in the fresh air. Prospectors Pizzeria is a must-stop for locals and tourists alike.
I’ve come to accept, with the 6 million acres of land Denali National Park has to offer, “seeing it all” is quite daunting and unrealistic. So, to make your life a bit easier, I’ve provided some of my favorite spots to see if you have just a few days to explore. Of course, if you have a week, a month, a summer!! TAKE IT, as every day in the park will provide you with a different view, another wild animal and endless gratitude for this beautiful life we get to live.
One full day:
Savage River Loop Trail — This is a perfect, easy day hike for all levels. The trail is located at mile 15 and is actually the furthest point to you are allowed a private vehicle within the park. This trail provides parking for both RV’s and cars, and is a 1.7 mile loop that runs along the Savage River.
Sled Dog Kennels — Yes, sled dogs!! You will see signs throughout the entrance to “slow down for sled dogs” or “sled dogs exercising”. Nothing gets more Alaskan than that! Located three miles from the park entrance, the sled dog kennels are open year-round to visitors. No parking is available here, so please plan on using the buses or walking the 1.5 miles from the Denali Visitor Center to the kennels. Demonstrations are given three times daily in peak season — be sure to check out more on sled dogs demonstrations here!
Wild Life Viewing — The wild animals of Alaska can be seen through out the park no matter the location or time of day. Yet there are certain animals for certain locations — check out the National Park’s guide for viewing here!
Bus Tours — As the park is sprawling, with only 15 miles of its sole road accessible by private vehicle, a bus tour is the best way to get the most out of a one-day adventure. The park offers narrated and non-narrated tours that include history lessons for the full 95 miles of park road.
The previous four points of interest plus…
McKinley (River) Bar Trail — leading from Wonder Lake Campground to the McKinley River. It is 2.5 miles one way, with negligible elevation gain. The trail travels through spruce forest and past several small ponds, offering chance to see water fowl and terrain which differs from much of the park. It is plagued most of the summer by mosquitoes, so bring a head net.
Kantishna Experience– This is a full day (12-hour) adventure that travels the full length of Denali’s park road to the old gold town of Kantishna. Lunch and snacks are provided as you drive into the history and and role that this interior town has to offer.
Mount Healy Overlook Trail — Unlike other trails in the park, Mount Healy overlook is not a loop and provides a rugged terrain for those looking for incredible views. A little over five miles round-trip, this is one of Denali’s steepest, gaining about 1,700 feet in elevation.
Seeing a wild animal in the backcountry can be an incredible experience. But knowing how to behave in an encounter scenario might make all the difference. Whether it’s a moose, a bear or smaller animal, be prepared to react accordingly.
Make noise in areas of low visibility.
Stay 300 yards away from any bear.
Stay at least 25 yards from a moose.
If a wild animal changes its behavior because of you, you’re too close.
+ Have a favorite Denali adventure to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.
Learn more about our partnership with the National Park Foundation here!
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