Soho Pop-In: Ruby Warrington’s Aries Full Moon Workshop

Soho Pop-In: Ruby Warrington’s Aries Full Moon Workshop

Don’t miss your chance to learn more about this month’s full moon and how to selfishly navigate it to your advantage…courtesy of The Numinous’ Ruby Warrington!

In my book Material Girl, Mystical World, I talk about learning to cultivate a sense of healthy “higher selfishness.” That is, knowing when to put your own needs first for the highest good of all involved in any given situation.

Maybe it means saying “no” to bottomless mimosas at brunch Sunday when you want to be on your A-game at work the next day. Even when it’s your BFFs b’day and you know she’ll be offended that you “prioritized” work over her. Perhaps it means asking your Mom for a plant-based option at Thanksgiving. Or skipping the annual family drama fest altogether this year, and booking yourself on a silent meditation retreat.

And well, this week’s Aries Full Moon is an invitation to get super (higher) selfish, and really tap into what it is YOU want. In your deepest of hearts, in an ideal world, and if other people’s needs and opinions really didn’t matter. (Hint: this week, they really don’t). 

This Full Moon is opposite the Sun in Libra, sign of balanced negotiations and rational decision making. The message? When it comes to making the most aligned choices, and finding yourself in the healthiest relationships, a solid sense of SELF is a basic requirement. Until you can finish the sentence “I am … ” with confidence, there’s no point even trying to be anything to anyone else.

The October 5 Full Moon also closes a cycle kicked off by the corresponding March 28 Aries New Moon. Look back at your diary and see what was swirling then, and reconnect to what you were cultivating on a personal level. Can you see echoes of these situations asking to be revisited this week? Feeling deeper into this process will help you close out this chapter with the focus on YOUR personal growth. And to move swiftly forward on YOUR unique path.

Thanks to shady Pluto throwing some weight around at this Full Moon, the skies are also aligned to help you transform something you thought was fundamental to your being this week. The way through this portal? (Which might feel just a little edgy btw!) Be fearless. Take action. Start something that matters to YOU.

That way, when we reach the October 19 Libra New Moon, you’ll be ready to say YES to an exciting new collaboration or relationship that presents itself, knowing precisely what you are bringing to the table.

For some extra inspiration, use the below areas for self-enquiry as journal prompts to kick-start your intuition process. Read for both your Sun and Rising sign to get the fullest picture.

ARIES :: ARIES RISING

I feel most powerful when I…

Always acting from this place feels…

TAURUS :: TAURUS RISING

The spiritual practice I feel most called to is…

When connected to a higher power I am able to…

GEMINI :: GEMINI RISING

The people who most inspire me are…

I feel most confident in group situations when I…

CANCER :: CANCER RISING

If I spoke up more at work I could…

I feel most like a boss when I…

LEO :: LEO RISING

I am ready to learn more about…

One day I would like to teach…

VIRGO :: VIRGO RISING

The step I am most afraid to take is…

Moving beyond this will free me to…

LIBRA :: LIBRA RISING

My most empowering partnership is…

What I bring to this relationship is…

SCORPIO :: SCORPIO RISING

The biggest challenge to my own wellbeing is…

Feeling healthy and strong means I can…

SAGITTARIUS :: SAGITTARIUS RISING

I feel most creative when I…

The thing I would like to be famous for is…

CAPRICORN :: CAPRICORN RISING

My deepest emotional needs are…

Feeling emotionally secure allows me to…

AQUARIUS :: AQUARIUS RISING

I communicate most clearly when I feel…

I am ready to start a discussion about…

PISCES :: PISCES RISING

My skill that is of most value in the world is …

I feel most confident in my abilities when I …

Ruby Warrington is founder of cosmic lifestyle site The Numinous, and author of Material Girl, Mystical World: TheNow Age Guide to a High Vibe Life.

+ Sign up for Ruby’s 10/4 class at our Soho wellness pop-up here.

Free People Blog

Sophie Jaffe Shares Her Life’s Philosophie

Sophie Jaffe Shares Her Life’s Philosophie

Making her next appearance at our Santa Monica wellness pop-up on 9/20, wellness guru Sophie Jaffe took a few minutes to share with us — and you — just what makes her tick…

There are go-getters, and then there are GO-GETTERS. Pretty safe to say that Sophie Jaffe falls in the latter category. Yogi, mom of 2, raw food chef, health and wellness expert, founder of superfood brand Philosophie…we’re lucky enough to be working with her in Santa Monica this fall. If you’re in the area, stop and consider if your existing plans might want to be put on a brief hold?
Your astrological sign:
 Taurus moon, Taurus sun, Virgo rising (Earth mama!!!).
Your spirit animal is:
My son, Leo the Lion.
You are a yogi, raw food chef, healer, health coach, mother. What can you NOT do? 
 
We can all do anything we want. Truly. We are all standing in our own way because we think we have to do something perfectly or “right”. There is no right. There is just showing up and doing.
Best piece of advice you ever got.
Learning the word “no.” Saying “no” to others is actually oftentimes saying “yes” to yourself.
Worst piece of advice you ever got.
I get all sorts of unsolicited advice from other mothers. They loveeeee to share their two cents even when it isn’t asked for. 😉
Go-to superfood.
My berry bliss blend. It’s packed with vitamin C so it works on supporting and strengthening our immune systems while helping our skin glow from the inside out. I add it to smoothies, juice, oats, yogurt and just about anything else.
Your upcoming workshop in Santa Monica is all about the new moon. What do we as women need to know?
As women, we are all affected by the moon and her shifts. The new moon is a time to start fresh, set new intentions for the month ahead, connect inward and check in with our shadowy side. This is a time to journal, take long baths, meditate, rest and cleanse. Solo time is necessary.
 
What should we be learning from this experience?
It’s completely normal to feel more emotional around the new moon. It’s vital to connect with other women to be truly “seen” and felt, and that we are always supported and held by our sisters, even if we don’t always see it or feel it.
 
Your favorite crystal and why:
 
Citrine is so beautiful. It also manifests abundance and brings energies of generosity so that prosperity and success is shared. Citrine is a solar plexus chakra stone used metaphysically to increase, magnify and clarify personal power and energy.
 
What does free mean to you?
Free means expressing myself and living without restrictions — mentally or physically — so that I can feel open, vulnerable and fully connected. Free is a state of mind and I can get there as long as I’m focused on the moment, not future-tripping or living in the past.
+  Follow Sophie on IG!

Free People Blog

Good News to Make You Feel Good, Week of 9/4/17

Good News to Make You Feel Good, Week of 9/4/17

Your healthy dose of feel-good current events in pop culture, fashion, travel, science, and everything in between…

Throw on a celebratory second layer to honor the nip in the air as our newest round of carefree weekly updates arrives, delivering the opportuuunity to chill out and deeply breathe in that soon-to-be-Saturday scent of easy times that lie so very directly ahead.

Take the chance to unapologetically recline, perhaps in a marshmallow-meets-cashmere airy robe, and lounge with some harmless (yet fascinating) stories that have been selected to give you some clickable, likeable current events that are finally worth sharing with your favorites.

Peruse, ponder, audibly “awww,” lol a little, and enjoy the good news you might have missed:

Thanks to New York City’s transit system for bringing us the kind of romance MetroCards were made for: Back in 2003, Osvaldo Jimenez caught sight of Kara Mullins while they shared a late-night ride on an M14D bus. “Sometimes, we don’t pay attention to the heartbeat of the city and the things around us,” says Jimenez of couple’s chance encounter. “I liked her style, and the first thought that passed through my head was that if I ever get married, I want to get married to a girl like that.” Thirteen years later, the two tied the knot in the perfect venue — hosting an 80-person ceremony on the same public bus.

Those of us wondering what the Broad City babes are up to whilst searching for any trace of a new season to fuel those “this is so us” city life lols can rest assured that they’ve been keeping busy. Watch their visionary pitch for Rough Ruff, a cutting-edge reality show about three best friends that open a coffee shop. Jacobson builds suspense with the mind-bending teaser: “Imagine yourself… in a world… where DOGS run the show…”

If catching a wave of shimmering, glowing sea creatures is on your bucket list of life adventures, you may be living your fantasy even sooner than you think, according to recent research. “People think bioluminescence is some kind of exotic characteristic, even oceanographers don’t realize that it’s common,” says Séverine Martini, a marine biologist whose study on beaming sea creatures was published this year. Among ocean-dwellers that you can see with the naked eye, those that glow actually outnumber the unlit, with a stunning 76% behaving as ethereal underwater night lights.

Paying homage to the guardians of our outer garments, Vogue teams up with actress and writer Hailey Benton Gates for the short film “What Happens In Coat Check Stays In Coat Check.” Its candid cassette tape interviews of New York’s real-life coat check girls reveal close encounters with eccentric patrons and super-tipping celebs, the latter of which one seasoned vet alludes to mysteriously as: “I won’t say who, but he may have directed a movie that rhymes with gulp diction…”

This futuristic yarn is the next powermove in voltaic breakthroughs, with its battery-free ability to create its own electricity by harvesting mechanical energy. Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas found that when sewn into a t-shirt, just the act of breathing produces a charge as it twists and stretches. Made even more powerful by a dash of salt, the tiny wonder brings new promise to using the ocean’s natural waves for clean energy.

For Twin Peaks fanatics, the Roadhouse-staged performances during The Return’s closing scenes provided a welcome dose of moody, oft synth-infused melodies. Once you’ve repeated Lynch’s finale episodes to the point of memorization, take a spin through this guide to all of the bands from the season, from electro-pop dreamers like Chromatics to the aviator and leather-clad icons of Nine Inch Nails.

The old-school stick-to-your-trade phrase “no one likes a moonlighter” may finally have been proven untrue. New research shows that people who spend time on hobbies and passion projects not only benefit by generating new ideas more fluidly, but are happier, harder working, and more productive than those who don’t have a creative outlet. The forever-cool skill that provided the most far-reaching benefits? Learning to play an instrument.

East coast/west coast memories unite with the work of legendary hip-hop photographer Chi Modu, who snapped everyone from Tupac, Wu-Tang, NWA, Mobb Deep and Nas over the years. Modu steps into the studio to recount his untold stories of the scene, including a 90’s encounter with a sleep-deprived Biggie taking a nap.

Like a scene from the produce section of your dreams, 84-year-old Mary Grams was reunited with her lost engagement ring after more than a decade when her daughter-in-law took the liberty to weed the garden on her family farm. Upon taking a closer look at a misshapen carrot, she noticed that the lucky root had grown through the center of the buried treasure — fully begging for anyyyyy number of 24-Carrot puns.

Coming to the rescue in Texas, “flying cowboy” Ryan Ashcraft has made it his mission to herd cattle stranded by Harvey’s floods with the help of a helicopter and his “strong little booger” friend John Fitzgerald. Facing everything from fire ants to a pair of alligators on their quest, the duo has been flying from dawn to dusk attempting to save trapped animals and respond to the stream of requests for help from neighbors and local ranchers. Over 80 makeshift shelters have been set up across the state to house thousands of displaced horses, cattle, sheep, and domestic pets in parking lots and fairgrounds offering free hay, fresh water, and provisions for the four-legged refugees.

 

Free People Blog

Love in Action

Love in Action

Adopt a healthy and productive way to channel your emotion into action that moves you FORWARD…

This post comes to you from our dear friend and yogi, Nina Endrst.

Change is a constant – this is a beautiful, painful and consistent truth. Existing in the world today feels, to me, like a rollercoaster of highs and lows. Some days are so sweet and I find myself soaking in the brightest of sunny days, others bring me to my knees – to a darker place with my head in my hands. As a conscious human being and teacher, I am constantly trying to figure out what I can DO to make a difference. Yes, mindful discussion is a vital part of growth but at some point we have to get off our asses and act.

My work lately has been trying to focus less on the anger I am feeling surrounding the gross injustice that still exists every day in our “modern” world and more on putting love into action. Anger is not a dirty word/emotion. I do not believe we should suppress our anger or worse, ignore it – I believe we should feel all the feelings and find a healthy and productive way to channel them into action that moves us FORWARD. I hope these practices encourage you to act from a place of love and acceptance.

Stay woke!

I know and can relate to the fact that being surrounded by beauty is way more appealing then facing an ugly truth or circumstance. It’s also common to avoid that which is deeply painful or doesn’t directly impact us and our loved ones. We have to do better. We all have a responsibility not only to stay awake and aware of our surroundings but to actively participate in making our world a better place. If not you, who? If not now, when?

Action: Take an honest look at yourself and your community. What is going on close to home? How can you be of service? This will look different for everyone – maybe this means volunteering for a specific cause close to your heart or perhaps you are a strong communicator and your efforts can be put into fundraising. We all have different strengths — put yours to good use.

What about your friends?

Who do you spend most of your time with? What are you talking about when you’re together? It’s important to have fun and enjoy life as much as possible – it’s equally important to challenge and empower each other to be our best selves. That’s what friends are for.

Action: Instead of another night at the bar or getting together to scroll through Instagram – let’s raise the vibration. Suggest an alternative activity to a friend or take the lead! Start a weekly or monthly, mindful meet-up with your friends; make phone calls to support or defend a cause, explore tarot cards, meditation, go on a hike, or head to a yoga class and ask each other thoughtful questions after. Let’s all dig a little deeper and support each other. <3

Lead image by Mitchell Hoffmaster.

Free People Blog

Soho Pop-Up: September Sign-Ups Are Here!

Soho Pop-Up: September Sign-Ups Are Here!

New month, new you via our Soho pop-up…

Head to the bottom of this page to RSVP. Refer to the below calendar and opt in for the class best suited to you and what you’re craving. If you’re experiencing any difficulty in signing up, it may be that both the particular class and waitlist are at capacity! You must select the “sign up” button in order to secure your spot — this button will appear only next to open classes!

Tune In Tuesdays:

Relax and rejuvenate with a gong bath workshop by Jennifer Drue.

Wellness Wednesdays:

Full Moon Ritual workshop with our friend, Ruby Warrington, from The Numinous!

Achieve natural beauty through the use of herbs and rituals in our Radical Radiance workshop with Maria Margolies .

Tap into and hone your intuition at Tarot 101 with Maha Rose.

Honor your body with a Fall Seasonal Eating Guide by Raj Barker.

Fitness Fridays:

Every Friday this month, spend $100 in-store and receive a FREE class pass to Shadowbox!

Savasana Saturdays: 

Full Body Workout Class with Shadowbox!

Flow Yoga with Raj Barker: A yoga practice suitable for all levels involving flowing movements with breath awareness, a sip of restorative at the end and sealed off with a meditation.

Savasana Sundays: 

Full Body Workout Class with Shadowbox!

A few things to note: 

All classes are by appointment, so they must be booked using the below MindBody sign-up tool.

Please arrive within 10 minutes of start time to keep your spot for all events.

Free People Blog

FP x Girls Inc. Talk Careers

FP x Girls Inc. Talk Careers

As part of our year-long partnership with the incredibly impactful Girls Inc., 16 young women visited home office in hopes of learning more about our industry, and setting their sights on a gratifying future…

The second of our collaborative career exploration workshops presented an opportunity to learn firsthand about the many career paths within our industry, and highlight what many of us know to be true: sometimes it’s the hard roads that take you to the very place where you’re meant to be. Below, some thoughts from a few of our guests.

Thank you for coming by — we support you every step of the way to your beautiful and confident future selves!

Safiyyah: They taught me that it doesn’t always matter where you start your journey, it’s where you end, and that all those experiences and skills picked up along the way will help in some way, someday. You never know who you might meet or what you might learn.

I do think going to this workshop helped me realize that I may think I know what I want to do in the future now, but it might not be what I think later. Also, that in some point in time, I will have a lot of obstacles taking me off course, but I just need to be ready to deal with the changes and make the best out of them.

Kayla: What Free People taught me about making my dreams come true is that I must go through all the different steps as far as getting to where I have to be and there will be tough times where you think you can’t do something and free people encouraged me to still go forward to make it to the position I want to be in.

And they encouraged me that I can get through anything if I try harder.

Jayda: I always wanted to be either a fashion designer or a model and they proved to me that you can do and be anything in life — you just have to put your head in it and strive harder. They really inspired me, and now I know that the 3 careers I want to work in are fashion, nursing, and journalism.

Destiny: Free People taught me that when you work hard, you can achieve anything. After the workshop, it made me want to try new things.

Nyla: This trip taught me that you can have fun when working towards your dreams.

Chloe: At first, I wanted to be a music producer. But I was thinking how it would be cool to work there. As a stylist.

+ Take some time to get to know Girls Inc. and the incredible work they do. XO

Free People Blog

3 Things to Do Today

3 Things to Do Today

To break my Sunday cycle, I started off by telling myself this: You are a beautiful, hard-working, selfless being, and you deserve this time. Treat yourself.

So I did. Three things, every Sunday, for myself. I’m sharing them to give y’all some ideas, and hopefully inspire you to take a day off — completely — and cater to your needs. Follow along with this series if you feel like your “you” time is missing.

Visit a farm.

I spent half of my childhood running around my Aunt and Uncle’s farm. Summertime meant corn stalks above my head, fresh honeysuckle by the creek, and picking my supper straight from the back garden. Visiting a farm is nostalgic to me, but could be a new adventure for you. Look up local farms, and I’m sure they would love a visit from you. Snip fresh herbs from their fields, grab a basket of juicy peaches, and absorb that homegrown feeling.

DIY.

It’s easy to build a long list of DIY’s that you want to try, and never get to them. I challenge you to complete one today. I’ve been creating nature preserves out of forged flowers, leafs, sticks, and nests. Whenever I go on a hike, I collect these gems, dry them out, and frame them. Each one has a little note scribbled throughout with a memory from that day. I always feel super accomplished when I finish one.

Find a drive-in.

I really can’t think of anything more romantic and magical. My boyfriend and I packed up the truck last Sunday and headed to the Drive In. Finish today off with a movie under the stars. What to pack? I suggest lots of blankets, a big vegan cheesy pizza, and something refreshing to sip on. Favorite Drive In Tip: wear pajamas 🙂

I’m challenging you to clear your schedule today and do 3 things for yourself. You work your butt off, and deserve some time for yourself. If you try this out, let me know how it went, and if you feel rested and rejuvenated, let’s keep this up.

+ Follow FP Madisyn on Instagram + take a peek at her blog!

Free People Blog

The As Yet Uncharted Territory of My Heart

The As Yet Uncharted Territory of My Heart

Bethany Toews‘ exquisite take on navigating through our parks, and how such treks mirror the unfolding roads of our relationships…

13 days. 3,977 miles. 8 states. Enough miles and minutes to see deeper, truer. Perspective gained. High highs and low lows. Elation and frustration. Elevation change. Voices raised and then lowered as the scenery morphs. Camp sights and smelly motels. Nice hotels. Lots and lots of Dairy Queen Blizzards melting in the summer sun.
Long. Awkward. Silence. . . Laughter. Communicating logistics and obstacles, hopes and fears, and the need for a bathroom break. Winding up and breaking down. Being witness to all the emotion that only motion can draw out.
Travel shows us who we are, what we value, and what we long for. Traveling with others can strip away the excess, the niceties, the added padding we put on so many of our proclamations. The open road and confined spaces have a special way of exposing still-tender wounds and forgotten scars. Old memories are remembered as new ones are being made. No adventure comes without its fair share of heartache. No journey is complete without surrendering what was for what is becoming.
When I set out on this epic adventure, I knew I was heading into unknown territory. Not geographically speaking. I had been to pretty much every place we had mapped out for our grand loop through the Western United States. I knew I was about to head into an as yet uncharted territory of my heart. I was going to venture into the mysterious terrain of shared space with a 39-year-old man and his 8-year-old son. I knew I would not return to my home the same. I knew we would all come back with lessons and opinions and feelings that would remain long after the car was parked back where it began. For better or worse…
The last 15 minutes of our long journey ended with us all in laughter, delighting in a shared joke. This is important. There was plenty of time on this trip when I thought I couldn’t go another mile drowning in the annoyance, or the isolation, or the silence. There were days when I looked at them and thought how strange it was to find myself an intruder in their well-established belonging to each other. And then there was the night on Orcas Island, when the 3 of us curled into our sleeping bags in our shared tent, giggling and breathing together, still learning each other, but silently aware that we were slipping into something familiar, something familial. A new kind of family. Something that is complicated but powerful in its realness. Something that takes a lot of time, patience, creativity, surrender, forgiveness, flexibility, humor, and ultimately love to grow. Something that will require newer and truer parts of you to come forth. Hopefully the bigger and better parts, but most likely something in between.
When you realize what you want, you might be surprised to find it looks nothing like what you thought it would. I never thought I would fall for a man with a child that wasn’t my own. I never thought I’d need to learn the tricky territory of loving and leaving space with someone that you know will never see you as their mother, and yet, will hopefully over time see you as an important source of love and support in his/her life. I never thought I’d be sitting in the passenger seat reading the I Survived series out loud to an enthusiastic boy in the backseat. At first rolling my eyes at the juvenile language and then being moved to tears. The simple language of the stories of sinking ships and shark attacks drawing out how complicated love can feel. How hard it is to stay open and soft when we’re all scared of being hurt. I never thought I’d feel the tender and complex love for a mother who was navigating her own feelings as she had to accept her child was growing to feel comfortable with another woman.
It’s scary. I don’t want to overstep any boundaries. I don’t want to do more than is wanted or welcome. I don’t want to threaten anyone, or take away. But I do want to honor the truth of who I am. I want to be allowed to love more each day. To impart wisdom or guidance where it is needed. When possible, to make life a little lighter, more beautiful, more secure. To honor the wishes of my partner, who is a wonderful father, while also believing that I have something to offer. Some new ways of seeing, of being. Some new ways of being good to and for each other.
On the road, we were stuck with each other, quite literally. Perhaps that is what raises the stakes. This movie trailer for what is your unfolding life. The road that stretches ahead becoming a metaphor for the bigger commitment you are making to each other. The ways you are forced to depend and negotiate and compromise. The way you have to stay in the tent in the middle of the night in Montana, no matter how much part of you may want to run away. The way you fall asleep hurt and wake to feeling another’s breath on your face. The way it softens your desire to leave and imparts in you a primal need to stay.
I couldn’t have known how 2 weeks on the road would make me feel. That’s why I was nervous the morning we set out. That’s why I stayed nervous, when we went to Portland to stay with his his ex-girlfriend, his first love, his now dear friend. But she was lovely, and the more I challenged myself to keep my heart open, the better it felt. And then visiting my family in North Idaho. Worrying how it would go. Melting into a puddle when it went so much better than I could have hoped. Feeling almost confused at how immediately comfortable it felt. How everyone settled into each other. How in the midst of my history, I could see a future unfolding, and how right that felt.
We have the measure of days and miles that we traveled, but there is no way to quantify what was gained. What was surrendered. What memories etched their way into our minds and how differently those memories will be remembered in future moments of our lives, together or apart. For now I am trying to keep it simple. For now I am trying to gratefully and graciously take my time. Offer what I have and who I am. Try not to ask for more than is gratefully and graciously given. And to trust that we come into each other’s lives for a reason. And if we meet with open hearts and open minds, wherever the road may take us, we will discover more truth and love and beauty along the way. And if that’s not the point to all of this, then I don’t really know what is.
Photos by James Adolphus. Follow Bethany on Instagram.

Free People Blog

Soho Pop-Up: August Sign-Ups Are Here!

Soho Pop-Up: August Sign-Ups Are Here!

Keep your wellness game going strong via our Soho pop-up…

Head to the bottom of this page to RSVP. Refer to the below calendar and opt in for the class best suited to you and what you’re craving. If you’re experiencing any difficulty in signing up, it may be that both the particular class and waitlist are at capacity! You must select the “sign up” button in order to secure your spot — this button will appear only next to open classes!

Tune In Tuesday:

Relax and rejuvenate with a gong bath workshop by Jennifer Drue

Wellness Wednesday:

Heal with crystals courtesy of Maha Rose

Or consider a Full Moon Ritual workshop with our friend, Ruby Warrington from The Numinous!

Awaken your spirit and chakras with Diana Paschal

Embrace your green thumb, and learn how to be a houseplant ninja with Summer Rayne Oakes of Homestead Brooklyn

There’s also a Moon Wisdom workshop with Laura Patterson of Soul Centered Self

Fitness Friday:

Every Friday this month, spend $100 in-store and receive a FREE class voucher to Soul Cycle!

Savasana Saturday: 

Immerse yourself in a vinyasa yoga class with instructor Augie Schiano

A few things to note: 

All classes are by appointment, so they must be booked using the below MindBody sign-up tool.

Please arrive within 10 minutes of start time to keep your spot for all events.

 

Free People Blog

Keeping it Clean with Eddie Mitsou, Part 3

Keeping it Clean with Eddie Mitsou, Part 3

 I felt slightly confused and my future was unsure…

This is the 3rd post in a series from model and friend, Eddie Mitsou Pettersson.

I was living in Istanbul when I turned 19. It was modeling that brought me there…not because the Turkish market is the best for a blonde Swede but, at that time I had few options. During Christmas holiday, most fashion capitals slow down for obvious reasons. My dream was to move to New York but I was so ready to get out of my hometown that I told my agency to send me anywhere, even as a pit stop. So Istanbul it was…

And what a magical city! The Turkish food culture quickly sucked me in — its bounty of fresh local produce inspired me to eat healthy and clean: tahini, dried figs, amazing hummus and grilled vegetables, so much better than I would have expected. It was the first time I had to take care of myself, i.e. making breakfast, lunch and dinner. Luckily, I really liked it — experimenting in the kitchen was new to me and quickly became a hobby. It was a good way to relax after a long day of meeting client after client after client…

My weekdays consisted of shooting editorials and hitting up endless castings. When the weekends rolled in, there were always big dinner parties and shredding at clubs. And so, there were many pre-game drinking competitions being held in our little model flat.

I enjoyed it at the time, but realized it wasn’t propelling me in a good direction. My destructive weekend behavior forced me to press the restart button every Sunday night. I was eating clean, going to the gym on my working days, but my free time was filled with liquor and chocolate bars and Turkish cheese pastries. Oh, the suffering of the morning afters. (Or let me say afternoon, because I rarely woke up before 1pm).

The hard work I was putting in at the gym was really for nothing. I missed out on much of Istanbul’s historical and cultural beauty, too, because most time off was spent in a rusty bunk bed, ice pack on my sweaty forehead. 

One sunny December day, as I was walking around Hagia Sophia, I made the decision. I was going to stay sober, be healthy and 100% vegan (no space for cheese pastries here!) until I made it to New York. What was it worth, to be so good 5 days a week and then ruining it on the last 2. Funnily enough, my walk was in the early morning because I had skipped a promoter’s dinner the night before. How good it felt to walk around in the sun with a clean head!

To be honest, I felt slightly confused — my thoughts were spinning and I didn’t know exactly what I was doing, but I felt that a sober, ultra-clean detox was what I needed. With Jim Morrison’s sexy smoky voice in my ears I sat down with a salted sesame tahini cookie and created a list. A list of what I needed to do in order to make it to NYC and what strategy would look like. His words echoed in my head:

 You’re lost little girl 

You’re lost little girl 

You’re lost 

Tell me who 

Are you? 

 I think that you know what to do 

Impossible? Yes, but it’s true 

I think that you know what to do, yeah 

I’m sure that you know what to do

I saw even more of the city then ever before. I moved out of the model apartment (the norm) and discovered the streets and bars and restaurants and people of Istanbul (the freedom) by myself. I wasn’t a lost little girl any more — I was a focused young woman, now with a goal in sight. My local fruit store salesman taught me more about the importance of a joyful life than any Russian model friend ever had. 

 

+ Check back next week for part four from Eddie, and be sure to read the start of her journey here!  

Photos by Jana Kirn.

Free People Blog