Wellness Quickie: Goodwell + Co.

Wellness Quickie: Goodwell + Co.

“Just like organic farming is better and more nutritious for people’s health, our toothbrush is better for your wellness and personal impact on the environment…”

Brushing your teeth is often a mindless act — something you do when you’re in semi-conscious state, either half-awake or half-asleep. But this small, seemingly mundane part of your daily routine can have a major impact on the environment. Just consider the Great Pacific Garbage Patch , a large floating island of plastic waste that’s drifting in the oceans north and south of the equator, and made up of non-biodegradable items — like your toothbrush. This eco-revelation and others inspired Patrick Goodwell and Aaron Feiger to launch Goodwell + Co, a sustainable oral care company that’s all about creating products that won’t clog and pollute the earth. Here, Patrick talks about disrupting the act of brushing up, one activated-charcoal toothbrush at a time.

You graduated with a degree in product design and mechanical engineering. How did that lead to launching a sustainable startup?

The “aha” moment was when I came back from a work trip for my previous employer. I was overseas working on a consumer electronic product, thinking to myself, “Is this the legacy I want to leave? Why is consumerism and manufacturing so wasteful? What products to people use every day that could make a big impact?” The rest is history.

You’ve developed a loyal following for your Bamboo + Binchotan brushes. What’s so unique about them?

When most people look at the brush, they always mention the black bristles, not really understanding that the black bristles are that way to serve a function, not a decoration. The bristles are blended with activated charcoal, which has been used for things like air and water purification for years. Now imagine that same purification inside your mouth – activated charcoal bristles deodorize bad breath, balance pH in your mouth and fight germs that cause tartar and halitosis.

How does this translate into a better toothbrush for us and the planet?

Just like organic farming is better and more nutritious for people’s health, our toothbrush is better for your wellness and personal impact on the environment. Our materials are natural and all biodegradable, unlike the plastic toothbrushes that people own that will still be around in 500 years.

Where do you source your materials from?

We try to make as much as we possibly can in-house — we are based in Portland, Oregon— or as close to our headquarters as possible in Utah and Ohio.

How often should you replace the brush and what’s the best way to dispose of it?

I’ve had customers use one of our brushes for a year — I don’t recommend that, but they told me that they wash it in a little hydrogen peroxide every month and it’s held up! We typically go with the ADA’s recommend replacement cycle of every two to three months. To dispose, you have some options: 1. Compost it or bury it. If you have the means, give it back to the earth. Or 2. Toss it in with your other trash — it will decompose rapidly in a landfill.

Tell us about Goodfloss: How is it different from traditional flosses?

Goodfloss was a product that came to be when we started asking people about flossing, and we noticed that there was a huge problem that none of the other flosses out there was solving. The problem is, when and where people need and want floss: it’s typically never at the end of the day, in their bathroom. Instead, people need floss when they are out, at dinner, lunch, the movies, about to step into a meeting, etc. So we designed a product that is meant to be portable. It’s the size of a credit card, so you can put a card of them (which contains 4 flossers and toothpicks ) in your wallet, in your purse or in your pocket, and have it with you at all times. The material is made from our proprietary blend of essentially vegetable starches and bamboo, so it’s 100% biodegradable, vegan, and never tested on animals. Our floss is also made with organic cotton.

What’s the hero ingredient in your chemical-free Pacific Mint Toothpaste, and can it really whiten and freshen your mouth like a mainstream paste?

Here is something most people don’t really know — sea salt actually contains small amounts of natural fluoride. It also aids in agitation, so I would claim that our toothpaste works just as well as any of the mainstream pastes out there.

How can we all turn brushing our teeth into a moment of self-care? How do you make the act more enjoyable and less of a chore to do twice a day?

A wise and inspirational woman in my life once told me that everything you own should bring you joy. My advice would be to minimize your life and the things in it, so that everything you do, every single day, will bring you joy.

Do you have any other habits or wellness tips that you swear by?

Physically propel your own body at least 6 miles a day via your feet, a bike, a boat, or other means of carbon-free transportation, and drink more water!

What’s next for Goodwell + Co?

We have been working on a new toothbrush for the past two and a half years that we plan on launching on Kickstarter later this year. We’re calling it Be. It stands for Beyond Electric and will be our alternative to electric toothbrushes. Stay tuned!!

+ Shop all Goodwell + Co products here!

Free People Blog

Streamline Your Beauty Routine

Streamline Your Beauty Routine

In an effort to cut back on gratuitous products and free up some desperately-needed space…

Hi, I’m Allie and I’m a skincare and makeup addict. I love the stuff. I can’t get enough. The minute I read or hear about a new product, I drop everything and start Googling. It doesn’t matter if I already own (and barely use) dozens of similar products; once the itch starts, I can’t stop until I’ve researched enough to know I’m not interested or, more likely, have become the proud owner of the product.

And while I love each and every one of my beauty products like a proud mom (I know it’s weird, just let me have it), every once in awhile, I find myself digging through drawers and bins and cabinets full of creams and palettes and serums and sprays and masks, looking for that ONE THING I KNOW IS IN THERE SOMEWHERE but continues to elude my grasp. Then I think to myself, “Allie, wouldn’t it just be easier with fewer products?”

The answer, obviously, is yes. We are a world of consumers—many of us, present company included, over consumers. And while it’s certainly a nice luxury to be able to perfectly match my bronzer to my skin after a few hours in the sun and also after a week in the sun because I have both shades, it’s all a bit unnecessary, don’t you think?

So in an effort to cut back on gratuitous products and free up some desperately-needed space in my apartment, I’m adopting what I like to think of as a streamlined approach to beauty.

What does this mean? It means that instead of bringing an extra overnight bag on a weekend trip to accommodate any product I might need, I fit the essentials  into a standard-issue makeup bag. It means instead of insisting on having dozens of lipsticks and stains, I only have a few that I can play with to produce whatever shades I’m missing (and even use some as blush!). It means that instead of bracing myself against the potential avalanche of products that might tumble out upon opening my bathroom cabinet, I can swing that mirror open with confidence knowing I am safe from cascading makeup.

And it means I’m going to tell you how to do it for yourself if you’re sick of stubbing your toe on plastic crate full of lipstick that’s sticking out from under your bed when you get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Hack #1: “Foundation” 

Given that summer is just getting started, it’s probably time to lighten up on makeup for the sake of your skin. So instead of reaching for foundation every morning, let your cover up pull double duty as a lightweight tint by combining it with your favorite face oil or serum. The viscosity of the serum will help the small amount of cover up spread thinly and evenly, offering a beautiful light layer of coverage and skin benefits at the same time.

How: Scoop a small amount of RMS Beauty’s Un Cover-Up onto your fingertips. The amount will depend on how much coverage you’re after, but I find a half-pea is perfect for a sheer wash that also lets skin breath. Add a 2-3 drops of your favorite oil-based face serum (I like Maya Chia’s The Super Couple Face Oil Serum) and warm everything up between your fingers. Then apply in a gentle, upward motion as if you’re putting on moisturizer. Rub in where necessary, and you’ve got beautiful sheer, breathable coverage for your whole face. Then if you need it, go back in with the Un Cover-Up and add a little extra wherever you’d like. The nice thing about using an oil serum as the base here is 1) you likely won’t need to apply moisturizer first since the oil will cover you on the hydration front, and 2) you’ll get a gorgeous, subtle glow from the revitalizing oil.

Hack #2: Lip Stain

When you want some color on your lips but can’t be bothered with reapplying full lipstick, a lip stain is where it’s at. The color gives you that “I just ate a popsicle” look and you don’t have to worry about it fading or running to find a mirror to reapply. If you’re really crafty, you can whip up a to-go batch of this stuff so you can always have it handy.

How: If you’re really ambitious, exfoliate your lips a bit before applying a colorless lip balm like Lano’s Multipurpose Superbalm or good old coconut oil. Let the balm/oil sink in for a few seconds, then dab a bright lipstick into the center of your bottom lip. Pick a shade and formula that’s vibrant and highly pigmented so the color dilutes easily—I like Kosas’ lipstick in Thrillest. Once you’ve built up a bit of color on that bottom lip, gently spread it out with your ring finger, blotting your lips together as you go. The balm/oil will help the color spread without sinking into any cracks or lines, and it’ll diffuse the pigment into a lovely stain.

Hack #3: Body Bronzer 

I’m speaking for myself for, but I am very pale. Like, the first time I wear a skirt or dress after the long winter months, it’s almost blinding. I also don’t tan well…at all. So faking it is really the only way to ensure I don’t stop traffic and cause harm when not wearing pants in public. Luckily, the bronzer I use on my (pale) face can cleverly double as a body bronzer.

How: You’ll need a liquid or cream bronzer for this (or use a tinted moisturizer/foundation you may have bought on a whim after you booked your last beach trip) and some body lotion. To start, take a pea-sized amount of bronzer into your palm—both RMS’ Buriti Bronzer and Contour Bronze work perfectly, though the second has an added shimmer if you’re into that—and warm it up a bit. Then add a dime-sized amount of body lotion to your palms and work the two together between your hands. Apply the mixture to your legs and arms, blending as needed, until you’ve got a pretty faux tan. The Skin Tight Body Lotion from PRTTY PEAUSHUN is great for this since it comes in a variety of “glow” levels, letting your customize how dark the color is and how glow-y your skin becomes.

HACK #4: Highlighter 

I mean, who doesn’t love a good highlighter? And while there are a lot of excellent ones on the market—looking at you, Vapour Organics and RMS Beauty—if you own an eyeshadow pallet and some eye cream or serum, you’re covered in the luminzer department.

How: Find that eyeshadow palette you only ever use one color of and locate the lightest, most peaches-and-cream color. (In Smith & Cult’s Book of Eyes Quad Palette, it’s the top left color.) If you plan to use the shade as a shadow in the future, pick up some color with your finger and deposit it on the back of your opposite hand, near the base of your thumb. Add one small drop of eye serum to shadow and blend together with the same finger you used to pick up the color. (You can also add the serum directly to the palette, but you likely won’t be able to use it as a straight shadow anymore.) Once it’s blended, pick up the mixture with that same finger and gently dab it on as you would a highlighter: hit the top of your cheekbone, under your brow bone, the center of your eyelid, the inner corner of your eye, etc. The nice thing about using an eye serum here is that it’s specifically designed for the delicate, thinner parts of your skin where you apply highlighter, so it won’t cause irritation or congestion and it’ll deposit skin-friendly nutrients.

+Read more from Allie here and be sure to check out our full beauty collection, online and in stores!

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 ones from Kapuluan and Skinny & Co. for that first step. For a bit more nuance, look for something specifically deemed a “cleansing oil” (Wilde Gatherings’ Kumari Cleansing Oil uses a mix of olive oil, aloe vera and seabuckthorn oil to make sure everything gets removed while still keeping skin soft) or an oil-based “cleansing balm” (the Skin Savior Multi-Tasking Wonder Balm from One Love Organics is a personal favorite and perennial re-order). 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, Joanna Vargas’ Miracle Bar is a solid and luxurious choice. Since it contains olive oil and shea butter, your skin will still feel hydrated post-second cleanse. The clary sage and kakadu plum in Pangea Organic’s Facial Cleanser make it another solid foaming options for oily skin. For the non-foaming fans out there, Mad Hippies’ Cream Cleanser and Juice Beauty’s Cleansing Milk are gentler options.

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

Lead photo by Jana Kirn.

Free People Blog

Nabra Hassanen’s Killing Was Not a “Road Rage Incident”

This was originally posted on http://www.allure.com/story/nabra-hassanen-killing-was-not-road-rage along with the image used.

Muslim teen Nabra Hassanen was allegedly attacked and killed by Darwin Martinez Torres while on her way home from praying. Why is her death being called a “road rage incident”?

Having trouble with losing hair or thinning hair?  Our blog takes the best around from the internet about hair care and beauty.  Reverse female hair loss with us today!

Soho Pop-In: Nutritional Counseling with Raj Barker

Soho Pop-In: Nutritional Counseling with Raj Barker

If you’re in NY on 6/21, consider stopping by our Soho pop-up and take in a seasonal health class with Raj!

As a holistic nutritionist, my aim is in identifying and treating the root cause of a problem as opposed to its symptoms, taking into consideration a combination of diet, lifestyle, work-life balance and relationships, to understand its true nature.

Below I’ve broken down three of the most common complaints I receive from clients and, in turn, provided simple tools you can weave into your everyday routine to put yourself back on track to feeling your best.

Adrenal fatigue

Symptoms: Waking up tired even after a long night’s sleep, relying on coffee to wake up, feeling alert right when it’s time to go to sleep, irritability, weight gain, decreased libido, depression.

What to do: Limit coffee to 1/day and drink it by 10am. Cut back on processed foods, especially sugar. Implement a nightly routine (shower-tea-meditation-essential oils-read-lights out) turn off screens 1 hr before bed, aim for the same bedtime every night. Focus on resting, relieving stress via yoga, walking, dancing, whatever you find works – part of the treatment is discovery.

What to eat: Easily digestable, nutrient-dense foods in their most natural form. Think foods with good fats and high fibre like coconut meat, olives, avocado, raw nuts and seeds, as well as seaweeds like kelp and wakame, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts.

Supplements: Magnesium before bed to help relax (follow instructions on packet), ashwagandha to increase stamina and relieve stress (start with 1 tsp in the morning, add to tea, smoothies, etc).

Acne

Symptoms: Red or white lesions on the face, neck, chest, back and tops of arms.

What to do: Simplify skin care routine, use products with minimal ingredients, drink plenty of filtered water, sip hibiscus and dandelion tea. Get plenty of sleep and manage stress.

What to eat: Reach for whole, fresh foods in their most natural state. Reduce processed sugar, alcohol, packaged or high trans fats foods. Feed the gut with good bacteria — think sauerkrauts, kombucha, kefirs, small servings of whole greek yogurt, and eat plenty of clean protein such as fish, eggs, spirulina, legumes, beans, raw nuts and seeds.

Supplements: Probiotics to replenish gut microbes, milk thistle to assist in liver detoxification (be wary if pregnant or breast feeding). B6 to help sebum excretion, zinc to support skin cell repair.

Bloating

Symptoms: Swollen belly, frequent gas, discomfort in the abdominal area.

What to do: Focus on chewing your food at every bite, observe reactions to trigger foods like gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol — consider you may have food sensitivities or allergies. Ensure legumes and beans are adequately soaked before cooking (at least 24 hrs).

What to eat: Eat easily digested foods in their most whole form. As mentioned above: Chew! Chew! Chew! Rather than drinking your food, focus on meals instead of juices and smoothies for a few weeks. Eat fruit before a big meal as opposed to after, as it will digest most quickly.

Supplements: Digestive enzymes (follow instructions on packet). Drink 1 cup of warm water BEFORE meals with 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar.

+Learn more about our Soho Pop-Up here

Photo by Emily Sellers

Free People Blog

What’s the Deal with Vegan Beauty?

What’s the Deal with Vegan Beauty?

Contributor Allie White helps you know what to look for if you’re in the market for vegan products…

As far as most people are concerned, “vegan” denotes a type of diet that doesn’t allow for any animal products. No meat, no cheese, no eggs, no anything that derives from an animal. And as far as “dietary veganism” goes, it is about food. But “vegan” can actually mean much more than what you eat; for many people, it’s a lifestyle. It dictates not only what they put in their body, but also what they put on their body. From clothes to skincare to makeup, it touches every part of a vegan’s life.

If you’ve ever tried to order a vegan meal at a non-vegan restaurant, you know the struggle is real. So imagine trying to lead a completely vegan lifestyle in a not-completely-vegan world. It’s a lot of work with a lot of potential to get stuck and tripped up. And just like the warranted annoyance at restaurants that offer salad or a plate of steamed veggies as vegan options, it’s easy to see why anyone who adheres to a vegan lifestyle would be annoyed at the skincare and beauty industry — they certainly don’t make it easy to find products that not only adhere to vegan standards, but that also work at the same level of conventional products.

Luckily, big and small brands alike are taking notice of the need — and benefits — of vegan beauty and skincare, and things that fit the vegan lifestyle are more easy to find than ever theses days. That said, it’s still utterly important to know what to look for if you’re in the market for vegan products.

When reading ingredient labels, certain things will jump out at you as obviously non-vegan. But then there are those tricky ingredients that are either hiding under a name you might not recognize or ones you’re not totally sure about. Some common beauty ingredients that are definitely non-vegan include:

  • Lanolin
  • Collagen
  • Albumen
  • Shark squalene
  • Carmine
  • Cholesterol
  • Gelatin
  • Beeswax
  • Honey

Some products will proudly and boldly state their vegan status on the label, while others may be a bit more subtle. Other than the ingredient deck, you’ll also want to pay attention to certain icons and language like the following:

  • Certified Vegan: This is the Holy Grail for vegan products. You don’t have to second guess a product with this labelling as it means the product is 100% free of any animal-derived ingredients and was not tested on animals.
  • 100% Vegetarian: As the name implies, a product with this label doesn’t contain animal ingredients but it may contain animal by-products.
  • Leaping Bunny: The internationally-recognized symbol meaning no animals were harmed—in all stages of development and production, including labs and suppliers. It’s important to note that the company has voluntarily pledged their products are 100% free of animal testing, but there’s no agency checking up on the pledge.
  • Cruelty Free: Similarly to the leaping bunny, this logo means a company has provided a signed assurance or statement verifying there’s no animal testing on their ingredients, and is organized by PETA.
  • Not Tested on Animals: Products and ingredients have never been tested on animals and must not contain ingredients derived from killing an animal or provided as a by-product from killed animals. Verified by Choose Cruelty Free (CCF), companies pay to use and license the logo and the CCF requires companies to undergo regular re-accreditation.
  • USDA Organic: Made with at least 95% certified organic ingredients and free of additives. Doesn’t denote a vegan product, but most vegan, cruelty-free products are also organic so this is good to know.
  • Ecocert Organic: At least 95% of the plant-based ingredients are organic. Plant-based ingredients and at least 5% by weight are organic.
  • Premium Body Care: Whole Foods Market has extremely strict body care standards, and this symbol indicates a product contains no parabens, SLS, and over 400 other ingredients the market has banned from the products it carries. Again, does not denote something is vegan, but also good to know.
  • Refer to Insert: This means the container doesn’t include all the product information, so if you’re looking for something 100% vegan, you should take the time to thoroughly inspect and read the leaflet in the box to make doubly sure it’ll work for you.

+ Be sure to check out our vegan beauty products here!!

Free People Blog

FP How We: Meditate

FP How We: Meditate

Our monthly home office wellness series turns within, featuring best practices meditation from two of our very own…

Unlike the hosts of our previous FP How We sessions, you are both full-time FP employees. Can you talk a little bit about how your paths brought you here? 

J: I was always into the mysterious… ancient secrets in yoga, chanting, numbers, letters, astrology, etc. My love for design was once separate but, as I dove deeper into my spirituality, I realized everything is connected. The good and the bad. How we do one thing is how we do everything, weaving it all into a work of art… we are all creative beings.

K: I’ve always been interested in and curious about the non-physical world, ever since I was a little girl. As I grew into my teens I was always attracted to the mystical, delving into astrology, tarot, always yearning to know more about the deep mysteries. It wasn’t until I was out of college, and working full time at Free People, that I started falling in love with yoga. At first, it was just a couple days a week in a local gym, but the instructor was fantastic and took me deep inside myself, especially during Savasana. After I had my daughters I became much more committed to yoga and joined a local studio. One day I dropped into an Ashtanga class and fell deeply in love. As I progressed through the years with Ashtanga, I realized I was getting so much out of the sitting pranayama (breath work) and stillness at the end of the sequence. It seemed I had to push my body to all its edges and limits to achieve this bliss of spacious awareness, I felt light streaming through my body — I felt better than I had ever felt in my life. A few years later, I moved away from my Ashtanga teacher and had a hard time keeping my practice going. I also began suffering from some pretty serious illnesses and had knew I had to limit my energy output so I could help my body heal itself. I started doing guided meditations to help ease my stress and anxiety and realized I could access this spacious awareness state through my consciousness. I knew I needed to dive deeper into meditation and signed up for a teacher training program.

Was wellness always a part of who you are? Tell us about that journey.

J: As a kid I endlessly played in nature. I knew there was a life-changing wisdom there. The trees alone are full of metaphors on how to exist, deeply rooted in the ground while stretching up into the heavens. As I got older and more conditioned to social norms, I struggled. Stress began to break down my body and I started to develop health issues. On a crusade to heal naturally I realized it wasn’t about the food itself. It was about my emotions, self-esteem and connection to my true self. You can eat all the super foods in the world but, if you are full of guilt and shame, who cares what size you are or who likes you. Until you see that your value is an accessory to something greater. In this knowing I have been able to liberate myself from many issues and am truly enjoying life. Spiritual or not, to me these are the basics of life.

K: Absolutely. When I was younger it manifested mostly in preferring a healthy diet & regular exercise. I loved to go to aerobics classes with my mom in high school, hiking the national parks with my family, and was even the captain of the cross country team in high school. In college, I craved good vegetables, when the cafeteria was filled with junk food. It wasn’t until my late 20’s when I realized that importance of mental & spiritual heath as a significant component to overall wellness for me. I realized that ALL the choices I was making, not just my food & exercise, were contributing to living a fulfilling life. I realized I needed to look deeper into my stress, anxiety, and emotions as well as develop a deeper connection to the Mystical world that I’d been curious about since childhood. As I’ve had some illnesses over the past few years, I’ve also realized how lacking our medical system is right now in terms of preventative or vitality enhancing focuses, so have turned to so many other healing modalities to help my body be well again including Herbalists, Ayurveda, Energy Medicine, Acupuncture, Diet/Food as Medicine, Self-Love, Breath-work, Mantra, Yoga and Meditation.

And how did you two find each other?

J: I’ve been at Free People for 9 years. Kristal not only interviewed me, but hired and trained me! We have been working together ever since. We always compared notes on our latest obsessions — in the beginning it was yoga to nutrition, then deeper esoteric studies as we progressed. It’s been a Joy to grow alongside each other and inspire as we go along… blessed be!

K: Yes, so much JOY! We have said so many times how grateful we are that we were brought together to support each other on this journey. I totally think it was fate. We were meant to work together on many levels in this life.

What does meditation mean to each of you? What does your personal meditation look like?

J: Meditation, to me, is a practice of knowing yourself. No wonder it is so hard in the beginning, all your demons rush forward to be released the moment you sit down. Personally I was overwhelmed by this. I explored many different styles of meditating, loving something from each. I now have custom built a practice for me, something I recommend to everyone. This includes a prayer, mudras and breathing always. Other times I may add dance, chanting or yantras. I strongly feel as we grow what we need reveals itself… so cool!

K: Meditation is essential to me. It helps me stay connected and in-tune with my higher self, my true self. It helps me stay present and available for the people in my life. It also inspires ideas, helps me process my day, and release anything I no longer need to hold onto. It helps me ‘see’ where I am stuck, where I am clinging, and where I need to let go.  I usually wake up around 5am, have a cup of tea and head out to my little yoga/meditation/sacred space. I typically read some inspiring pages or verses of poetry while I finish my tea, I then meditate until about 6am, when during the school year it’s time to wake up my girls. I typically just follow my personal silent meditation, and when I’m feeling I’d like a guided practice, I choose something from the myriad of options on the Insight Timer App. I’ve also began incorporating a few mudracs that I learned from Jess that shift my energy quickly. I also do occasional longer sits on the weekends, as well as go to group meditations, womens circles or retreats when I can. I also like to get into a meditative state during physical activities, like hiking, walking, yoga, and dancing. Like Jess said, there are so many ways to get there!

I bet most of us do not know about mudras – can you give a quick explanation of what these are?

J: Mudras are essentially hand yoga. Each finger is linked to an energetic meridian in your body (what they use in acupuncture) as well as a neurological pathway in your brain. You can literally change your state in 3 mins. As I mentioned above, when I began to meditate I found it overwhelming unless I had just performed yoga. Why? Because I had so much energy that needed to move. Learning mudras allowed me to clear and channel this energy with intention and purpose.

Favorite crystal (no pun intended, K):

J: Its hard to have a fav. I’d say selenite is my go-to. I’d love one of every color.

K: I always go to quartz because it’s an amplifier and clears, helps me to move energies quickly. I love so many, though.

Morning or night?

J: I practice every morning, but I’m a nighttime person. I get super psychic at night.

K: Morning for me. I feel sparkly in the morning. I love sunrise. I am so sleepy at night.

#1 inner beauty go-to:

J: Mudra & Adi Shakti Mantra.

K: Heart openers using meditation, yoga, mudra, movement. I think nothing creates beauty more than an open heart and a peaceful presence.

Biggest hope/dream for women everywhere:

J: To Self Realize and know their own power. To embrace each other rather than compete/compare.

K: Totally Agree. Also owning their cycle, realize the sacredness of their moon time. We are the instruments of creation.

What does free mean to you?

J: Boundless Self Expression.

K: Liberation From Conditioning.

 

Free People Blog

Keeping it Clean with Eddie Mitsou

Keeping it Clean with Eddie Mitsou

Maybe you’ve been considering it… Sobriety may not be for everyone, but it might be right for you?

Let me be the first to say… I love partying! Dancing, hanging out with friends, flirting, coming home at 3am exhausted with my lipstick half gone, LOLing at my Instagram story while peeing and brushing my teeth.

What may separate me from man others is what happens next — I wake up with my makeup perfectly removed, IG stories still intact, with no fear of finding that dreaded embarrassing video. I make myself a green smoothie and I’m on my way to a Pilates class before 9.30 am.

So, why is that?

Because I don’t drink.

The thought of it might scare you.

But…maybe this is something you’ve been considering yourself. Sober partying may not be for everyone – but it might be right for you?

I have many girlfriends who have gone out with me and follow suit – and most of them really like it, usually quite surprised at how easy it can be. AND! how much fun they can actually have without booze flowing through their bodies. Some, as a result, have decided to quit drinking – or at least consume very little – while some continue to go out and get wasted.

And I don’t blame them for that. Everything is a choice — you do what feels best or right in that moment.  However, there is also a fear of simply breaking the norm. You simply stick to what you know and how you’ve been raised to live, courtesy of family, culture (television, movies, magazines) and society.

Several years ago, the idea of sobriety seemed impossible. I struggled with it during my last semester in school. I had just started dating someone in the deep house underground party scene. The only thing my heart wanted was to be tequila-tipsy, kissing him in the darkness of a grungy garage, every night of the week.

But, I had to focus — good grades on my final exams and beyond. There was also the potential to do modeling in Milan,  and my agency asked me to be in perfect shape, which demanded both more hours at the gym and a healthy diet. Despite my new love, my mission had always been to move abroad as soon as I graduated.

But I couldn’t. I really couldn’t give up being boozy. It was so important to me. Drinking was the only way of partying in Stockholm, so maybe that rubbed off on me?  My point is that there wasn’t a time when I could picture a life without alcohol. I was young, but my mom nervously made jokes about me becoming an alcoholic. I had a great opportunity right in front of me, but I wasn’t ready to make the sacrifices to achieve it.

I’m a very strong believer in refraining from judgment or telling people how to live their lives. I would never tell anyone that it’s bad to drink, or that they shouldn’t. No, no, that’s not my vibe. It’s an individual — and personal — choice, and whatever you choose is hopefully right for you. What I do is right for me.

So all I intend by this post is to inspire you. To maybe introduce you to a new or scary path and know there are different ways to go. Follow your own gut, and try to push away the fear of being different.

I didn’t make it to Milan that summer, after all. It took me over eight months to finally leave Stockholm. I wasn’t ready to stop drinking and didn’t fight for my dreams. I ended up in Istanbul, but even there I realized that other paths existed…

Free People Blog

Keep It Short: Prep Your Legs for Their Best Summer Yet

Keep It Short: Prep Your Legs for Their Best Summer Yet

As hemlines rise with the temperatures, it’s time to focus on your two best summer accessories…

This post comes to you from contributor Arden Andrews.

As spring finally gives way to summer this month, it’s officially time to consider your two most important warm weather accessories — that set of stems you’ve been wrapping in denim and lycra for the majority of 2017. Swapping ankle-grazing hemlines for leg-baring looks is all about preparation, which is why we’ve put together your DIY guide to buffing, hydrating, and protecting your gams for a season in the sun. Below, the necessary steps to letting your legs live their best life this summer:

Step 1: Polish to Perfection

Dryer times leave your legs dull and ravaged of moisture, making circulation-boosting exfoliation the key to bringing the life back to your lower half. Buff away dead skin cells with a nourishing salt scrub, or pair your favorite body wash with a sisal bath brush to slough off dull spots while encouraging blood flow—a must for maintaining youthful skin long term.

Step 2: Elevate Your Routine

Toss your plastic pool toy of a razor for this glam upgrade that’s designed specifically to minimize irritation and ingrown hairs. The nourishing neroli oil acts as an equally modern alternative to notoriously drying shave foam, replenishing skin with vitamins and fatty acids as it allows the blades to safely glide across the surface.

Step 3: Build Up to It

There’s a reason chic French visionaries like Coco Chanel and Josephine Baker popularized the suntan—a bronze glow has the uncanny ability to hide imperfections and sculpt limbs, especially when it doesn’t come at the cost of aging UV rays. With a paraben-free gradual tanning lotion or organic tan extender, you can build that flattering shade of color at a believable rate — no pretend trip to Bali required.

Step 4: Protect Your Assets

It may feel as though you don’t need to block up your legs because they seem to burn at a slower rate than your face and neck, but get serious — the most common place for melanoma on women is their legs. And if that doesn’t scare you straight, the photodamage from extended bouts of unprotected sun should — no one’s trying to rush into crepe-y knees and sunspots faster than they’re fated. This organic, water-resistant SPF formula sprays on consistently sheer, so you won’t have to waste a minute rubbing it in.

Step 5: Let It Gleam

Whether it’s a trip to the beach or a turn on the dancefloor, a little luster never hurts. Shimmer products not only dazzle our senses, they also camouflage (or shall we say, enhance?) problem areas with the help of light-reflecting particles. And as if a superfine dusting of rose gold wasn’t tempting enough, this formula adds the healing powers of bentonite clay into the equation, plus leaves behind the soft scent of lavender as you march confidently toward the next heat wave.

Free People Blog

Wellness Encyclopedia: Benefits of Papaya + Papaya Breakfast Bowl

Wellness Encyclopedia: Benefits of Papaya + Papaya Breakfast Bowl

There’s a reason papaya is a major player in the skincare industry…

Summer is officially-unofficially here (technically there are still a few days left of spring, which is difficult to believe). Along with sun, blue sky and sweltering humidity, comes my complete inability to turn on the stove. Hot temperatures I can deal with, but I have zero desire to make things any warmer than they already are with a hot oven. But as markets are brimming with fresh produce and fruits, who needs heat? Summer is the perfect time to cool your body down with everything fresh and crisp — from bright green local lettuce to more exotic tropical fruits coming into their prime season. To me, papaya is the taste of summer all wrapped up in one convenient package. Peeled, cubed, and drizzled with a little lime juice, this exotic berry (yup, not actually a fruit!) makes a simple meal that nourishes while it cools from the inside out. There’s a reason papaya is a major player in the skincare industry — the antioxidants and enzymes present provide vital nutrition internally while boasting the ability to resurface and renew skin externally. Today I’m diving into the beautiful papaya — what it is, the benefits and, most importantly, how to eat it. Scroll on to learn more and find a cooling recipe, no heat required.

What is it? Believed to be native to Southern Mexico or Central America and originally cultivated in Mexico, the papaya is a large berry with bright orange flesh and greenish-gold skin when ripe. Similar in texture to an avocado (a very juicy avocado), when sliced in half a ripe papaya will reveal dark brown seeds that are easily scooped out. Papaya is available year-round but peak in summer and early fall, making them the perfect addition to fresh fruit breakfasts and snacks on those 90-degree days when you can’t bring yourself to turn on the stove.

What are the benefits? Rich in vitamin C, folate, fibre, antioxidants, beta-carotene, and beneficial enzymes, papayas can benefit the entire body, from head to toe, internally and externally. The vitamin C present in papaya can help boost immunity, and help resurface skin when applied as a mask. Rich in fibre and the enzyme papain, when combined these two nutrients can aid in digestion, helping to break down proteins and scrubbing the digestive tract (papains) and moving food through the system faster and more efficiently (fibre). The presence of fibre also aids in heart health by potentially lowering cholesterol. A popular ingredient in over-the-counter skin care products for good reason, papain, the beneficial enzyme in papaya, can help slough away dead skin cells when applied to the skin, and the vitamin C and other antioxidants can help resurface and smooth skin.

How do I use it? When choosing a papaya, the skin should be a mix of light green and gold tones, and it should be about as soft as a ripe avocado. Papaya is delicious fresh, especially topped with a bit of lime juice and honey, and it blends easily into smoothies. It’s also a great topping for chia puddings, yogurt, smoothie bowls, oatmeal, and banana ice cream. Create an easy face mask by mashing fresh papaya together with a bit of raw honey and applying to clean, dry skin (always do a patch test first). Create a hair mask by mixing mashed papaya with jojoba oil and applying to hair before rinsing.

Papaya Breakfast Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients

½ papaya

½ banana, frozen

½ cup frozen cauliflower

1 tbsp coconut butter

⅛ tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup nut milk or coconut water

Dash of cinnamon

Optional: Scoop of vanilla protein powder of choice

Chopped almonds and blueberries, to top

To prepare the papaya, slice lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Set ½ aside or freeze for later use.

Method

Place frozen banana, cauliflower, coconut butter, vanilla, nut milk, cinnamon, and protein powder (if using) in a blender or food processor. Process on high until mixture is smooth. Pour into the papaya half and top with almonds, blueberries, and any other toppings of choice. Enjoy!

+ Be sure to check out more Wellness Encyclopedia posts!

Follow Julie on Instagram + check out her blog.

This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. 
Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.

Free People Blog