Malia Mills On Swimwear, Body-Love and Her Empowering Plans for the Future

Written by Lynn Levoy | Photographed by Caitlin Mitchell

 
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Rewind to the 1990’s, when a design assistant with a passion for swimwear took on a project that changed her life. Her name was Malia Mills and a good friend asked her to create some suits for the “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit issue. As she ran around stores, checking out same-sized tops and bottoms clipped on one hanger, she realized something. “The tops were too big,” Malia said. “Or I would like the style of the top but not the bottom. I thought this all just seemed insane. I couldn't imagine having to buy lingerie like that. Plus, I couldn’t find fabrics or colors, prints or simple silhouettes with subtle details that looked like my clothes.” 

 
 
 
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Et voila - the aha moment that snuck up on her. The idea - to create bra-sized swimwear separates engineered to fit like lingerie, cut from fabrics with textures, colors and prints like clothing in a woman’s closet. Fast forward a few years and Malia made her dream a reality. She established herself as a leading swimwear designer providing comfortable, flattering pieces forest women of all sizes. What began with a simple shop on Mulberry Street has become one of the most desirable names in the swim world. But Malia hasn’t stopped there. In a fashion category build around self-doubt and body-shaming, she has become a beacon of strength and truth. Whether through her campaign imagery featuring women all shapes and colors, or her “love thyself” rallying cry, or her programs for mentorship and workplace opportunity, Malia is the definition of someone who is living her truth and providing all women with the tools for social enhancement and positive body imagery. We are so floored by her vision and her work (so much so, we wanted more than anything to be a part of her badass wold, so look out for a A Wild Dove x Malia Mills collab coming soon). I the meantime, read on as she shares her story, her path and her vision for a better tomorrow.

 
 

I have personally been wearing your suits since your Mulberry Street location opened. It was the only line then that you could buy a different sized top and bottom, which I have always been. Major Gamechanger. What was the trigger moment for that?

So many dots to connect in the journey to the trigger moment! I grew up in Honolulu where swimwear was our daily uniform, each new swimsuit like a rite of passage. My mom forbade my older sisters from wearing bikinis, so they would cover up with baby doll apron tops with bikini bottoms. When our neighbor gave me a yellow bikini for my 10th birthday, my sisters howled in protest. At 11 my tween dreams came true when I bought a bikini from the trendy swim store called Splash in Waikiki. At this point my sisters had graduated to striped knit bikinis from a store called Surfline. My mom took me to pick out my very own when I turned 12. The tops were all too full for my flat chest. But I was on a mission to make one mine so I picked out a baby blue and pink striped set, took it home and sewed a seam through the top to remove the shape.

 
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When I moved to New Hampshire at 13, I arrived at the town pool wearing a racy, high-cut leg, hot pink one-piece and found all the other gals wearing high-neck, low-leg speedos. My first taste of how a suit can feel so right in one place and so very wrong in another. In college I went on spring break with my parents and while they were off playing bridge, I grabbed the yellow pages and found a gal who made custom bikinis out of her garage. My mom drove me over and I picked out shiny white fabric for a twist-front bandeau top and sporty blue and white striped fabric for a bikini bottom. The swimwear journey continued in Paris where I read about Maryvonne Herzog, another gal making custom swimwear out of her apartment. I went over and met her and we bonded over my passion for swimwear and my very shitty French! Fast forward to 1990, I was working as a design assistant at Jessica McClintock in San Francisco when Julie Stern, my college roommate called me up. She was working on the swimsuit issue at “Sports Illustrated.” She said, “I know you’ve always been mad about swimwear - this sounds crazy but you should make us some suits for our shoot.” I left work that day and visited every store in SFO that sold swimwear and that’s when the light bulb went off.

 
 
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The fabrics are amazing, they wear super well and hug exactly you where you need to be hugged. What is the sourcing process like in your fabrics?

Fabric is a key component, but the magic really happens during our fittings. We have a family of fit models - all ages, sizes, shapes and their feedback is priceless. We always challenge ourselves to use all kinds of fabrics - two way stretch, one way stretch, sometimes no stretch at all -- in unexpected ways. From knitted solids to velvets to jacquards, to men's shirting. The way we engineer beautiful fit is with multiple fittings and numerous wear tests. Each fabric has a different hand and reacts differently on the body, especially in a swimsuit where a 1/16th of an inch makes a big difference.

 
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Wow. So technical! Switching gears. Can you tell us about your badass  campaigns? How they feature women of all different shapes and sizes? Can you talk through that evolution and brand message?

I was passionate about improving the entire swimwear experience - from how a swimsuit fits to how it makes you feel. It seemed nuts that anytime I mentioned swimwear, most gals would say ugh, gotta lose weight, gotta get tan, haven't worn a suit in years... blah blah blah. So much shit talk! Mostly self-derision with the overall message of not feeling worthy. It just felt totally wrong. So we made it our mission to say, Fuck that. Let's inspire women to love thy differences. Let's free up all that brain power wasted on trying to change the way we look and let's seize the power that comes from saying hell yes to our diverse beauty. Let's inspire gals to channel that energy towards living a kickass life and setting an inspiring example.

So we set out to create swimwear with fit and style to celebrate the rockstar you are. With inclusive imagery, celebratory language and a “no bullshit, we're in this together, the sun is setting let's get to the beach and crack open a cold beer spirit” we strive to share a compelling message with all women and girls. Love thy differences - it's our mission, our mantra, our driving force. It’s our rally cry, our soapbox, our signature anti-venom to shit talk about body shape and self-esteem and swimwear. 18 years ago we photographed 28 women for our first catalog. All ages, ethnicities, sizes, shapes… the response was incredible, both from our mavens as well as from the media.  

 
 
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Love Love Love that. And, in addition to changing the way we see ourselves, you're doing a ton of work in teaching and helping young girls mobilize to be our next leaders. Can you speak to that initiative and the inspiration behind it? 

When I started the business I was young and inexperienced and naive but I had a TON of support and constructive criticism and encouragement. So many people sharing their knowledge and experience and hustle. So we strive to give back all of this good chi and to create a company that provides opportunities to learn and sharpen skills, that challenges our team to reach their greatest potential that encourages personal growth and self-reliance. We take pride in hiring for guts and glory and teaching skills - from using a drill to creating an excel spreadsheet. And we are passionate about bringing education out of the classroom and into the real world, to foster easily accessible opportunities to learn and to share the incredible knowledge of our team and our mavens.  We strive to operate as a learning center and we host our carpe revolution events for our team to share their knowledge with young girls in our communities.

 
 
 
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What do you love most about empowering girls? Do you have one memory or instance when you realized you were making a difference? Why do you think that's so important now?

Empowering is a two way street that's all about teamwork. We are so lucky to have the opportunities to meet so many fierce gals in our stores and in our studio and we are so lucky to do what we do. We've seen an extraordinary show of awesome from women worldwide, in the past year in particular. I read a while back an interview on Lenny Letter with Ellen Malcolm from EMILY’s List, the gal who’s been working so long and hard to get more women into politics. And she had such a great way of describing making change as “sometimes a leap, and lots of times a creep.” In that you always have to keep up the creep or else you fall behind, even after you’ve made a major leap. We must remind ourselves that the trajectory of awesome isn't a straight line and, despite challenges and setbacks, to focus on making positive change, one gal at a time.

 
 
 
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Love that. What are you hoping your brand contributes to the swimwear industry? To our culture?

We hope our brand sends an inclusive, inspiring and bold message not only about women and beauty but also about guts and glory, hustle and heart, sisterhood and small business as the engine of communities, cities, states, countries, the world. Shoulder to shoulder, with a sense of purpose, pride and humor, women everywhere are an extraordinary force for positive change.

 

YES. What are some future plans for the brand?

Our big crazy dream is to create a community-based philanthropic educational retreat compound as a platform for our team and our mavens to use real world experiences to share knowledge and educate women and girls and to foster forward momentum for all. We're also launching our lingerie line soon that we super excited about.  It came about because we often heard from our mavens about how they wear our tops as bras and our bottoms under sheer dresses so we took a few of our fave swimwear styles and engineered them as hell yes let’s get this day started lingerie. Soft tulle with a touch of lace, signature seaming for attitude and oomph, retro modern silhouettes to celebrate the feminine fierce! That, and the development of hangover-free wine to assist with efforts towards equality for women worldwide. Investors welcome!

 
 
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I’m in for all of it. OK so when you’re not designing kickass swimwear and mentoring young women and encouraging all of us to love ourselves and our bodies, what is your therapy?

Sometimes it's wine and a bitch session about the state of the world with girlfriends. Other times it's an unscheduled walk. There are always a ton of reminders of all the good shit and inspiration out there.

 

What makes you fly?

Cranking tunes -- and dancing our asses off like a bag of rattlesnakes as my Dad used to say.

 
 
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Malia Mills

Rituals - Jimena Garcia

 

Celebrity Eyebrow Artist

 

 
 
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My last ritual of the day is...

"when I end my work day, I burn some sage. I then put on a house dress and prepare a cup of tea. This is a good way for me to let everything from my day go. For about a half an hour, I sip my tea with something to read. I love to read essays written by artists or a good interview in the evening."

 
 

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Jimena Brows

 
 

Whether a morning meditation or afternoon cup of tea, the rituals we practice serve us more than we realize. They are our life’s bookends, moments we rely on and enjoy. For mamas especially, these small ceremonies are what gets us through the day. At A Wild Dove, we are so inspired by rituals, that we’ve asked some of our favorite women to share their smallest, most celebrated acts that help them feel their best.

 

Dove Loves - Olio E Osso No 1

Written by Lynn Levoy | Photographed by Jennifer Young

 
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Welcome back to Dove Loves, our definitive guide to the products and pieces we're loving - our favorites du jour, the holy grail of what we're coveting, researching, talking about, and obsessing over.

 
 

Not sure who loves this more, Callum or I, but this lip balm is my go to. My lips have a lot of pigment, so even the sheerest of colors feel often feel “too much” for me. Olio E Osso No 1 is perfect and gives my lips just the right amount of brightness without feeling or looking like gloss. I have them scattered everywhere and I keep finding Callum sneaking some too, so I realized it was great for him. (Plus being a blend of shea and oils, I feel good about its all natural ingredients!) His lips are always dry and this is one of the few products he wants to use. We also love the backstory. Olio E Osso was founded by makeup artist Paola Lamorticella, who created her iconic lip balm when she  became a mother and found that her newborn son’s skin irritated easily. We know the feeling! Well, Callum and I couldn’t be happier with our favorite lip balm. Because, like everything in life (and parenthood), sharing is certainly is caring. 

 
 
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Olio E Osso

Rituals - Shelby Wild

 

Founder of Playa

 
 
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My first ritual of the day is...

"I generally wake at 7:30am and have a litre of water followed by coffee with coconut milk. We have a Ratio automated pour over machine which makes incredible coffee. I then sit outside on our deck and listen to the ocean for about 20 minutes before I begin my day at 8. "

 

My favorite ritual alone is...

"Listening to music and riding my bike down the beach path to Ado in Venice and treating myself to a glass of wine and pasta. "

 
 
 
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My favorite ritual to destress is...

"To get a massage at home, leave the windows open, and listen to music. I generally don’t watch television, but if there is a good series available I will watch that and eat coconut ice cream with chocolate chip cookies instead. Both equally relaxing. "

 

My last ritual of the evening is...

"Before I sleep, I like to have a cup of Tulsi Rose tea with Moon Juice Sleep Dust while I read in bed. I am currently reading Hillbilly Elegy."

 
 

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playa

 
 

Whether a morning meditation or afternoon cup of tea, the rituals we practice serve us more than we realize. They are our life’s bookends, moments we rely on and enjoy. For mamas especially, these small ceremonies are what gets us through the day. At A Wild Dove, we are so inspired by rituals, that we’ve asked some of our favorite women to share their smallest, most celebrated acts that help them feel their best.

 

Dove Loves - "Pursoma After The Class" Bath

Written by Lynn Levoy | Photographed by Jennifer Young

 
 
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Welcome back to Dove Loves, our definitive guide to the products and pieces we're loving - our favorites du jour, the holy grail of what we're coveting, researching, talking about, and obsessing over.

 
 

“pur” (French for “pure”)  +  “soma”

(an Ayurvedic term meaning transformation of self)   

The act of purifying the body and transitioning to an exceptional state of being


 

We all live crazy hectic lives. Especially as mamas. Trying to fit in self care on a regular basis often seems impossible. Shannon Vaughn, founder of Pursoma, totally got that and well, changed the game. As a yogi and mama who suffered a series of health issues, she launched the beauty wellness company to create products that buffer the effect of urban toxicity and allow people to take time for themselves and disconnect from their devices.

 
 
 
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So when I saw my two of my faves had collabed, I had to try. Pursoma “After The Class” Bath is a blend of magnesium (to relieve soreness - yes please!), French Grey Sea Salt (detoxifying) and aromatherapy. AND it comes with a different crystal to help set an intention. The smell is beyond and you really sweat. It is SO. GOOD. I’ve been adding it in 1-2x a week and notice a huge difference - I feel leaner and have much better workouts throughout the week. But most importantly, I am taking that time for me to reset and balance. At A Wild Dove, we are all about setting intentions for mindfulness into the new year. With my Pursoma “After the Class” Bath, it is the perfect way to start...

 
 

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Pursoma

Our Signature Learning Workshop with Bob Roth, Master of TM

Written by Lynn Levoy | Photographed by Jennifer Young

 
 
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I’ve heard  so much about Transcendental Meditation for years. I have many friends, with varying professions and personalities, who swear by how it has changed their lives - that they can’t imagine life without it, that it allows them to manage their day with more clarity and focus and less stress. But I always had an excuse. I was too busy and couldn’t quiet my mind (the exact reason I needed it), or my workouts were my form of meditation (perhaps, but definitely not the same).

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So, when I was given the opportunity to learn TM directly from the source, Bob Roth, CEO of The David Lynch Foundation, and the most seeked-out TM teacher with a yearlong waiting list, I could not pass it up. And the timing felt just right for me. I had recently been seeking out new forms of self care and knew in my gut the stars were aligned for this one.

 
 

After my first lesson on a Sunday night, I was hooked. It was an amazing, life-changing experience. I felt like a new person - lighter, clearer, more focused, calmer. I couldn’t wait to get up the next morning to meditate. After four days of learning with Bob - an hour and a half the first day, one hour the next three days and a mantra later - I was on my way and mediating twice a day. First thing in the morning and then again in the afternoon somewhere between 2:00-5:00. To be honest, I thought this would be impossible to fit in, but it’s the same as any other appointment. I look at my schedule the night before and figure out where I can do it - sometimes it’s in the back of an Uber, sometimes in a beautiful, quiet place. Truthfully, it doesn’t really matter, TM is an amazing tool you always have and can do anywhere. At the end of the day, I crave it and I see the huge difference it makes in my work, personal relationships and in parenting. I find I never reach that level of frustration, and I don’t need to take a breath, because I just don't get to that point. I know it’s hard to believe, but I am truly so much calmer and everything else just seems to flow with such ease. What’s also so great about TM is that anyone, no matter where they live and what they do, can learn TM from a certified teacher. You don’t have to be in New York or learn from Bob, but it really is universal, which is what’s so amazing. TM.org also makes it easy to find a certified teacher in any neighborhood. 

 
 
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So with this in mind, I knew I had to gather my favorite mamas and women to have Bob share his knowledge about TM. These are the women who embody everything A Wild Dove is about and who place a huge emphasis on self care for themselves and their family. So we gathered at The David Lynch Foundation one evening, over snacks from Dr. Smood and drinks from Dirty Lemon and Bob began the session by explaining what TM is and how it differs from other forms of meditation. He spoke about the incredible benefits of the practice, how our brains find their deepest states of rest and a reduced rate of cortisol (stress hormone) of up to 40 percent (compared to an 8 hour night of sleep, which only reduces cortisol levels 10-15%).  He explained that we are given a mantra, that it is ours alone and that we use it to access the deepest, quietest purist level of the heart, that it’s a gentle effortless process.

 
 
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He then invited one of his students who has been with him for nearly a decade to talk about how TM has changed herself, her family dynamic and her relationship with her husband and her son. She explained that by practicing TM with her husband, her home has reached a state of peaceful calm. They used to rush around and lose their patience easily, and now even when they’re rushing, they can invoke that calm whether on the way to school or doing the most mundane tasks. She had her son learn TM at 5 years old also and feels better knowing that he has something to call upon that is entirely his. Bob is an expert is teaching TM to children, as through his organization The David Lynch Foundation, he’s brought the benefits of TM to hundreds of thousands of at-risk children. It was a wonderful evening and I can only hope that my fellow mamas and friends will go on to learn TM and experience the tremendous benefits that I have found in such a short time. 

 
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Even though it’s only been  a couple of months, Callum sees how important TM is to me. He recently turned 8, but I believe so strongly this can be a game changer for him. If all children were equipped with these tools, they’d be able to focus better  in school, deal with their academic and social frustrations and all sort of issues. I plan to introduce it to him gently this coming  year in the hopes that he’s up for it. For now, I plan to keep up my twice daily meditations and spread the gospel of TM to anyone willing to listen. It is truly a life-changing practice and I am so grateful for it.

 
 
 
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Be the first to sign up for Bob's book, The Power of Transcendental Meditation, out on February 6th. All proceeds are be donated to the David Lynch Foundation, which will help provide free Transcendental Mediation instruction to veterans suffering from PTSD.

 
 
 

We are committed to bringing one of a kind experiences to mamas and children. Learn more about our unique upcoming events.

 
 

Rituals - Tata Harper

 

Tata Harper, Founder of Tata Harper Skincare

 
 
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My first ritual of the morning and last ritual of the day is...

"Meditating. I try to give myself half an hour when I wake up and right before bed. It helps me go into my day feeling centered, and unwind before sleep. I have dark curtains in my room to keep out the light in the morning so I can focus. Sometimes I’ll play relaxing music too, especially at night. I love to hear a lot of piano - George Winston is so relaxing. I also really like Indian devotional bhajans."

 
 

 
 

Whether a morning meditation or afternoon cup of tea, the rituals we practice serve us more than we realize. They are our life’s bookends, moments we rely on and enjoy. For mamas especially, these small ceremonies are what gets us through the day. At A Wild Dove, we are so inspired by rituals, that we’ve asked some of our favorite women to share their smallest, most celebrated acts that help them feel their best.

 

Dove Loves - Natura Bisse Diamond Extreme

Written by Lynn Levoy | Photographed by Jennifer Young

 
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Welcome back to Dove Loves, our definitive guide to the products and pieces we're loving - our favorites du jour, the holy grail of what we're coveting, researching, talking about, and obsessing over.

 
 

It might sound dramatic, but here goes - I present to you The Holy Grail of body creams.  Natura Bisse Diamond Extreme is by far the best cream I have ever used. It is so hydrating, yet totally absorbs into the skin easily and smoothly. I used it all summer and it never felt too thick, and even now as summer has turned to blistering almost-winter, it is equally as hydrating and replenishing.  It also firms, improves elasticity and leaves my skin looking glowy.  I use in the morning and evening and I’ll often mix it with Best Skin Ever for a double shot of nourishment and moisture. Let’s just say I’d be extremely grateful if Diamond Extreme wound up in my stocking this holiday...

 
 
 
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Natura Bisse

A Wild Dove x The Cristalline: Part Deux

Written by A Wild Dove | Photographed by Ciara Brinn Perrone

 
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The last time we partnered with The Cristalline on a signature learning workshop, we were taking it easy and breezy in East Hampton over the dog-days of summer. Fast forward a few months, and we figured it was time for another crystal meditation experience with our little ones, so we dialed up co- founder, Rashia Bell to figure out the who/what/where for our part deux. We love The Cristalline for so many reasons, not least of which is because their primary role is that of interior designers, where they create positive, healing spaces through their use of crystals that can completely transform their clients’ health, career and well-being. Rashia is also a certified crystal healer, who uses her knowledge to educate others on their endless benefits for the mind, body and spirit.

 
 
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So on a sunny Saturday in December, we got the kids together at Red Flower in Nolita, the absolute perfect venue for the class, since this beauty haven is already stocked with rose quartz and crystals. Before we even began, the vibes were oozing with love, light and positivity. While the kids snacked on Watermelon Jerky by Sakara, the mamas stood around chatting holiday plans and nibbling on Sakara’s Beauty Chocolate and sipping on Health-Ade Kombucha’s new flavors like Holiday Cheers and Reishi-Chocolate.

 
 
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Rashia began working with the children, who were surprisingly armed with some gem and mineral knowledge. She began the class by talking a bit about the science of crystals and formed a connection between the facts and experiments that the kids were already doing in school. “If they understand how stones are formed on a scientific level first, then it makes it that much easier to see how there is energy within them,” Rashia said. She then created a fun drawing and matching game, where the kids matched the stone to its property. For the grand finale, the kids were able to select stones to meditate with and explored the different sensations they felt, like temperature change, tingling, and other physical elements. “The children are really great at tapping into the differences between the energy of different stones,” she said.

 
 
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Some of the stones the children worked with included:

  • Obsidian for Grounding 
  • Amethyst for Intuition 
  • Clear Quartz for Balance 
  • Carnelian for Courage 
  • Blue Lace Agate for Communication 
  • Citrine for Creativity 
  • Selenite for Clearing 
  • Green Aventurine for Self Love
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While the excitement of the holiday season was aflutter outside, it was amazing that our kids were given the chance to stop and chill for a minute and connect back to mindfulness via crystals and meditation.  "It is great when moms have their own mindfulness practice, but it is awesome to have the opportunity to empower children to create their own that they are able to share with their friends and family," Rashia said.

We couldn’t agree more.

 
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We are committed to bringing one of a kind experiences to mamas and children. Learn more about our unique upcoming events.

 
 

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The Cristalline

Rituals - Ruby Warrington

 
 
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My first ritual of the morning is...

"20 minutes of Transcendental Meditation, followed by breakfast with my husband - hot water and  lemon, my special oatmeal (oats, chia seeds, hemp milk, He Shou Wu, Ashwaganda, Maca, with mashed banana and walnuts) and Harney & Sons Japanese Sencha green tea. "

 
 
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My favorite ritual alone is...

"I try to remember to smudge my devices with Palo Santo every month. Email, text and social media means my phone and Mac are processing a ton of energy on a daily basis! And of course, dancing - wildly."

 

My last ritual of the day is...

"Reading a novel for 20 to 30 minutes. Currently "1984" (although I’m stalling at the torture scenes). Also, I charge all my crystals on the Full Moon. I have a back garden at my home in Brooklyn and I leave them outside on the night of the Full Moon."

 
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The Numinous

 
 

Whether a morning meditation or afternoon cup of tea, the rituals we practice serve us more than we realize. They are our life’s bookends, moments we rely on and enjoy. For mamas especially, these small ceremonies are what gets us through the day. At A Wild Dove, we are so inspired by rituals, that we’ve asked some of our favorite women to share their smallest, most celebrated acts that help them feel their best.

 

Dove Loves - Conscious Coconut

Written by Lynn Levoy | Photographed by Jennifer Young

 
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Welcome back to Dove Loves, our definitive guide to the products and pieces we're loving - our favorites du jour, the holy grail of what we're coveting, researching, talking about, and obsessing over.

 
 

I love this coconut oil for so many reasons. But my number one is that the brand, Conscious Coconut is a social enterprise fueled by love, with the deep-held belief of paying it forward and giving it back. Conscious Coconut works directly with farmers and suppliers and supports fair trade practices. Even its tubes are packaged with love by adults with developmental disabilities at the MacDonald Training Center in Tampa. This brand is the definition of empowering, both to its customers and to its employees. For every purchase it receives, a child is given a meal through Feeding America food banks. If that’s not a reason to purchase, I don’t know what is.

 
 
 
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But the at-home benefit comes in its life-saving benefits. I literally douse Callum in coconut oil from head to toe. It is the best product I have found that works on his skin and hair, both of which get super dry. Most coconut oils I've used get really hard and impossible to squeeze out, but this somehow always stays the perfect consistency.  And it’s not too thick but really gets absorbed (and of course smells yummy). Callum loves it too, which is equally important. I use it every night after his shower and then on his hair in the morning.  I love knowing that when I use it on Callum, the only ingredient in the product is USDA organic cold-pressed virgin coconut oil, and that it’s benefitting so many people in need. What’s not to love about that?

 
 

Stay Sane this Holiday with Mindful Practices by Jamie Graber

Written by A Wild Dove | Photographed by Caitlin Mitchell

 
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Jamie Graber, of Organically Jamie, refers to herself as a “mindshifter.” She helps clients discover their best selves through energy and breathwork. The goal? To break old patterns and change belief systems.  As the former owner of Gingersnaps Organic Cafe, Jamie has become something of a shapeshifter, herself after realizing that her true calling came in the form of talk therapy. “My clients and I go super deep into energy work to get to the subconscious, where all of the healing takes place,” says Jamie. “Because the subconscious is always in a state of protection, we often replay bad memories and events all from a place of fear. But we don’t have to keep replaying the pain of the past. We can visit these events and thank them for lessons and move on.” And how exactly do her clients move on? Through movement and meditation, which Jamie believes is a tool to get us into the quiet long enough to see the signs to achieve the life we want and break old habits. “With meditation, our lives can come from a place of ease and grace instead of reaction,” she says.

So this holiday season, amidst the family chaos - when kids are up past bedtimes and you’ve had that third piece of pie - channel your inner mindshifter with these movement tools, straight from Jamie’s toolkit. A little self-care and self-love this holiday will go a long way.

 
 

The One Minute Breath

Jamie - "The one minute breath is one of the easiest ways to create a state of calm.  This meditation can quickly ease your mind, eliminating fear and worry.  It helps you to get deeper in the body and in the present moment. You can do this in the morning, evening, or anytime you feel stressed.

One Minute Breath = 1 cycle per minute. 20 seconds to inhale, 20 seconds hold, 20 seconds to exhale.  This is the ideal version but do what you can, 10,10,10 or 5, 5, 5…Just keep it even and work up to the longer cycles…Be calm with the breath, don’t force it."

What you’ll hear: "The audio file will include tuning in, a three minute basic spine series warm up and then 11 minutes of one minute breath.  You can continue with it longer, up through 31 minutes. There will be music and I will be calling out all the cues and when to switch.  It starts with TUNING IN and then the WARM UP.  “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo” said three times. It means, I bow to the Creative Wisdom, I bow to the Divine Teacher within. Ad Guray Nameh Jugad Guray Nameh Sat Guray Nameh Siri Guru Devay Nameh said three times. I bow to the primal wisdom. I bow to the wisdom through the ages. I bow to the true wisdom.I bow to the great unseen wisdom."

 
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Warm Up-Basic Spine

  1. Then a 3 minute WARM UP of Basic Spine Flex. Come into Easy Pose (a comfortable cross-legged sitting position). Inhale as you lift the chest up high and tilt the pelvis forward. Then exhale, round the lower back, and rock the pelvis back. Remember to lift the chest up high on each inhale and keep the chin level to the ground in both positions. Continue for 3 minutes.
  2. This is good to lubricate the spine, and move the energy.  It adjusts the spine, strengthens the nervous and reproductive systems, and brings the emotions into balance. It is not part of the meditation, but beneficial to warm up the spine.
 
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One Minute Breath

  1. Sit in Easy Pose with Neck Lock. 
    • Neck Lock: Lift the chest and sternum up while lengthening the back of the neck, by pulling the chin toward the back of the neck. Neck, throat and face muscles remain relaxed.
  2. Inhale very slowly for 20 OR 10 OR 5 seconds.
  3. Hold for 20 OR 10 OR 5 seconds, pull the spine up, drop the shoulders.
  4. Exhale very slowly for 20 OR 10 OR 5  seconds.
  5. Continue in that pattern. Just keep the numbers for each part of the breath the same.
 

Adapted from The Library of Teachings and KRI Teachers Manual.

 
 
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Ego Eradicator

Jamie - "This is a great way to start your day or to give you more energy. It fires the navel chakra, the chakra for digestion and overcoming obstacles. It opens your aura and extends your magnetic field. "

Posture - Raise the arms up to a 60 degree angle. Keep the elbows straight and the shoulders down. Apply Neck Lock (Lift the chest and sternum up while lengthening the back of the neck, by pulling the chin toward the back of the neck. Neck, throat and face muscles remain relaxed.) Curl the fingertips on to the pads of the palms at the base of the fingers. Thumbs are stretched back, pointing towards each other.
 

 
 
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Eyes - Eyes are closed.

Mental Focus - Focus above the head.

Breath - Breath of Fire
Breath of Fire is one of the foundational breath techniques used in the practice of Kundalini Yoga. It is important to master this breath so that it is done accurately and becomes automatic. Breath of Fire is rapid, rhythmic, and continuous. It is equal on the inhale and the exhale, with no pause between them (approximately 2-3 cycles per second). It is always practiced through the nostrils with the mouth closed, unless stated otherwise. To inhale, the upper abdominal muscles relax, the diaphragm extends down, and the breath seems to come in as part of relaxation rather than through effort. The chest stays relaxed and slightly lifted throughout the breathing cycle.

Time - Continue for 1 – 11 minutes.

To end - Inhale deeply and bring the arms overhead with the thumbtips touching. Open the fingers, exhale and relax the arms down. 

Adapted from 3HO and Library of teachings

 
 

Kriya for Healthy Digestion

What You’ll Hear -  "On the audio file, there will be music and I will be calling out all the cues and when to switch.  It starts with TUNING IN and then the WARM UP.  “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo” said three times. It means, I bow to the Creative Wisdom, I bow to the Divine Teacher within. Ad Guray Nameh Jugad Guray Nameh Sat Guray Nameh Siri Guru Devay Nameh said three times. I bow to the primal wisdom. I bow to the wisdom through the ages. I bow to the true wisdom.I bow to the great unseen wisdom."

Warm Up -  "Then a 3 minute WARM UP of basic spine series going as fast as you can.  This is good to lubricate the spine, and move the energy.  It adjusts the spine, strengthens the nervous and reproductive systems, and brings the emotions into balance. It also helps to move energy up the spine to the upper Chakras to enhance meditation. It is one of the most common things to do during morning meditation, to wake up your spine and your Kundalini energy, for vitality all day long."

 
 
 

Beginning Windmill Pose

  1. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  2. Bring the arms straight out to the sides parallel to ground, palms down.
  3. Twist to the left and then bend forward from the waist, bringing the right hand to the left foot and the left arm straight up in back.
  4. Reverse the motion as you come up.
  5. Continue moving up and down in a rhythm of about 10 seconds per cycle. (1 minute)
  6. Now switch to the right side and continue moving up and down in a rhythm of about 10 seconds per cycle. (1 minute)
  7. Continue the same motion but alternating left right and pausing for 5 seconds as the hand touches the foot. (3 minutes)
  8. Continue the same alternating motion, but pause for 25 seconds as the hand touches each foot. (2 minutes)
  9. Now hold position touching the foot on left side. (2 minutes)
  10. Now hold position touching the foot on right side. (2 minutes)
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Relaxation

Lying down, eyes closed 2 minutes.

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Side Bends

  1. Come standing up, with legs hip width apart, arms parallel to floor and palms down.
  2. Bend to the side from the waist, letting the left arm come down the left side as the right arm comes up. Keep the right arm straight.
  3. Come back to original position.
  4. Then stretch down to the right side and return to original position.
  5. 6 seconds per side. (1 Minute)
 
 

Standing Torso Twist

  1. Start in the position of the previous exercise.
  2. Inhale as you twist the torso and arms all the way to the left, exhale back to original position, then inhale as you twist on around to the right and exhale back to the center always keeping the arms in a straight line with each other. 2 to 3 seconds per complete cycle.(1 minute)
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Deep Relaxation

Lying on the back, eyes closed, about 10 minutes.

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Rituals - Melissa Wood

 

Founder of Melissa Wood Health

 

 
 
 
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My first ritual of the morning is...

"saying one thing I’m grateful for the second my feet hit the floor...a morning cuddle session with Benjamin...reading my daily lesson in A Course In Miracles…drinking warm water with lemon...and twenty minute meditation."

 
 
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Whether a morning meditation or afternoon cup of tea, the rituals we practice serve us more than we realize. They are our life’s bookends, moments we rely on and enjoy. For mamas especially, these small ceremonies are what gets us through the day. At A Wild Dove, we are so inspired by rituals, that we’ve asked some of our favorite mamas to share their smallest, most celebrated acts that help them feel their best.

 

Dove Loves - Joanna Vargas Forever Glow Masks

Written by Lynn Levoy  | Photographed by Jennifer Young

 
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Welcome back to Dove Loves, our definitive guide to the products and pieces we're loving - our favorites du jour, the holy grail of what we're coveting, researching, talking about, and obsessing over.

 
 

I love all things by celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas, but her masks are my absolute favorite. Her Forever Glow Anti-Aging Face Mask is amazing, it  hydrates, firms AND reduces lines and wrinkles. Need I say more? It’s so good. I try to use it at least three to four times a week in the morning. (I usually end up using it while I’m doing the morning marathon of getting Callum ready for school - gotta try to be as time efficient as possible) ! I mean, us mamas need our forever glow...forever!

 
 
 
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Strike a Pose

Written by A Wild Dove | Photographed by Ciara Brinn Perrone

 
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Countless studies have shown that practicing yoga not only benefits adults, but children too. From decreasing anxiety to promoting a state of calm and happiness, the positive outcomes of a regular yoga practice extend from the mini-set all the way to the elderly. Since we’re all about wellness for both mamas and kids, we knew we needed to dedicate one of our signature learning workshops to the practice of yoga, and who better to lead it than Eda Ozman, teacher of Power Cubs kids yoga at Lyons Den, our favorite spot for some downward dogging into the mind, body and spirit.

 
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“I believe that kids who are exposed to yoga and mindfulness are building a strong foundation for a healthy and happy life,” said Eda. “They are learning essential skills at a young age such as respect, compassion, the ability to regulate emotions and building a connection to self and others.”
 
 
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So on a recent Sunday we decamped to the Outdoor Voices boutique on the Upper East Side for a fun kiddo yoga sesh. It was the perfect setting, as not only does OV promote #doingthings at all ages, but it’s all about the magic of movement with friends. As mamas snacked on popcorn and Detox and Energy bars by Sakara and sipped on Dirty Lemon Ginseng and Matcha juices (cuz, it’s Sunday morning), Eda began the yoga practice. She started with a group Om before leading the children into a Sun Dance. They also practiced breathing exercises, and she showed them eagle, tree, airplane and group flower poses, as well as Warrior 1, 2 and 3. “The kids were very receptive to the tools I taught,” Eda said. “I’ve been teaching kids for two years and every class is so different. I quickly learned that while it is good to have a structured lesson plan, you may have to shift and change the class based on the energy of the group. This keeps me on my toes and really trains me to be present.”

 
 
 
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The kids also worked on their partner poses and engaged in a group stretching circle as they held hands and moved back and forth. Eda then blew bubbles while the kids watched in an effort to teach them patience and observation. Then, of course, they blew their own to work on breath. Eda ended in Savasana with short explanation of the meaning of “Namaste” as the children said the word to each other. “The kids teach me a lot about myself and how to be more patient,” Eda said. “When they don't listen, instead of getting worked up, I am able to notice my emotions and not react right away. Kids are like a sponge in that they are in touch and aware of everything happening around them.  As a kids yoga teacher, it's crucial to remember this and lead by example to create a safe space where kids feel accepted and understood.”

 
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We are committed to bringing one of a kind experiences to mamas and children. Learn more about our unique upcoming events.

 
 

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