Closer to Mother Earth

Written & Photographed by A Wild Dove

 
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High in the mountains of Malibu, overlooking the Pacific Ocean in a home so elevated that some planes can’t even reach it, Nitsa Citrine is living the life for which she was born. And, of course, that happened in California (inside of a cabin in Big Sur, no less) in a “very intimate home birth” designed by two very health-conscious parents who guided their daughter down a path to plant-based wellness and earthly kindness.

Now a Co-Creator and Creative Director of Sun Potion’s superfood tonics and wellness essentials, Nitsa still consults her father (an acupuncturist and doctor of Oriental medicine) with questions about herbs— but for personal culinary guidance, her grandmother is the family go-to. “She taught me how to cook and it is something we continue to bond and share a passion for,” says Nitsa. Sitting on her deck taking in nature at 4,000 feet in the air, where two golden eagles have recently started to visit, there’s “a tranquility and clarity of vision here that deeply resonates” in her thoughtful daily escape.

We caught Nitsa between her world travels to break down her favorite adaptogenic blends, the simple trick to getting her out of a grumpy mood, and the “herbal love note” she created for all of the women seeking the balance they deserve:

 
 

You spent your last birthday in Joshua Tree (happy birthday!), what was your trip like and how did it feel to ring in another year in nature?

Thank you! Yes. My girlfriend brought me to Joshua Tree (one of my favorite places) as a surprise birthday getaway—it was so magical. Joshua tree has always been a place of great inspiration and I feel super grateful for this recent trip and every experience I have had there.

The energetic and visual palate of the desert resonates with me deeply. I love to disappear on my birthday the whole experience was quite sublime…it also happened to be DESERT X where they set up all these incredible art installations and so it was the perfect blend of desert solitude, light, art installations, yummy food, meditation and gentle celebrations.

 

As a Pisces water baby, do you find yourself relying on bathing culture to chill you out and reset your energy?

YES. I am happiest when immersed in a body of water.

I always tell my friends that If I am in a grumpy mood all they have to do is throw me in the bath or shower. Total rebirth.

 
 
 

Were you this health-focused even as a kid, or did you experience your own vices?

My father is an Acupuncturist and doctor of Oriental Medicine, and my mother is a huge advocate of healing through plant-based foods. So, in a sense, this nutritional approach to wellness is in my blood, but naturally I have had my rebellious moments. I used to sneak Diet Coke and Reese’s Pieces into my room as a kid…(eek!)

When I was a teen, my father started a medicinal-grade pressed juicery as an intensive cleanse protocol for some of his terminally ill patients. He would wake up at 4am every morning to make juice and would bring me tiny vials of green juice to drink before school. I would hide them under my bed and my sweet father would find them (full of rotting green juice) while he was vacuuming—I was terrible! Of course, the irony is I now make it a point to head down to Erewhon to get my green juice almost every day.

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What steps in your life led you to Sun Potion?

Divine alignments and following a path of love and service.

Scott Linde, the Founder of Sun Potion and I met in 2011 right when he began the project. We became friends, bonded over our love of the herbs, and fell in love. I was a yoga teacher, massage therapist, and aspiring filmmaker at the time and we lived together.

At a certain point he needed help with a redesign of the labels, websites, brand, etc. so I stepped in, we realized we worked well together and have been working together ever since. Our relationship has evolved and while we are no longer romantic partners, we are still close friends and allies for life—both deeply committed to making these plants available to the world.

 

At this point, you’re probably used to having to break down exactly what an adaptogen is since the term is finally buzzing through even mainstream beauty spaces—what’s the easiest way to explain it?

A plant that when consumed helps the body to respond to stressors with more resilience, intelligence, and— for lack of a better word—adaptability.

 
 
 
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What sets Sun Potion apart from other brands in the vast sea of supplements?

I feel the relationships we have developed over the years with our sources are unique and a testament to our mutual commitment to quality. We also make it a point to offer these adaptogens in their most bioavailable form as well so that our bodies can fully absorb and utilize their healing properties.

We source our tonic herbs mushroom and superfoods from all over the world. Always organic or wild harvested, we set our priority to work with farms and labs practicing regenerative agriculture and integrity throughout all steps of the process.

 

Ashwagandha is our desert island pick, are you able to share a few of the benefits that one can expect (as well as how to use it) to newbies who haven’t yet tried it?

Ashwagandha is amazing for immunity, stress relief, to help reduce inflammation and balance hormones. I introduced it into my diet to help me with some nervous system and hormone imbalances. I have a tendency towards anxiety and depression, and when I was younger, an irregular cycle. I feel taking ashwagandha has helped me to stabilize my mood, moon, and lower cortisol levels.

It can be taken in warm water, tea, tonics, broth, shakes—even desserts. The trick is to find the format that can be taken consistently- just a half teaspoon every day can make all the difference. If you want alchemical inspiration, we publish beautiful recipes every week on our IG and journal. I am so amazed by his creative people can be with the herbs!

 
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What are your favorite adaptogens for women at different stages of life—young and free, pregnant and thriving, post-baby new life, etc?

My first recommendation for women is our Yin Power. It’s a blend of adaptogenic herbs that I formulated to support women of all ages and circumstances. It has a full spectrum of tonic herbs to support energy, immunity, glowing skin and balancing hormones.

I like to say it is like my “herbal love note” to all the amazing women in my life.

 

When do you think adaptogens and wellness tonics can be overkill, or how much is too much?

Haha…. hmmm…overkill can occur when people start taking things in excess, without a clear intention, and stop listening to their bodies.

 
 
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Love that you describe yourself as a hermit and are proudly extending the #hermit life tag into the digital universe—indoor or outdoor, what does a typical day look like for you?

When I am home, a typical day begins with a moment of gratitude and a few rounds of tea. If the weather permits, I will set up my tea zone on my deck, which overlooks the Santa Monica Mountains and Pacific Ocean.

I will pour a few bowls to sip and reflect in silence…it is my daily meditation. This is my favorite way to begin the day. Tea is typically followed by a more structured seated meditation. Then I will check my phone, emails, touch base with my team and begin my work day.

At some point I will find myself in the kitchen and will make an adaptogenic potion for breakfast. I will then proceed into the “work power mode” part of the day—I try to work from home as much as possible, unless, of course, I am traveling. I love to travel for work and in general, and I love to be home—perhaps that is how I find balance. I do have a tendency to hermit in my hotel room still.

 

As far as your beauty routine, is it exclusively skin care, some party makeup when you’re in the mood, all organic? Would love to hear your ride or die products.

Most days, I am pretty low key and make-up free. I use a combination of Shiva Rose, Osea, Living Libations, and loads of our wildcrafted Shea Butter (from Sun Potion).

If I am feeling extra, I may use a little Poppy and Someday Coriander Herbal Lip Stain on my cheeks and RMS Un Cover-Up Concealer for some nontoxic coverage on under-eye circles. I also love to treat myself to microcurrent facials with my friend Sadie as much as I can—they are truly multi-dimensional and I swear make me look (and more importantly, feel) years younger!

 

This is a tough one, so we saved it for the finale. If you had to transfer your spirit into another animal, person, or fictional character for a day, who/what would it be and why?

OOOHHHHH……. this is an interesting question, because if I was transferring my spirit, then it would still be me, yes? Just in a different form…hmmm…

I would say some fantasy character with super powers for sure…. Dumbledore from Harry Potter or Gandalf or Lady Galadriel from Lord of the Rings, haha. I am clearly a major NERD.

or

I would want to be Mother Earth. That would be incredible.

Final answer: Mother Earth.

 
 
 
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Sun Potion

No Nonsense Fitness with Mary Ann Browning

Written & Photographed by A Wild Dove

 
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“Never be a diva.” It’s the simple piece of advice that Mary Ann Browning, the athlete-meets-mogul behind New York and South Hampton’s buzzy Brownings Fitness gyms is quick to deliver. And it’s that real, no-nonsense attitude that attracts Manhattan’s highly coveted elite, from designer Vera Wang to Estee Lauder president John Demsey, in search of a trusted resource. “People like Vera and John act so unfamous—they are so real, kind, and generous like family to me, I’m truly blessed.”

 
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An Iron-Bound Ballerina

Browning is also quick to speak openly about all things body image and workout-centric without sugar-coating her real opinions. “Live life as if we did not have cell phones” and “no talking, just train” are just a couple of the stripped-back pieces of advice that she rolls out monthly on her short, stream-of-consciousness blog posts that cut straight to the point about everything from her experience with food issues to finding a work-life balance. And that experience is vast—Principal Ballet dancer in South Africa’s Pact Ballet Company was just the first step in a life of body work. “I was always athletic, but it made me very disciplined,” Browning notes, adding that she actually prefers to have muscles, eventually even becoming an Iron Man competitor years later. “People are scared of muscle. To me, it’s the holy grail to a great body and flexibility,” says Browning. “You only get big if you eat too much, and too much protein— which most Americans do.” In her opinion, our country’s entire lens on body image and nutrition is skewed. “I would like to go to schools all over America and educate the children,” she shares of her ultimate goal. “It’s my plan, but trying to help their parents is my current project.”

 
 
 
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The Broader Focus

At 44, Browning become a trainer for a cool 38 dollars per hour (“before tax”) and started racking up work loads of about 60 hours per week. She eventually realized it was time to step back, evaluate her life, and look at the bigger picture. “A client suggested it was time I made a plan so I didn’t have to be the only one making money,” Browning shares. “I still work more than my staff, but it’s a good back up plan.” For a time, her fitness empire had a staggering nine locations, but over the years she pared it down to her two stars, Manhattan and South Hampton, choosing a better quality of life over financial gains. “It’s more efficient to have less,” she says simply.

And on a physical level, to achieve her personal goal of “growing younger” she relies on rest, nutrition, and flexibility—not to mention an attitude that’s as firm-but-fair with herself as her clients. “I tell myself not to get soft. Push more. Try more.” This means running regularly (even after a knee replacement), golfing, biking, walking, and especially weight training. “I am a huge believer in weights, I lift very heavy,” she notes, with the ties between bone health and weight training offering further motivation.

 
 
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A Higher Power

Courage, gratefulness, and discipline are the three values Browning calls out as the mainstays that carried her through every phase of her career in the fitness space. But still, there’s more to Browning’s success than just rock bodies. “I’m a big believer in a higher power,” she shares candidly. “I believe it gives me the strength when things are tough. If you don’t have somebody to rely on, the only other place is to be depressed. Fortunately for me, I don’t look at the glass as half full, I look at the glass as full.” It’s this innate positivity that shines through in Browning’s attitude. Even the power of a smile is something that she speaks of often. Perhaps the only time she isn’t encouraging that extra push for maximum muscle engagement is via this simple, joyful expression. “It takes about 72 muscles to frown and just 13 to smile. Let’s save our energy on our face muscles and only smile.” And most importantly? “Be kind. Stay grateful and positive.”

 
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Say it Straight

In the spirit of forthright conversational style, we teamed up with Browning for her exclusive list of personal YES’s and NO’s as a final takeaway for personal life training:

YES: At-home selfcare. “I paint my own nails.”

NO: Drinking smoothies and juices

YES: Eat your food

NO: Coffee after 2pm

YES: H2O “I believe in drinking a lot of water.”

NO: Seamless delivery “I don’t do takeout.”

YES: Flexibility “I book yoga or massage at least once a week.”

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NO: Too much protein and fat

YES: Incorporating more complex carbs “I eat them every day.”

NO: Skipping breakfast

YES: Veggies and brown rice

NO: Dieting

YES: Homemade no-sugar banana bread. “I eat it every day.”

NO: Red meat

YES: L-Carnitine 2000 mg supplement “I believe it helps burn fat.”

NO: Television in bed

YES: A little tequila “Sometimes I’ll have one ounce every single day with my soda and lime juice.”

NO: Burning the candle at both ends “If I start at 6am working late at night is a no-no.”

YES: Naps. “I certainly do believe in a catnap.”

NO: Patience or time for facials. “I decide where I spend, I prefer a pedicure, blowout or massage.”

 

Next-Gen Mindfulness

Written by A Wild Dove | Photographed by Osvaldo Ponton

 
 
 
 

Walking into The Sacred Space’s lofty entrance in Miami’s Wynwood Arts Disctrict, at first glance you may not expect its gallery-like setting to be the perfect venue for a kid-friendly escape. Crisp white, neon-lit, and peppered with crystals, the gilded LOVE OVER FEAR sign drenched in sunlight is the first hint at founder Karla Dascal’s holistic, community-driven vision. An attitude that “love is everything” drives Dascal’s efforts toward conscious, high-vibrational living (not to mention years of recognition as one of the top event designers in the country) and sets the stage for this singular urban oasis she’s created in the heart of the city.

 
 
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In an effort to open the experience to parents and children for the first time, A Wild Dove teamed up with The Joy Alchemist to host the multi-dimensional Magical Wellness Wonderland experience. The whispers-only atmosphere that so often comes along with formal spaces was delightfully skirted by an inclusive opportunity to share mindful practices with our youngest generation. And isn’t that the point? An afternoon of thoughtful experiences offered kids an introduction into everything from healing crystals to meditation—plus a wealth of hands-on creative outlets and healthy snacks thanks to Radiate Kombucha and Cielito Artisan Pops.

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Meeting of the minds. Founder of The Sacred Space, Karla Dascal (left), founder of The Joy Alchemist Daniela Garcia (center) with Lynn Levoy.

 
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Lil’ guests chose their spirit animals, from butterflies to lions and tigers, as inspiration for the afternoon’s outdoor face painting station.

 
 
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In The Sacred Space’s lush courtyard, A Wild Dove’s Lynn Levoy with Buffy Koczwara (left) and Orion Nevel, Co-Founder of Gryph & IvyRose.

 
 

Gathering inside the serene sanctuary, The Cristalline’s Rashia Bell helped children get a first grasp at the importance of their day-to-day environment and the powers of energetic stones. Breathing lessons got a hands-on boost from Komuso’s wearable tool The Shift, which doubles as a necklace to encourage pausing, destressing, and feeling present in the moment. Gryph & IvyRose joined the group with their pediatrician-approved line of children’s elixirs (and organic heart-shaped chocolates!) designed to boost miniature immune systems with a blend of Traditional Chinese Medicine and organic herbs.

 
 
 
 
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Sweet treats in the form of artisanal vegan popsicles were quick hits from the Cielito Artisan Pops spread.

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Daniela Garcia, Lauren Arboleda, Laura Galvis, Rebecca Eisenmann, Annette Felder, Paloma Teppa, Sarah MacMillan, Mary Gamarra, Danielle Bigby, Lynn Levoy

 
 
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Lounging on blankets of painting tarps, children mixed up their finger-painting instincts with stamps cleverly cut from repurposed peppers, potatoes, apples, lemons and even celery stalks.

 
 
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Whether making fruit stamps in Gryph & IvyRoses’s natural art lessons, bonding over braids by Shop Flow, or reading A Time for Rain aloud with New York Times best-selling co-author Kelly Brogan M.D., age barriers blurred for the day of future-focused wellness workshops.

 
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Author of the children’s book A Time for Rain, Kelly Brogan host a storytelling gathering.

 
 
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Circling up for a moment for instruction. Rashia Bell, co-founder of The Cristalline, hosts her workshop on the energetic power of crystals and a customized meditation practice.

 
 
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The next generation. Grouping up with the founders and their very special guests.

 

A Holistic Approach

Written by A Wild Dove | Photographed by Georgia Connick

 
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While other women her age were hanging out with their friends, Sarah Wragge (now a Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach) spent her afternoons in and out of gastroenterologists’ offices. By the time she was 18, she had had a colonoscopy and two upper endoscopies, which showed nothing wrong, though she had never felt worse. She would go on to experiment with many different antacids, prescriptions and pharmaceutical concoctions, but nothing worked. Sarah was in such horrible shape - with inflammation, pain and various health issues - that it infringed on her professional, social and emotional life. Finally she had enough. Six years ago Sarah visited an acupuncturist who took one look under her tongue and said that she had textbook candida. She went on a 60 day cleanse with plant-based foods and self-care tools and suddenly she found herself strong, lean and feeling great. She embraced whole, unprocessed foods and endless amounts of energy and created a new lifestyle that inspired her to help others. So Sarah launched Sweat-working, a company that networks and connects women over wellness and fitness-themed events. She even went onto get a degree from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and before long, created her own unique diet program based on her experience taking the clean approach. Needless to say, we are beyond inspired with her story. We sat down with Sarah to talk fitness, medicine and how she gets her cheat on (she does!)

 
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Your story is so powerful and truly resonates with me. I went undiagnosed with mercury poisoning for over a year. I saw every doctor under the sun - Eastern and Western and everything in between. I was finally diagnosed by a Functional Doctor, so I know what a game changer this is. Can you share with our readers how, after spending your 20s in and out of doctors offices undiagnosed with chronic diseases, you enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition?

I struggled my whole life with chronic yeast infections, and I'm not just talking about “you know where.” I had them in my ears, believe it or not. So one morning, I went into my doctor's office so I could get my standard prescription of diflucan (a drug that I should have bought stock in I used it so much). A woman walked in. She looked at my chart and told me no way she was writing me another prescription and it was time to get to the root of the problem. I left that day with the number of the doctor's acupuncturist. I called Mia that day and my life was forever changed. It was no mistake that my regular doctor was sick that day. The universe handled me. Through Mia I met my holistic nutritionist / health coach and my journey began.

 
 
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I am also personally interested in the mental health part of eating & nutrition…can you dive into that connection for us?

I practice holistic nutrition because I believe it's not just about food. Food isn't the only thing that nourishes us. Music nourishes us, playing with a baby nourishes us, cuddling and laughing nourishes us. We have to feed our souls just as much as we feed our bodies to be complete and well-rounded.

 

Totally. Can you tell us about your philosophy and the different programs you offer your clients?

My philosophy is simple. YOU choose to make a shift and it's a domino effect. I can't tell you how many times a woman/mom/wife comes to me in hopes to become her best self and a week or two in, her six- year -old is asking for a green smoothie. My programs are highly customized to the individual. Usually throughout the course of 12-16 weeks, I change the program two or three times to keep the individual progressing towards their goal. Just as we need to keep the body guessing when we are working out, the food plan has to be dynamic to support the client wherever they are in the process.

 
 
 
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I’m a strong believer that our kids should be eating the same foods as we do and I always have snacks in my bag that Callum and I can share. What are some of you faves that we can keep in our bags for those days when we’re on the go?

I couldn't agree more! Christian and I both LOVE Health Warrior Chia seed bars. Those are our go-to. I have also been known to carry around sliced purple sweet potatoes in his batman backpack for both of us after a play date. I choose the purple ones because they have less water than an orange ones - so it's not as messy when you're on the go!

 

How has the birth of your son changed your approach to food ? Does your partner share your parenting strategy when it comes to food?

When Christian was born I remember looking at him and thinking, "He's so pure. Untouched and Innocent.” All of my knowledge about what's in our food kept creeping up in my head. I didn't want to taint him and pollute his beautiful little system. My husband does share in my parenting strategy when it comes to food. We have a great balance because just as I would feed him kale smoothies and organic chicken all day long, I want him to be a normal kid. I want him to be able to have birthday cake on his birthday and pizza at pizza parties.

 
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Please tell us how you indulge once in a while! What is “worth it” for you? And how do you get back on track when you occasionally derail?

I am really a clean eater until I am NOT, and then I go for it. Saturday nights are my time that I let things go a bit. Usually we have dinner out with friends or a dinner party and nothing tastes better after a jam packed work week, regular exercise and clean eating than a Don Julio Reposado with club soda and fresh lime juice. As far as what's "worth it" for me - french fries and warm chocolate chip cookies.

 
 
 
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Yum. I know you love working out as much I do. What are favorites workouts at the moment and why?

I am a tried and true AKT fan. There is no more efficient and fun workout on the planet and believe me, I've tried them ALL.

 

What is your therapy?

A dance cardio class when I know the routine. I can add in my own style and get lost in it. Sometimes I'll discover parts of myself I didn't know were there. Like, wow, I am pretty sexy when I move like that. I didn't know I could do that with my hips. Connecting to movement is one of the most therapeutic things we can do.

 
 

What makes you fly?

Possibility.

 
 
 
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Sarah Wragge

Raising Our Vibrations

Written by Joy Dushey | Photographed by Conrado Veliz

 
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The term “raising vibrations” can often sound strangely abstract, like it’s a goal we want to reach for, but most of us have no clue how to get there. Well, according to Joy Dushey (our resident Flock member, wellness expert and founder of The Joyful Approach), the idea is that we can, in fact, learn to lift our vibrations to meet certain challenges through a myriad of disciplines. It’s particularly important for our children, who are exposed to our energy and mirror their own energy and vibrations based on ours. But how do we do it and what are the steps involved? Read on for Joy’s tips on raising our vibrations, so our children can keeps theirs elevated and exist in a world of peace, love and gratitude…

 
 

When we reference our “vibrations,” what exactly do we mean? Think of it this way. Our vibration is our energy signature. We are all made up of vibrating particles of energy and our vibration is what we emanate out to the environment, around us and to others. Thoughts, emotions, and sound are also vibrations and carry unique energetic signatures.

The idea that we are living in a “high vibrational state” is directly correlated to the health and happiness of our bodies in many ways. The vibes we emanate to others, to our children and to the environment vary based on our resilience for balancing our mind, emotions and disposition- especially in today’s dynamic emotional climate.

 
 
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People can easily pick up other people’s energy and emotions at different levels of sensitivity. Children behave like little sponges readily absorbing energies because they have less of a barrier distracting their perception generated and influenced by beliefs, memories, choices and environmental stimuli. From the day that our children our born, they begin testing our patience. Children can feel when we are easily activated, stressed and anxious or when we are poised in our higher vibration.

When we are flowing in our higher vibes, we can easily make decisions and solutions due to increased access to our heart’s intuitive wisdom. Our discernment becomes more inclusive and our choices become clearer and more effective; it gets much easier to deflect frustration, anxiety, impatience and other stress producers that strain our critical thinking and reasoning.

 

TIPS FOR RAISING YOUR VIBRATION

 
 

SELF CARE

By engaging in daily practices like mindfulness, meditation yoga, journaling and healthy eating, we shift our energy. We begin to operate at a high-vibrational frequency, the frequency of love, and that's when we are a magnet for more positive relationships and experiences. When our energetic aura shifts, our consciousness expands, our nervous system neutralizes, and we begin to fully realize and experience a spiritual awakening, the recognition of our divine essence. Things become possible that weren't before. A miraculous life unfolds in front of us.

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BREATHE AND GROUND

Find a quiet place where, for a few minutes, you can breathe easily, imagining with each breath that your mind, emotions and body are becoming still inside.

Place your feet firmly on the ground visualizing strong roots growing from your feet connected to the earth. You may use grounding crystals or earth stones in your hands as assists.

In this stillness, desire the uplifting feeling you would like to have and imagine breathing this new feeling into your being for a while. Imagine you are creating it with your breath.

 
 
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COMPASSION PRACTICE

Sit quietly and imagine radiating love, compassion and stillness into your mental and emotional nature. Self-care is often allowing ourselves to have a low moment without compounding it with self-criticism. When our light is dim, it helps to give ourselves the feeling of compassionate heart warmth that we would give a child who is ill.

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CRYSTAL THERAPY

Crystals have metaphysical properties from the earth that allow us to raise our frequency and vibration. Some of the highest vibrational crystals are Selenite, Natrolite, Tanzanite, Phenacite and Moldavite. It’s important to bring yourself to a grounding practice after using these high vibrational stones.

The first step in many spiritual practices is to learn to ground, that is to connect yourself energetically to the core of the Earth. There are many techniques for grounding so find the practice that feels best for you. The essence of most methods is to relax and visualize yourself sending an energy cord or light beam into the earth from your root chakra (at the tailbone) and allowing it to reach the earth core allowing you to get energy from the Earth. A classic form of grounding is with your feet firmly placed on the ground, below you imagine roots growing into the Earth from your feet and spinal column or central energy channel and begin a meditation practice breathing in the energy from the earth.

 
 
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It’s best when you can have direct contact with the earth underneath your feet and if that’s not an option just having your feet on the ground works as well.

You can hold grounding stones in your hands during this practice such as Red Jasper, Bloodstone, Hematite, Gold tigers Eye, Carnelian, Garnet, Pyrite, Copper, Amber, and Unakite.

The simple presence of crystals in both your home and work environments create a change in the vibration of the surrounding area. You can use crystals while meditating or you can wear them as jewelry or even hold them in your pocket or in your pocketbook.

Teaching your child about the world of crystals can be of great help to their development. A relationship with crystals can deepen a child’s understanding of the experiences of friendship, support and peace and provide them with tools of great use in moments when we cannot be physically present.

 
 
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Miracle Cure

Written by A Wild Dove | Photographed by Caitlin Mitchell

 

 
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Do you wish your skincare would do more for you? Beyond looking great or feeling hydrated, of course, but maybe add a higher vibration to your day? Enter Prestidge Beauté, the incredible skincare brand founded by Shawnelle Prestidge, longtime makeup artist for Jane Fonda and a wealth of global brands and beauty giants. Her path to Prestidge Beauté wasn’t an easy one. Following the birth of her daughter, her husband suffered a near fatal accident where suddenly, Shawnelle found herself in her kitchen stirring up calming cannabis elixirs to help with his nerve pain. She then decided it was finally time to try her hand at creating that "miracle" serum a curated line of extremely effective, highly active, deeply healing-small batch organic skin care products. The result is high quality, all natural products made with ingredients from conscious growers all over the world, complete with a healing form of reiki. To say we are obsessed is an understatement, so we sat down  with Shawnelle to talk reiki, serums and the calming spirit of a great skincare product.

 
 
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1. Can you tell us how Prestidge Beauté came to be? Was there one “trigger moment?”

Prestidge Beauté was a dream of mine for many years, but it was suddenly realized after working on a cannabis salve to help quell my husband’s nerve pain following a swimming accident. It was the catalyst from which Prestidge Beauté was born.

 

2. We love that you combine Reiki techniques into the crafting of the products. Can you tell us about the process? 

I summon my angels and spirit guides, archangels and the reiki masters while  listening to kundalini music to raise the vibration of the space. I enter a sort of active meditation as the wisdom of alchemy comes together, then seal each product by drawing the reiki symbols into the products while I combine all the ingredients.

 
 
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3. You totally get that energy when using the products. And the line is so well edited, everything has a purpose. Can you tell us more and how the components work individually and together?

I wanted each one to satisfy all my personal and professional needs. I’ve been working 25-plus years as a makeup artist. I wanted the serum to be a high vibrating multitasking supernova of a serum that everyone could use and benefit from.  That, in concert with the Healing Salve, addresses a myriad of ailments from acne to cuts to bug bite to eczema. Plus a tonic that could be used before the serum to add moisture or after makeup application to set you, or after a workout to refresh, or to use on your kids when they need a little time to work through big feelings. But especially to invite a moment of calm to reset one’s mood. A deodorant that smells amazing, yet is mild and works hard at diminishing odor, for men and women and kids. And a lip balm that truly heals damaged weatherworn lips and moisturizes without feeling too glossy.

 
 
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4. In creating your products, you use organic ingredients and produce small batches. Can you explain the significance of only sourcing from conscious growers? How do you find them? 

I find them through referrals, friends and research. I look for a valid GC/MS report, which is the fingerprint of any particular batch of essential oil. The report is like a blood test for a human. It shows the unique identity and properties of an oil, and I let my intuition guide me.  I look for particular colors and aroma and order in small sizes when first ordering with a new supplier.

 
 
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5. Is the line safe for kids to use? 

YES! For ages two and older. My daughter, who’s eight, uses everything except the Under Amour Deodorant, but I think that is just around the corner!

 
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6.  You’ve had quite the make up artist career. Can you share that journey and one or two milestones?

I think the first awe inspiring experience was being invited to the Shriver compound and being greeted to homemade cookie fresh from the oven by Eunice Shriver.  It was a shoot with Norman Jean Roy for Vanity Fair with Sarge, Eunice and Maria Shriver.  Maria told us not to be overwhelmed when Sarge asks you, “What did you do today to make the world a better place?” It was truly humbling and made a lasting impression on me to strive to do better-for all!  And I don’t think Jane Fonda’s long presence in my life has been by accident either. I think being around great people influence you to be your best self, and to me, being your best self means aligning with your purpose to service others earnestly.

 
 
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7. We’re not even going to ask you how you balance being a mama, an entrepreneur, wife and all the other amazing things you do, but can you tell us a bit about your day to day and how you make it work for you and your family?

I honestly don’t know. Most day it’s kind of a crap shoot. To tell you otherwise would be completely dishonest, but I wake up with the intention of doing my best, to get what needs doing done, and hopefully to squeeze some fun and giggles into the mix too!

 
 
 
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8. We totally related to a comment you made recently about being “a uniform kind of girl” fashion-wise. You said that you like simple silhouettes, like a black utilitarian jumpsuit in high quality fabrics. Same here! Is that because you prefer to express your creativity via makeup and beauty care?

I definitely believe so! When I was young, it was not the case but as I developed further into my career, I just wanted to be physically and emotionally comfortable doing what I loved. There is something so self-loving about making sure you are experiencing comfort-when you know there are so many uncertainties out there. I really find it luxurious to be under the radar, but you only seem to realize that with age.

 
 
 
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9. What is your therapy?

Oh so many things. Mantras, snuggles, kisses, actual therapy, moving my body, sharing, connecting, making my Prestidge Beauté line, sleeping, eating, laughing and loving.

 

10. Lastly, what makes you fly?

Being aligned and getting those vibrating signs that you are exactly where you are supposed to be!

 
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Just My Type

Written by A Wild Dove | Photographed by Caitlin Mitchell

 
 
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Did you ever wonder why certain events might cause you to overeat? Or why you might forget to eat in times of stress? According to Dana James, cognitive behavioral therapist, certified nutritionist and founder of Food Coach NYC, it’s due to your childhood imprints and how you developed your sense of self worth. Her philosophy is that women are divided into four female archetypes based on these ideas - each affect our eating patterns and diet. And that we can change our diet and relationship with food by examining our archetype and then plan productive menus and recipes around it. She outlines this exciting vision in a new book,  The Archetype Diet: Reclaim Your Self-Worth and Change the Shape of Your Body that seemed to hit us head on. Her rare approach to women’s weight loss - by putting self-worth at the center of the conversation - is enlightening, inspiring and pretty genius. We sat down with Dana to talk the tangible, the intangible and the quest for a healthy lifestyle.

 
 
 
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I love your philosophy around the "modern women." I think we all are that woman at some point in our lives. Can you discuss this concept and how we can feel "at peace?"

That’s my Martin Luther King speech. Haha. "I have a dream that we live in a world free from the tyranny of diet dogma and self-doubt. That we live in a world where we instinctively know how to rebalance ourselves with food, nutrients, elixirs, mantras, movement, and scents. A world where food is nourishment, not punishment. A world where we trust ourselves, not shame ourselves. A world where we amplify beauty, love and magnetism. This is my dream for the modern woman."

To find peace we must unlearn our conditioning. We've trained ourselves to use food as a reward, comfort, a distraction or pacifier. It’s much easier to eat a muffin than admit that your life is chaotic because you struggle to say no to people. Learning how to say no and not feel guilty requires inward looking. Why do I people-please? Why are my boundaries porous? Why have I placed a value on not disappointing people? This is an example of my Nurturer archetype. Finding your peace is dependent on where you source your self-worth from. The answer is hidden in that.
 

 
 

I am fascinated by your navigation system for the friction between food and feelings, science and spirituality, conscious thought and subconscious thought. Can you share the lifecycle of this inner “conflict?” How young are we when this starts?

It’s less of a conflict but rather an inclusion of both the tangible and intangible. Just because we can’t see it or measure it doesn’t mean it is invalid. Your feelings can’t be seen but they are valid. Equally so, your subconscious thoughts are drivers of your behavior, more than your conscious thought. I created the four female archetypes to bring to light our subconscious thoughts and change the repetitive behavior that stops us from seeing continued success.

 
 
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Can you describe your four archetype approach and how we can become our own muse?

The archetypes are based on where a woman sources her self-worth as this will influence her behaviors, including her eating behaviors and intimate relationships.

Wonder Woman - If you need a glass of wine to wind down most evenings, you’re probably a Wonder Woman who sources her self-worth from achievement and recognition and this gives you permission to switch off.

Nurturer - If you find yourself comfort eating or secret eating, then you’re probably a Nurturer, who sources her self-worth from always being there for others but this comes at a cost to you. You often de-prioritize your own needs in favor of others and you’ll eat this way because you’re exhausted and no one is taking care of you.

Femme Fatale - If you’re scared to gain weight or that you’ll never lose the weight you’ve gained, then you’re likely to be a Femme Fatale who sources her self-worth from her physical body and you’ll find yourself constantly on a diet because you believe that a leaner body is better. It’s not but that’s your belief.

Ethereal - If you’re highly sensitive to emotions – yours and other people’s – then you’re probably an Ethereal, who sources her self-worth from being intuitive and different but this can feel lonely, like no one understands you. You’ll often forget to eat or numb this sensitivity with carbs because you don't know how to release these feelings.

 

How does Functional Medicine play a role in your unique approach?

Functional medicine is the core of my practice. It’s finding the root of the issue. For instance, if your hormones are out of balance, the answer isn’t adding more hormones, it's understanding that stress, the gut microbiome and the liver play a key role in hormonal balance and it’s rebalancing these inputs. It’s the same with the mind. Where do your perceptions come from? When in childhood did you develop this view and why? What needs to be reinterpreted so you can move forward? Whether it is the mind or physical body, the answer lies in the seed that created it.

 
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Your practice offers so much! Can you tell us the philosophy and goals for your clients around your meal plans, one-one programs and of course your amazing retreats?

The end goal is always my client's goal - weight loss, body confidence, digestive ease, stress reduction or an improvement in mood or brain function. To get there a lot of insight and self-awareness is required and we spend most of our time looking into erroneous beliefs and reprogramming them. Knowing what to eat is easy, the harder part is understanding why your life is structured in a way that has you fall off time and time again.

 

What are five must haves that mamas and kids can both eat and find satisfying?

Make  something they can get involved in. They are more likely to eat it when they’ve been part of it.

Berry smoothie - equal parts nut milk and frozen berries with 2 tablespoons of collagen protein powder with a hint of raw honey.

Avocado smash - have them smash the avocado then drizzled on some fresh lemon juice. Let them dip crackers in it and you can have vegetable crudités.

Chia seed pudding - kids love making this. Put two tablespoons of chia seed into a mason jar then add 8 ounces of nut milk. Add the lid and shake vigorously. Get your kids to shake the mason jar for 20 seconds. Let it rest for ten minutes and you have a very nutrient dense snack with fiber, omega 3’s and protein. Add fresh fruit if desired.

 
 
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If you were on a desert island, which three supplements would you want with you?

Probably none because stress wouldn’t be robbing me of my nutrients! The reason I add supplements in to someone’s program is to correct imbalances, which are principally stress-driven. But I do love a good probiotic and an activated B complex is vital for replenishing our energy and mood.

 

What is your therapy?

Touch. There is no more powerful therapy. You can give a baby sugared water and she will stop crying but will start up again once it is removed or you can touch her and she will be soothed and her crying will stop. We’re just older versions of a baby but far too many of us blindly use sugar to appease an uncomfortable emotion. Connect with others, hug someone tight, get a massage, a foot rub or play fight with someone. Touch is a profound mood-rebalancer. 

 
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What are your favorite restaurants where the entire family can eat in NYC and LA?

In NYC it’s Cafe Clover and Quartino. Cafe Clover has the best flax crackers and sweet potato hummus. It’s better than any bread basket! I go to Quartino when I want a home-cooked meal - fish from Montauk Harbor and lightly roasted vegetables with a hint of olive oil. Mmmm delicious! In LA it’s my own kitchen! There’s nothing better than picking fresh greens and herbs from your garden and transforming them into a colorful salad that makes your mouth pop!

 
 
 

Can you tell us a few highlights from your new book ?

I’d encourage all women to take the female archetype test which they can find on www.danajames.com. This will help them identify their core beliefs and why they are struggling in certain areas of their life; be it a physical imbalance or habits they don't like. The Archetype Diet also gives a ten-day meal to follow for each archetype. As each archetype has different hormonal influences the diet is also different. I bust many pervasive food myths that make women scared of food. And finally, I take the reader through a 6-R reprogramming process so they can break the erroneous belief that their self-worth is based on an external factor like their success, looks, helping others or their intuition. 

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What makes you fly?

Seeing women awaken and transform their life. One of my greatest success stories is a woman, who within six weeks of us working together, increased her income by 300% and found the man of her dreams on a last minute trip to Nepal. She is 47 and froze her eggs five years before. They are now talking about having a child together -  her ultimate dream! Her erroneous belief was that she wasn’t worthy enough to have it all. Once she cracked that, everything she desired came to her. Just magical. 

 
 
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Learn More

FoodCoach NYC

Lotions & Potions

Written by A Wild Dove

 
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A Traveling Shop-in-Shop

Launching Summer 2018
 The Hamptons

A Wild Dove Founder, Lynn Levoy is always on the hunt for unique treasures to introduce to her community. The Lotions & Potions retail concept brings to each partnering retailer, a mini shop featuring Lynn’s favorite products in an unexpected mix (from Adaptogens to Mediation Books to Magical Serums to Crystals). The Creators of the chosen brands will partner with A Wild Dove and offer in-store workshops, panels and custom programs to share stories, unify the community and bring the products alive.

 

First Stop 

Malia Mills
53 Jobs Lane
Southampton, NY 11968
Launching July 1st

 
 

Kids in the Kitchen

Written by Erika Bloom | Photographed by Caitlin Mitchell

 
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When Erika Bloom offers to cook, we drop everything and go. The wellness expert and founder of Erika Bloom Pilates knows a thing or two about making delicious, nutritious meals, and like everything she does, executes her recipes in a way that is as fun as it is inspiring. Callum joined Erika’s children to make a family friendly meal featuring fresh vegetables and yummy superfoods. In her own words, she details how to encourage healthy eating in a way that kids will understand and enjoy.

 
 

Like all of my wellness practices, healthy eating is integrated into my life. I believe that part of why my kids find joy in healthy eating is because they see my passion about finding nourishment from delicious and healing food. 

My son and daughter take even more pleasure in what we’re eating when they get to help create the menus, prepare and cook our meals. It’s a time for us to connect, share stories, and laugh — and it’s also about making and eating beautiful fresh organic living foods that vitalize us. Whether your family is already eating healthy, or is desiring to establish more conscious habits, here are a few simple ideas for guiding your kids toward healthy choices in the kitchen.

 
 
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Teach Them Young

I believed my kids were never too young to be exposed to whole, delicious foods. Food awareness from a young age sets them up for a lifetime of making good decisions on their own when the time comes. As parents, we help set up the pattern for the rest of their lives.

Understand "The Why"

My kids are aware that healthy delicious foods sustain them. They know their brains and bodies are happier and better functioning as a result. Their moods stay stable because we’re making better choices, and their rewards are not based around food, but feeling good.

Make Healthy Food Available

I feel peace when I open my refrigerator and see a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. When the kids are hungry for a snack, they know to look in the fridge for cut up veggies and fruit. I know that whatever their choice is, it’s going to be a good one. 

 
 

Be Their Role Model

They see me meditating, using essential oils and eating well. I’m living it — and they naturally desire it. Your values are their values.

Involve Them

What happens in our kitchen is a family affair, as well as a sensory experience. They love washing, chopping, touching and tasting the bounty that nature has provided. They set out bowls, which we fill with an array of colorful, fresh vegetables, herbs, and spices. When everything is ready they design their plates. It’s like a painting for them.

 
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Go to the Source

My kids love picking out our produce at the market or the farm stand. In the summer, they put their hands in the earth and help me tend to the garden. We know where our food comes from, and talk about who else might have helped to bring it to us. All this, before it even enters our mouths. This connection and gratitude for what we’re eating increases our ability to digest and enjoy it.

 
 
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Give Them Choices

Kids love to feel like they have a say in the decision. Do you want snow peas or English peas? Carrots or broccoli? Parsley or cilantro? When they feel ownership they are more likely to participate. It also saves me from taking multiple dinners and everyone gets what they want.

Don't Give Up

The more exposure kids have to healthy foods, the more likely they are to try them. Always include new healthy options at meal times alongside some of their favorite foods. Sometimes my daughter says she’s not interested in a particular vegetable, but I keep it as an option and she always comes back around to it.

 
 
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Here’s a typical evening in our house, where my kids and I designed the menu. It’s based on our favorite healthy foods and letting them choose their own ingredients.

Menu

  • Organic Fruit Infused Water
  • Cauliflower Rice Bowls
  • Banana N’Ice Cream
  • Healthy Candy Bars
 

Organic Fruit Infused Water

 
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Ingredients

  • Filtered Water 
  • Oranges 
  • Lemons 
  • Strawberries 
  • Lemongrass 
  • Rosemary 
  • Mint
  • Ginger

Instructions

Let the kids choose ingredients to infuse in their water and have them help you cut them up. The kids can fill small water carafes with filtered water and add their own chosen fruit slices, herbs, and spices. Place the infused water in the fridge overnight or even just for 45 minutes while you’re cooking.

My daughter Anabella wanted strawberries and mint. My son Alexander preferred oranges and rosemary. Callum chose strawberries. They all made delicious choices and loved drinking them.

 

Cauliflower Rice Veggies Bowls

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Ingredients

  • 1 Head of cauliflower
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut or sunflower oil
  • 1 small shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup bone broth or vegetable stock 
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Add veggies according to preference: 

  • 1/2 head broccoli
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup snow peas
  • 1/2 cup English peas

Spices

  • Garam Masala 
  • Cumin 
  • Turmeric

Fresh herbs 

  • Cilantro 
  • Parsley 
  • Carrot Leaves

Seeds 

  • Pumpkin
  • Sunflower
  • Hemp hearts
     
 
 
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Instructions

Have the kids help to chop the cauliflower into tiny pieces after you remove stem and leaves. Let the kids crush the garlic cloves. Dice the shallot. Put the garlic and shallot in a small bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium low. Have the kids pour the bowl of shallots and garlic in the pan carefully and then stir until tender, about 6 minutes. Let the kids add the chopped cauliflower and season with salt. Mine love to use the salt grinder! They can then measure out, pour in and stir in the broth (Epic Artisanal is one of my favorites); steam covered until broth has evaporated and cauliflower is tender, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm.

 
 
 
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Let the children choose which combination of vegetables they want in their ‘rice’ and put them in a small bow. Make a pan for each child. In each pan, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium. Add remaining shallot; cook stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add remaining garlic, ginger; cook 1 minute. Let the children pour their veggie bowl in to the pan and stir. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer cauliflower mixture to bowls and add vegetable mixture. Let the kids season with salt and then mix in their favorite toppings of herbs, spices, and seeds. My daughter loves cumin. My son loves garam masala. I use raw organic seeds. Lately my son and I have been adding radishes to finish as well. They’re delicious, as well as prebiotic.

 
 
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Banana N’Ice Cream

 

When I was young, my family spent summers in Mexico and we always drank ‘banana milkshakes’ which was just very ripe bananas in the blender. If you freeze the bananas in glass first, the Vitamix turns it into ice cream – then you don’t waste ripe fruit. Then we sometimes used coconut milk or goat milk, but now with my kids, we use almond milk (other non-dairy milk options work great too, depending on allergies and preference).

 
 
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Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas cut into chunks, frozen
  • splash of almond milk (or non dairy milk of choice)

Instructions

Let the children place the frozen bananas in the Vitamix and blend until texture of ice cream. You can eat it just like this or add a splash of almond milk.

You can also make gelato by using frozen berries with no milk. The kids choose a mix of blackberries, blueberries. My favorite is cherries.

Making your own almond milk is easy but an extra step. When purchasing almond milk, look for brands that don’t use gums, sugar and other additives. I personally love the unsweetened versions of New Barns organic almond milk.

 
 
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Healthy Candy Bar

I make these as a treat or to add in to the Banana ‘Ice Cream’ for variety.

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Ingredients

  • 100% cacao bar
  • 75-80% chocolate bar 
  • Pure ground almond butter
  • Choose among the following for add ins: 
  • Hemp hearts
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Raw chopped pumpkin seeds
  • Cacao nibs
  • Coconut flakes 
  • Unsweetened goji berries
 

Instructions

Melt the chocolate. Let the kids stir until smooth (they love this)! Let each child have their own small glass pan. Have them pour a thin layer of chocolate in. Everyone gets to choose their additional ingredients. Add a layer of seeds followed by a layer of almond butter, followed by another layer of toppings. Add a final layer of chocolate. Place in freezer until hardened and keep chilled until you’re ready to serve.

We break up the cacao bark and put it on top of the ice cream. I love Bonajuto 100 percent cacao bars for my version of the Healthy Candy Bar. For the kids I use 75-80 percent chocolate.

I find that the natural sweetness of almonds makes the chocolate bark taste sweet even though there’s little to no added sugar.

When purchasing nut butters, look for pure ground butters with no extra oils or sugar. MaraNatha Organic Raw Almond Butter is one that I love.

 
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Thank you Wild Dove, for documenting an evening of meal time at our house. I love watching the smiles on my kids faces from the time we start making the meal to the time their tummies are filled and calm. I can rest easy at the end of a long day, knowing that I’m nourishing them and myself with beautiful food, and we all get to enjoy the process.

 
 
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Mama Doves

Written by A Wild Dove 

 
 
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One of the things we hope to build at A Wild Dove is a sense of community for both mamas and their children. The mamas we feature on the site all inspire us in one way or another, whether it’s their sense of humor, authenticity, or a no-holds-barred approach to their career or to wellness. These are mamas who roll up their sleeves and Get. It. Done. They walk the walk and talk the talk. To them, it isn’t  an effort, it’s part of life, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. These women embody everything we are about, living honest, enriching and well-lived lives. So in honor of Mother’s Day, we took a moment to ask some of our favorite mamas a question about motherhood and anything they wanted to share to help inspire all of us. They are truly our visions of rockstars and we are so proud of them, and all the mamas for doing it every single day.

 
 
 

Melissa Wood - Founder of Melissa Wood Health

 
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How has your son and now being pregnant for the second time, inspired your work?

This time around I've become less of a multitasker. When I'm with my son, I try to focus on being with him. When I'm in the office working, I focus on getting my work done. Being pregnant with a toddler has really taught me that less is more. I avoid over scheduling myself at all costs and find I'm so much more at peace when I don't have a chaotic schedule.

What is a piece of advice you’d give to new mamas?

Don’t pack too much in a day, pace it and enjoy fewer activities MORE.

 
 

Erika Bloom - Founder of Erika Bloom Pilates

 
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How have your children children inspired your work?

Some say that being a mom makes us expert multitaskers; but for me it has inspired the opposite. My children inspire me to be deeply present and truly focus on doing just what I am doing and being just where I am. This makes me a better more engaged mom as well as a better decision maker at work. I used to be always working but never getting it all done. Since having children this lesson of ‘mono tasking’ with clear and present focus has made me phenomenally efficient and productive; and it has increased my enjoyment in my job, in my personal life, and as a mom. 

 
 

Lynn Levoy - Founder of A Wild Dove

 
 
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How has Callum inspired A Wild Dove?

Having a child has shifted and taught me more than I could have ever imagined. I know it is our role as mamas to teach our children, but the reality is, Callum has taught me just as much. I am a better person in every way because of him. 

After he was born, my priorities changed. I always worked in fashion, and truthfully couldn’t have imagined I would have ever done anything else. But when I look back, I wasn’t REALLY happy...even though I thought I was. That wasn’t my true calling, but it was certainly part of the path that led me to the now. 

I started working on A Wild Dove, 3 years ago and launched it about a year and half ago. I had felt like something was missing from the market. Wellness had always been a huge part of my life, but more than ever it was my passion.  And then I started to ask WHY wasn’t anyone instigating this wellness conversation between mamas and their children.

Of course we are women with our own identities, but more than ever, we are so intertwined with our children. Our flexible jobs allow us to have more and different time with our kids than ever before. We can bring them with us to meetings, lunches, workouts and they get to experience all these very adult things at a young age. So I began to wonder  why isn’t anyone to speaking that? And how can we help our children to have the tools to better themselves, that we are so diligently working on for ourselves? If I HAD KNOWN something as simple as breathing when feeling overwhelmed at Callum’s age, I would have been in a very different place as a teenager and certainly as an adult.  And with this revelation... A Wild Dove was born. It has allowed me to combine all the things I love, but with a very new focus and different meaning. 

I feel beyond grateful and fortunate to have this opportunity to do something I love. And the best part is Callum is a huge part of this journey and I get to learn and be inspired by him everyday...

 
 

Bee Shapiro - Founder of Ellis Brooklyn, & New Your Times Writer & Author

 
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How have your daughters played a role in developing your line ?

I'm so much better at figuring out what really matters now. Before kids, I might get mired in the nitty gritty of everything, but since having my girls I'm much better at not letting my doubts get the better of me. That's something having kids really teaches you - that honestly, there are so many other things worth worrying about that if something doesn't meet your expectations absolutely, totally 100%, you're not going to obsess over it. That's not to say I don't still strive for lofty goals, but just that I'm much better at figuring out what is worth fighting for. 

What is a piece of advice you would give to new mamas?

Stop trying to micromanage details and have confidence in some imperfections.

 
 
 

Robyn Youkilis - Health Coach & Author

 
 
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How has a becoming a mama changed your perspective on your body and philosophy towards food and working out?

When my husband and I began talking about starting a family, I shifted my focus from “How skinny can I be?” to “How can I create the most ideal ‘home’ for my future baby to live in?” And then I had an aha moment - Our bodies are our homes, this is where we live. Shouldn’t we treat them right? I let go of trying to look a certain way. I slowed down even more at meal times and chewed my food completely before swallowing. I began to focus on the foods (and the activities) that made me feel my best. And guess what? The foods that made me feel and look my best were those deeply nourishing foods, the foods that pack the most bang for the nutritional buck, the foods that feed and balance the microbiome (aka your gut). Almost three years later I’m still thinking and eating this way.

 
 
 

Larissa Thompson - Co-Founder of ONDA Beauty

 
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Running one store in and of itself is a tremendous amount of hard work. Now with multiple locations opening, how do you balance it all with family?

It’s not always easy but I try to remind myself that I’m setting a good example of what you can achieve when you commit to something you believe in. Starting your own business, believing in yourself and taking risks are all important values I’d like to instill in my son. That all being said, I’m a big believer in balance and I’m always trying to find new ways to create the proper work and home life balance. It’s been a struggle for me to watch my husband filling in with things I used to do with Van more regularly. But I just can’t do everything I used to do. So I try to remind myself how lucky I am to know that my son has such a great father who is so engaged and I know he’s being looked after in the best ways possible. And I can’t forget that I have a genius business partner who is always working on the business and currently looking after everything in Sag Harbor while I’m here, so the fact that we can divide and conquer DEFINITELY  helps. Listening is so important. I make sure to always listen when Van is telling me something, really focus on what he’s saying instead of being five steps ahead. I do a dead halt and put all my energy into what he’s saying. As a tween there’s a lot of silence sometimes so when he does open up about anything, I don’t want to miss it! 

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to new mamas?

Aim for balance. Use the pockets of time wisely. Find subjects the kids truly love and learn about those. And when you fail, move on and don’t give up.

 

Electric Slide

Written by A Wild Dove | Photographed by Caitlin Mitchell

 
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Megan Roup wanted to make exercise fun again. As a college-trained dancer who went onto become a Brooklynette for the Brooklyn Nets, Megan understood how good music and a great time can get the heart going more than a lifetime spent on the treadmill. So as she began pursuing the fitness space on a professional level, she decided to have a go at it by creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere while giving clients a kick in the you-know-what. Thus, The Sculpt Society was born. We can tell you firsthand, with one class in under an hour, we were burning it up and sculpting it OUT. The method to her madness? Sliders. Yes, those little discs that when used correctly can sizzle up the abs, glutes and entire body. We sat down with Megan to talk sculpting, wellness and why sometimes, a good beat is all you need.

 
 
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So, sliders...we’re obsessed. Why do they work and how did you discover them?

So much of my class focuses on hip mobility - so it was super important for me to add functional training into my class for a well rounded workout. I love using sliders in conjunction with functional training because they create instability in the movement, requiring balance and the use of small stabilizing muscles. I created my Sculpt Society Sliders (that come with 3 workouts when purchased on my website) because I wanted one that was dual sided and  because so many of my clients travel. I love that they are lightweight and small and an effective workout on their own. 

 
 
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Our glutes are still burning. So yes. Can you tell us about some of The Sculpt Society’s new initiatives?

I just hired my first trainer to teach. We are introducing a low-impact MAT class. It’s the same fast paced, upbeat workout, without the dance cardio. I have also joined a new online fitness platform called Obé. Obé brings the best workouts anywhere your phone takes you. I am so excited to be able to reach people across the country

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That sounds amazing and so convenient. So why do you think health and wellness is having such a moment?

I don’t think this is a moment but rather a movement. Investing in your health is the new norm thanks to the strong communities that have been built around it. You don’t just workout now, you go to a fitness class with your girlfriends and then spend quality time after catching up. Community is so important, something I am very focused on developing within my classes. When people feel included and supported within a fitness space, it can be very powerful.

 
 
 
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We love that we are in and out less than an hour! How does the workout benefit busy mamas in particular?

I was seeing so many women spending hours in the gym. Who’s got time for that?
I really wanted to deliver a class that was under an hour and gave clients everything they needed from cardio to sculpting exercises. My class is 50 minutes and truly delivers a killer workout with positive vibes.

 

Do you miss dancing professionally with the Brooklynettes and performing in theater?

I do miss dancing professionally. Often in dance, you’re on your own, but dancing with a team and belonging to group of women, like the Brooklynettes, was really special. Luckily with The Sculpt Society, I am physically doing most of the class with my clients, so I still get that same rush every time a beat drops and the whole class is dancing with me as I lead them. There is no better feeling.

 
 
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How does music play a role in both creating content for your method and in the actual work outs? What are you listening to now? Playlist welcome!

My class is beat based, so music is a HUGE part the experience. The workout can be killer, but if it’s not done to the right tunes, it can ruin a class for me. I use a lot of hip hop, current pop music and I love an 90’s r&b or hip hop throwback. For the dance cardio sections, I have to hunt for remixes and that can be the most time-consuming part. 

 
 
 
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Most women mix up the type of workouts they do. What do you suggest as a good workout to compliment The Sculpt Society and how often should women come to the workout?

I am a big advocate to do what makes you and your body feel good. If that means mixing up your workouts, by all means, go for it. I think a reformer Pilates is a great compliment to TSS or a yoga flow class. If you’re a mom and you’re coming 3-4 times a week, you’re a rockstar. I think if everyone can move their bodies in some way 4-5 times a week, you’ll feel stronger in your body and mind.

 
 
 

What's your therapy?

Movement is my therapy. Putting a great song on and moving my body empowers my day. I’ve also started meditating, which has been very helpful. Even five minutes can turn around my day.

 

What makes you fly?

I feel like I am flying every day. I am beyond grateful to get to be doing what I love and hopefully positively affecting other women.

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Ellis Brooklyn Takes Flight

Written by A Wild Dove | Photographed by Caitlin Mitchell

 
 
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She made her name as a beauty columnist at the New York Times and author of Skin Deep, but Bee Shapiro is spreading her wings in many ways, most recently as the creator of Ellis Brooklyn, our favorite sustainable fragrance and skincare brand. To say that her writing has served her passion would be an understatement. “I'm always trying product, which is a lot of the fun of the job, but it's also made me very conscious of what I'm putting on,” says Bee. About four years ago, she noticed a change in the industry, where skincare, haircare and cosmetic companies were becoming more aware of clean ingredients, but this exciting transformation wasn’t taking place in fragrance. That’s where Bee saw an opening. As a huge fragrance fan, and mama-to-be, she leapt at the opportunity to make a positive impact, and thus Ellis Brooklyn (and, in the process, two girls) were born. Some of our favorite scents include the illustrious Myth and seductive Rrose and the velvety Verb Excellent Body Milk is oh-so good post bath. Read on for Bee’s take on sustainability, “balance,” and her penchant for religious masking.

 
 
 
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We are huge fans of Ellis Brooklyn. Tell us, how has the brand evolved since the beginning and where do you see it going?

It's definitely evolved! At the beginning, we didn't set out necessarily to be a sustainable company. But if you're talking about naturals, this is stuff that is growing from the earth. There are real people and locations involved. As I started working with my perfumer and packaging companies, I realized that you can't be for naturals and safety and responsibility in formulation and not also be sustainable. We're planning on making more pushes in the industry for sustainable sourcing going forward.

 
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We love that. Can you speak to the idea of growing a business from scratch? What have been some of the pitfalls? Surprises?

I bootstrapped the business which is not for the faint of heart. I knew it wasn't the easiest way to do things but I also knew, being a long time beauty writer, I didn't want to compromise on our products. This allowed me unfettered control. The pitfalls were packaging. Packaging can be so tough! I had no idea you could literally be researching packaging for years.

 
 
 
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Who knew?!? What is the ingredient and fragrance process like? Do you have any favorite notes or scents?

I have so many favorite notes. I love the notes that surprise you like Tuberose, Patchouli and Oud. They can almost be repelling but there's also something so intriguing, beautiful and, as the French perfumers like to say, "carnal" about them. When I'm creating a fragrance with the perfumer, I actually tailor the process to who I'm working with. Each person works differently so I want to be able to get the best work I can. For example, with Jerome Epinette, it's starting with very specific references and comparisons and then taking it to a different level. With Pascal Gaurin, who I worked with on our Fawn fragrance coming out in April, he's very into music so I sent him a description plus a song to listen to.

 
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So cool..and how do you balance the business with your writing?

I'm not sure there is a thing in life as balance. I instead think of it as making the most of every day I have. That could mean working intensely for 8 hours straight or that could also mean taking an hour out to take my 1 year old to gym class and picking up my 3 year old from school. If we're talking about straight hours worked, I'd say my writing takes about 30% of my time now and Ellis Brooklyn about 70%. The company has grown a tremendous amount in the last year.

 
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What's your therapy?

Masks and baths! I truly do a ton of masks. I fit them in whenever I can. Sleeping masks, in shower masks, masks right before bed—you name it. I also make time for exercise because I find I'm a better person when I workout at least 3 times a week. If I'm really spoiling myself, I'll go take a tennis lesson. I played tennis in high school and it's my favorite activity.

 
 
 
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How has having children informed your work ethic? Values?

It's made me ask for more at work. Before, I was not a good negotiator. I didn't have that confidence to ask for more so I always low-balled my own asks. Now I always think, well if this is going to take time away from my kids, this better be worth it. It's really paid off. My career has been infinitely better since having kids.

 
 
 
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And we always have to ask, what makes you fly?

Fly off the handle or just fly? Ha! Though I have a pretty settled existence with my family and work, I am a nomad by heart. I love planning vacations—especially those that are just my husband and me! They come very rarely, but the whole process from planning to going is delicious and exciting.

 
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Ellis Brooklyn

Robyn Youkilis Talks Weight Loss, Self-Love and a New Book

Written by A Wild Dove | Photographed by Caitlin Mitchell

 
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When Robyn Youkilis was growing up, no one had taught her how to have a healthy relationship with food, or with her body, even as it began to change. “There I was with hips, thighs and a generous tush at 13 years old, and was constantly comparing myself to other thinner women,” Robyn said. “I rode the diet roller coaster for years - hoping to get that ‘perfect figure’ and labeling everything I ate ‘good’ or ‘bad.’” After one too many roller coaster rides, Robyn finally got off the cycle by enrolling in nutrition school and becoming pregnant with her daughter. Throughout her studies, she realized the foods and activities that made her feel her absolute best and put the scale off to the side. Now, a mother and wellness coach, Robyn has her own vision of health that she’s imparting to others through a new book and a booming business. We sat down with this rockstar mama to chat nutrition, the all important gut and when she’s flying high.

 
 
 
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Can you start by sharing your philosophy and how it differs from other health coaching....

I explain digestive health in a way that allows people to connect with their gut instincts, learn to make food choices from a place of wisdom, banish bloat, and leverage the power of the act of chewing. I have women all over the world making more home-cooked meals, slowing down and discovering the foods and practices that help them feel their best. My approach looks at all areas of your life. Your body wants you to feel good, and the best way to reach your natural weight is to keep your gut flora happy and balance the other parts of life that “weigh” you down. Together, these two forces will have you looking and feeling fabulous.

 
 
 
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What was your personal "trigger moment" in starting this journey and helping others?

A love of cooking and food led me to enroll in nutrition school. Through my studies at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), I realized that every person needs different foods to feel their best and thrive. I re-learned the art of eating, and the specific foods and activities that were right for my unique body. And while I was healthier, my biggest transformation came when I became pregnant and then a mother. Not only did I have a whole other level of understanding of my body, I had this beautiful, incredible little human that I was now responsible for. I stepped up my self care game not because I wanted to lose weight or have toned abs, but because I wanted to be the best example that I could be for my little girl.

 
 
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What are a few tips for us busy mamas that we can put into place asap?

First, meal prep is your friend! For many of my mama clients, meal prep has been the difference between eating the healthy food they know they want to be eating, and ordering in. I teach my totally doable (and delicious) way of meal prep in my new book, “Thin From Within.” Second, take time for yourself. Maybe that means you get a babysitter once a week so you can get to your favorite yoga class, or you get your groceries delivered so that you can have one less errand on your to-do list, or maybe that means you tell your partner that you need 20 minutes to yourself in the morning. When you take that time for you, you’re better able to show up for your family, your co-workers, your dog – everyone in your life!

 
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We LOVE that. Why is wellness more important now than ever and how do you view wellness within the context of what you do?

I see wellness as the health of both your body and your mind – it’s not a perfect formula or number on a scale but rather a delicate balance of all parts of our lives. You can’t be fully “well” if a part of you is out of sync, which is why in my coaching and teaching I address both physical and what I call emotional weight.

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How has having a child changed or impacted your vision on healthy living?

When my husband and I began talking about starting a family, I shifted my focus from “How skinny can I be?” to “How can I create the most ideal ‘home’ for my future baby to live in?” And then I had an aha moment - Our bodies are our homes—this is where we live. Shouldn’t we treat them right? I let go of trying to look a certain way. I slowed down even more at meal times and chewed my food completely before swallowing. I began to focus on the foods (and the activities) that made me feel my best. And guess what? The foods that made me feel (and eventually look) my best were those deeply nourishing foods, the foods that pack the most bang for the nutritional buck, the foods that feed and balance the microbiome (aka your gut).

 

Yes! So how do you put your beliefs into place at home with your daughter and what are some easy ways others can extend that healthy lifestyle towards their children?

I try to lead by example when it comes to food, how I talk to my body, and my attitude towards life. I’m constantly asking myself what would be supportive for myself, and for my daughter, rather than following someone else’s “should.” I have conversations with her too and give her the space to express herself, to communicate her needs and feelings. We loosely follow the RIE method of parenting and it’s taught me so much, not only as a parent, but as a person. I’m much more aware of honoring and validating someone else’s feelings as well as my own.

 
 
 
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How do you find balance in your own life?

Ah, that tricky word -  balance. We all strive for it, right? Some days are definitely easier than others! Sometimes when I feel like I’m being pulled in all different directions, I just have to take a moment to breathe. Just close my eyes and take a few breaths. I try to have my family time that I hold very dear. It’s my time to put the phone down and tune into my daughter and her needs. I always find my center when I’m with my daughter!

 
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Can you talk about the inspiration for your new book?

I didn’t want to write this book – my publisher was the one who wanted a weight loss book! But the more that I thought about it, the more I realized that this book needed to be written. My clients wanted a way to think about and approach weight loss that felt sane, that felt in alignment with their spiritual selves. Here’s the truth -  you can love and appreciate your body as it is right now and still want to lose weight. Your body is your business, and if you want to look and/or feel different and that desire comes from you—not from the media, your mom, or your boyfriend—it’s alright to take action to make your dream body your real body.

 
 
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What is your therapy?

My “therapy” is any way that I’m able to connect to my body, my gut, my intuition. On a daily basis that looks like meditation, journaling, and just spending a few minutes each morning to be with self. Movement is an essential part of my life - not only does it connect me to my body and my breath, but it’s often on a run or in a spin class where I work out the things that are swirling  in my head. Spending time with my daughter is also so grounding - she reminds me what a pure joy it is to be alive, and that magic exists in the world around us. Taking time to connect with my friends and family is also important to me.

 
 

What makes you fly?

Right now I’m fired up (in the best way possible) about my new book, “Thin From Within” . The incredible messages I’ve received from readers are proving that what I’m sharing is resonating, this work is changing lives and perceptions. The biggest win for me as a coach is when someone can shift the conversation they’re having with themselves about their body. I can talk about self love for days, but when that actually lands with someone in a way that feels real and true in their life, that’s the real point of it all. 

 
 
 
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Robyn Youkilis

We’re in the Mood for Smood

Written by A Wild Dove | Photographed by Caitlin Mitchell

 
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Whether in the heart of midtown or down on the Lower East Side, you’re never far from Dr Smood. And we are so grateful that this chic Miami-based juice bar and wellness cafe has been popping up all over New York with a philosophy of wellness-based eating with products infused with super foods like maca, matcha, ashwaganda and turmeric. Everything is 100% USDA organic. Even the “power pastries” that are a favorite of ours (and perfect for the mini-set too) featuring cacao, dates, honey and coconut. Not to mention, the minimalist, glossy setting offers the wellness set a super stylish space to enjoy a vitaian booster. After just one visit we had to find out more, the who the what and where behind the incredible cafe. So we sat down with Dr. Etti, a holistc nutritional doctor in her own right who has been working with the Dr Smood founders on creating their tasty, healthy concoctions. Check out our interview below.

 
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Full disclosure. We are obsessed with Dr Smood. Can you tell us about your background and what led you there?

My background is in Holistic Nutrition and Family therapy. I created a seven-day juice cleanse program called Sexi Juicing have been guiding groups through detoxification for 17 years.  René and Patrizia Sindlev, our founders, and I connected four years ago. We joined together because we are very passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle; eating healthy food and shifting the way people in America perceive healthy food.  René, Patrizia and I recognized that there is a problem with the SAD (Standard American Diet)—which is the cause of most chronic diseases—and we wanted to be part of the solution.

 
 
 

So interesting...and was there a trigger moment in realizing you had to join this brand?

Yes!!  It happened over dinner with our VP (Francesco Perillo), when we were discussing the impact Dr Smood is going to have in America and the world.  He said something that touched me deeply—he said, “We get to leave a LEGACY.” I had an awakening when I was 40 years old and my life’s purpose from that point on was to GIVE—by sharing my knowledge, wisdom, and healing and inspiring people to do the same. 

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Amazing. So what is your role at Dr Smood specifically?

I am the Senior VP of Research and Product Development.  I create and oversee development of new products based on market research and our vision.  I also educate and help spread our vision through social media. We are constantly on the pulse finding innovative solutions to healthy lifestyle and bringing our customers “SMART FOOD FOR A GOOD MOOD.”
 

 
 
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How would you describe the vision of Dr Smood and how does it differ from other holistic meal/juice brands on the market?

We believe that Dr Smood is the solution for our health crisis and we are offering the food for a better future.  We need to help to create better health for Americans today. We make it easy for people to eat healthy—we have over 90 products for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  We want every person that comes into our store to find something to eat, whether they are a meat and potato person or a vegan. To ensure this, we have a broad range of menu items, including turkey, smoked salmon and tuna sandwiches; vegan salads and sandwiches, a selection of healthy snack options and our popular breakfast items. Finally, our cafés have a very warm European ambiance, making for perfect combination of a pleasurable, healing experience.

 
 
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Yes, we totally agree ! We love hanging out at Dr Smood (Soho is our go-to). Can you speak to the science behind Dr Smood's programs?

Studies indicate that mostly plant-based foods that are alkaline and infused with super and medicinal foods are anti-inflammatory and help prevent diseases.  We are also aware that organic foods are much better for our health since conventional food is laden with chemicals that are then stored in our body, causing disease.  Most of our food is live: smoothies, juices, salads, pancakes, vegan milkshakes, desserts etc. Live food is tasty and filling because it is alive (it contains more enzymes, vitamins and minerals), and is full of fiber.

 
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You're a mama, can you tell us how do you try to stay balanced and sane while being a partner at a brand and raising children?

As a single mother of four, I have a very hectic work schedule—I strive for a balanced life. A full life that will include enjoying one-on-one quality moments with my kids and my boyfriend, connecting with my women tribe, staying in touch and in tune with the cutting edge of healthy nutritious products, doing my volunteer work and having quality time for myself.  I try to stay calm in the midst of the storm. Calmness is a state of mind that can be achieved if and when we nourish our bodies, mind and spirit, by eating healthy, exercising and meditating.  I also go on a juice cleanse four times a year. I usually don't have time to juice myself, and fortunately I created a user-friendly detox program that are easy to follow and really yummy. I usually choose Dr Smood’s program number 2 - which is the intermediate level juice cleanse.  I also developed a beginner and advanced detox program to benefits all levels of detoxers. 

 
 
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What is your therapy?

My therapy is dancing—it allows me to be in the moment. I breathe and let everything else go.  I also love hugs—the more the better.

 

TOTALLY.  How does your philosophy on wellness impact the choices you make for your kids?

My philosophy in regard to food and everything else in life is to be a purist.  Choose the best quality of whatever you put into your body or mind and let your spirit soar.  I let my kids choose what they want to eat as long as it’s the best quality.  Pizza can be great if it’s organic and gluten free. Each and every one of my kids are aware of the connection between the quality of food and the quality of their health and most of the time they choose very wisely.  I model by example and most time they like what I make. 

 
 
 

Lastly, what makes you fly?

Living a meaningful life.  Sharing my love and wisdom and making a difference.  Inspiring our customers to strive for the best health ever, so they can be fully available to explore life’s opportunities and the sky is NOT the limit.

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Dr  Smood

Soft Serve It Up

Written by A Wild Dove | Photographed by Caitlin Mitchell

 
 
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To go from fashion to plant based ice cream is a career 180, to say the least, but that’s exactly what Carli Blum did. As a wardrobe stylist working with brands like Target and Bloomingdales, Carli describes herself as a visual person who loved engaging with different colors and textures. After moving to New York from Los Angeles in 2013, she met former Lucky editor Brandon Holley and together, they launched an app called Everywear with the goal of bringing editorial expertise into the closets of everyday women. But she discovered a desire to dig a little deeper into her career path. “I knew there was a problem when I wanted to talk more about diet than a blazer,” says Carli, who has serious food allergies to soy, dairy, nuts, bananas and gluten. She soon realized she wanted to somehow combine her love of fashion and color with healthy, delicious dessert. So she created Kokus, a new category of ice cream made from cultured coconut cream featuring add-ons like Spiced Turmeric Honey, Bee Pollen, Chocolate Chia Seeds and Coconut Chips - all designed to  support and detox the body, boost the immune system and restore balance. Koku has been such a huge hit with the allergy and non-allergy community, so we had to sit down with Carli to chat coconuts, the magical gut and her goal of going global with this all natural, delicious dessert.

 
 
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Full disclosure. We are obsessed with Koku. It is so ridiculously delicious. What is the philosophy or mission behind the brand?

Our product solves a big problem in the food industry today - the lack of allergen-friendly products that are truly comprised of healthful, high quality ingredients. The ingredients are: organic, clean, vibrant and functional. You should feel energized  and not lethargic after you eat. We truly believe that or product has healing magic and is better for you and better for our planet. 

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What was your trigger moment in launching Koku?

I’m a believer that you need to pay close attention to what “lights you up inside” and that is aligned with your soul's purpose. I would get a little too enthusiastic over something I was able to eat. It was as simple as coconut milk on a menu, or a gluten free pancake! I knew it was time to leave fashion and start my own business in a “better for you” food space.  I’m obsessed with coconuts, they are so magical to me. Because I’m on a constant mission to heal my gut and allergies, I fell in love with the idea of cultured coconut cream. That lead to frozen coconut cream with vibrant, functional superfood toppings. I married my creative fashion background with my true love and passion for healing food and BAM. Koku was born. 

 
 
 
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That really comes through. Can you speak to the ingredients and what was the process was in determining what should go in?

Koku’s base has eight or less superfood ingredients, including 100 % organic cultured coconut cream, coconut oil, coconut water, organic guar gum and raw honey. Our cultured coconut cream is done through a cold fresh-pressed process. We use small batches of base cream that are immediately cultured to perfection with specific time and temperature parameters. Another unique element is the raw honey. Our raw honey is never processed, heated, pasteurized or processed. I truly believe the gut is the seat to all health and by culturing our coconut cream, we are playing a part to help everyone live their most optimal lives! 

 
 
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Totally! So what are the benefits to these ingredients?

Every ingredient is important and has a specific function. Due to its raw nature, it has many naturally occurring probiotics. This helps replenish bacteria in your digestion tract to regain and maintain positive probiotic balance of good bacteria over bad bacteria. The raw honey contains vitamins, enzymes, powerful antioxidants. Our product is hydrating, energizing, nutritious and DELICIOUS!

 

What makes Koku unique in the all natural dessert space, or unique as a brand?

We are the first 100% organic, cultured coconut cream soft serve. We are always organic, dairy , soy, nut, gluten and refined sugar free. We are working hard on our product to make sure it always has less than 12g of sugar per serving.  I put my heart and soul into this product and will always lead with a strong product that has innovative ingredients, branding and marketing.

 
 
 

Why do you think a brand like Koku is so important right now?

Since launching in August, I have been truly blown away by the response. I get tons of messages from people who similar to me have autoimmune disorders, digestive disorders, allergies, chromes, lymes etc. People struggle with finding products that are clean labeled, transparent and simply that they can enjoy without feeling sick. I believe we are moving into a ‘better for you’, plant based direction and Koku is helping to solve these problems.

 

Love that. Where is the name from?

Koku means coconut in Hebrew! My homeland :) 

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What's next for Koku?

We had a very exciting summer. We really launched with a  “proof of concept” intention and now know without a doubt, people are looking for a product like these. We are now right back to work, and  aiming to launch our first experiential brick+mortar concept in spring 2018 in NYC. We are also working on a CPG product which is very exciting. The day I see Koku on the shelves of Wholefoods I will probably be crying uncontrollably with gratitude.

 
 

We can’t wait for that moment. What is your therapy?

Watercolor painting while listening to Trevor Hall. I’m in my head a lot and watercolor painting helps me to completely escape.

 

Oooh. We must try that! Lastly, what makes you fly?

Besides tequila? Connecting with people to help them find their passion and purpose. And surrounding myself with people who make me laugh.

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