Amber Locke, a.k.a. @rawveganblonde has gained a cut following for her beautiful and unique farmers’ market art. We meet the woman behind the phenomenon, and ask her…what vegetable would you be?
How long have you been a Raw Vegan Blonde, and what drew you to the lifestyle? I’ve always been blonde, but only discovered the concept of raw food about 18 months ago! I first read about it on the blog of Ralph Lauren model Valentina Zelyaeva and decided to try it out as an experiment, but I was so blown away with how amazing it made me feel after just a few days, I carried on.
Eating raw gives me incredible energy, improved mental clarity and a general feeling of calmness, harmony and well-being. I’ve become far more in tune with my body and very aware of how what I eat can dramatically affect how I feel both emotionally and physically.
What makes you so passionate about vegetables? For me it’s the fact that fruit and veg not only taste amazing, they’re visually fascinating and have the power to nourish and heal our bodies too. They really are super foods.
And why do you think they’re so beautiful to you? I love the beauty of natural elements, and I’m constantly amazed and delighted by their different shapes, colours, textures, and character. So my designs aim to showcase their unique qualities and reflect the changing seasons of the year, as well as being a celebration of living a healthy lifestyle.
If you were a fruit or a vegetable, which would you be and why? I think I’d probably be a candy beetroot. They look pretty much like a normal beetroot on the outside, but when you slice them, they reveal their amazing pink and white striped flesh and it never ceases to make me smile.
What’s the most out there plant-based experience you’ve had to date? I’m not sure I’ve had an ‘out there’ experience…but I always get a sense of something greater at work when I’m composing my designs. I sometimes stand back and wonder how I did it.
:: M A T E R I A L G I R L ::
My label I love Hermes and although I only own a few pieces (mainly leather goods and scarves) they all have special memories and are so exquisitely made they will last a lifetime.
My shoes I’m addicted to Belstaff boots as they’re so comfy, look great and fit my narrow shins well! I have several pairs and wear them almost all year round.
My fragrance I’ve worn ‘Un Jardin Sur Le Nil’ by Hermes for years. I think the top notes are green mango but I love it as the smell reminds me of tomato leaves which are one on my favourite fragrances along with orange blossom. I’m still pursuing my quest to find the perfect orange blossom perfume and the closest I’ve come across so far is by Jo Malone and I wear this sometimes in the Summer.
My jewels I don’t wear much jewellery apart from my boyfriend’s old Breitling watch which I love as it’s so big and chunky on my wrist, and an antique silver fob chain given to me by my Mother which I wear as a charm bracelet.
My pampering A trip to the hairdressers! I recently took the plunge and had 10” chopped off by the brilliant team at Richard Ward Salon in London, their colourist David Viner is a legend too!
My home I live in a quirky house in a small countryside village. Its part Tudor, part Georgian, part Victorian and part Medieval so it’s a real mix of architectural styles.
My food I love to eat a mainly raw diet so my kitchen is always full of fresh fruit and vegetables and I eat this way at least 90% of the week. I love green smoothies, as well as my beloved high-speed ‘Blendtec’ blender makes them super smooth, rich and creamy.
:: M Y S T I C A L W O R L D ::
My awakening I have a very simple morning ritual; I drink a large glass of water (warm water and lemon if I have time) then take a walk with my dog before making a big green juice for my boyfriend and I. We’re really into stronger flavoured spicy juices now the weather has turned colder so I use a lot of ginger, lemongrass, whole lemons and sometimes a bit of green chilli for an extra kick.
My sign I’m a Capricorn
My mantra I don’t really have a mantra as such but I love the line in the Baz Luhrmann song ‘Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)’ which goes: ‘Enjoy your body… it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own’. I think so many people live unhappily with their body but if you can learn to love it and feed, nourish and exercise it properly the rewards of such team work can be incredible.
My healer I think a balanced diet of fresh, natural food can be a great healer – physically, medicinally and emotionally.
My reading I’m fascinated by food so for me it’s any book related to the subject (I have hundreds!) and I really love searching out vintage cookbooks and out of print titles.
My transformation Trying out a raw food diet was a big transformation for me as I had no idea eating this way had the ability to make you feel so good. I think it should be renamed the ‘Happiness Diet’ as it’s almost like nature’s happy pill.
My mission I love to share my passion for fruit and vegetables (through my designs and recipes) and if that encourages or inspires others to eat more of them then that makes me very happy!
We know, we know…too much social media can be a recipe for the dreaded “compare & despair”. Life coach Lucy Sheridan shares why it’s so easy to fall for the filter factor, and how we can all fight back.
This NU digital age means it’s easy for us to take for granted the power at our fingertips and how technology can make our lives more streamlined, where before there might have been effort and chaos.
Increasingly though, the “power couple” that is technology and social media, presents an interesting and complex counter dynamic to the no-brainer benefits of the digital world.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I think social media is amazing. It’s one of the best ways to keep in the loop with people we know and love (and people we don’t for that matter – ex stalking, anyone?)
It feels like geography and time zones no longer matter. There’s the arrival of a baby in one feed, and a stack of amazing paleo pancakes in another. The significant and the small sit side by side as we consume the constant updates we allow to flood our lives.
We’re also more accessible than ever. I’ll bet you’ve been found by, and searched for, your school buddies from your distant past as well as that cool girl you sat next to at that workshop last weekend. These connections have evolved our networks and with this our feeds fill with more and more “news”.
The irony is that these increased connections can create a feeling of acute and uncomfortable separation. There’s a sense that there’s lots going on “over there”, and yet when we look at our own lives it’s crickets and tumbleweed.
Cue the “compare & despair” phenomenon that’s so aggressively on the rise.
If you’re like me, you may have looked at your feeds and thought everyone is basically:
• Having loads of amazing sex • Building businesses overnight • Living more spiritually than Gabby B • Raising beautiful, perfectly behaved vegan children • Moving into a home from MTV Cribs (Google it kidz) • Eating only the most delicious food in exclusive VIP restaurants • Enjoying luxury as standard when it comes to going on vacay
I fell deep into a pit of compare & despair after a high school reunion a couple of years ago, when my online habits and perceived place in my digital world began to have serious effects on my offline life.
More and more I felt disconnected from other people and, more worryingly, from myself. And I was supposed to be the Zen “life coachy” one in my gang? Uh-oh #Fail and #FML.
In short, my ego had been having a field day fixating and obsessing over all the areas I appeared to be falling short.
According to my feeds I wasn’t thin enough, clever enough, entrepreneurial enough, interesting enough – basically, just not “enough”. How that ego magpie pecked away at my confidence.
But waking up to what I call the “filter factor” snapped me out of my downward spiral.
After sitting uncomfortably with my negative feelings, I realized I was as much a perpetrator as I was a victim. After all, if I was over-thinking the angle, tone and words to use in my posts, then surely others were too?
Starting to notice, hone in on and stare my insecurities in the face was a difficult but necessary process to free me from my distracted ego state and make friends with myself again.
For me, this meant tuning back into the things I’d found it all too easy to tune out – i.e. my spiritual practice, spoken conversations and daily non-events that actually kept me grounded and in tune with myself.
Real connection happens in the spaces between our online and offline lives. The moments with #nofilter, where the failures, the poor choices, and the average, regular days are. Where nothing that interesting happens, and yet you still smile at someone in the street, laugh at a joke you heard or move your bag to let someone sit down on the subway.
I may still apply ‘Amaro’ to all my Instagram pics to make my skin look awesome but, when I do, I know I’m consciously tinkering with what people will see on the surface…just like everyone else is.
Here are six things to think about when fighting the filter factor:
Life is not a zero sum game. That is, just because you see someone else winning or succeeding does not mean you’re missing out or failing. Trust that you’ll get back what you’re putting in, whether that’s your parenting style, yoga practice or the new blog you’ve started. Stay focused on your own goals and remember there’s more than enough success to go round!
You never know the full story. What we see posted on Facebook and other channels is a snapshot of a result and does not show the hard toil and ugly tears that are part of the process of success.
Fine is fine: Most of the time life is fine. Only fine – and that’s okay! I can’t remember the last time my Wednesday afternoons were particularly epic, amazing or unforgettable. They’re usually just…fine.
Reality can have bite. Sometimes I make a point of posting stuff about the little things that make a day extra fine. A chalk drawing on the pavement in a not-very-cool-part-of town, a feather landing at my feet or finding the EXACT change for the parking meter in my pocket. Those little wins are the ones the prove the Universe has your back, boo! You don’t need to dress them up – they’re beautiful in any light and happen much more regularly than you realize. Be brave and post those every day miracles on your social media.
The power of an actual digital detox. This doesn’t mean deleting your Facebook STAT. How about just turning down your exposure to what’s distracting you, and reframing how you use your time. For example, if you’re rocking up to a job you hate day after day, instead of just scrolling Twitter on your way, perhaps use your commute to search job sites or tweak your CV. Or even stare out the window and be present, giving yourself the gift of a peaceful moment to help you decide what you really want.
Go back to basics. A “like” here and a retweet there can make us feel present and included in the lives of those we love. In fact it’s easy to forget that feelings of real connection are created and nurtured face to face. Taking the time out to really connect with those you love – whether it’s a meet up planned nine months in advance or a Skype call at the weekend – you’ll not only get the big news first hand and in detail, but you’ll feel the love of supporting your friends on their journey and vice versa.
Lucy Sheridan is a Life Coach hell bent on helping Gen Y girls overcome the comparison caused by social media and get what they want OFF-line. Find out more at www.proofcoaching.com
Is sexting the same as cheating? It all depends if you’re playing in the shadow or the light, says Ellie Burrows. Image: Katie Fischer
Sigh, the Madonna and the Whore. Is there anything more banal then reducing a woman to one of those two archetypes?
Madonna: Non-sexual woman. Keeper of morality. She offers her breasts to her children. She tempts you into eating your peas. She tempts you for your own good.
Whore: Sexual woman. Debaser of morality. She offers her breasts to everyone. She tempts your husband. She tempts you for her own good.
For thousands of years women have been cast in one of these two forms. There is no shortage of literature or decorated scholars who have devoted their lives to studying them. And, there are many feminists who have fought fiercely to destroy such narrow-minded classifications.
But I have a confession. I totally recognize this duality in myself and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
Enter: Sexting – digital fingering at its finest, and the space where I recently encountered my inner Madonna and Whore pushing their respective pleasure agendas. As it turns out, I was able to marry them when I understood how to align their supposedly conflicting interests. They were willing to sign a sacred contract, but they had to look each other in the face to do it.
A few months ago, I found myself in a budding Millennial relationship: we were really into each other but having a tough time sorting out the commitment piece. It forced me to evaluate my own feelings about monogamy. And when this column launched in April, it brought some men from my past out of the proverbial woodwork.
I hadn’t talked to Eric in years (name obviously changed). We grew up in the same place and had always had that energetic-sexy-vibe thing happening but we never actually acted on it, mostly due to timing with a dash of trepidation. He reached out to tell me that he was proud of me and confess that he had fantasized about me since his preteens. Before I knew it, we were sexting and it was tons of fun, like major smile-ear-to-ear fun. And if I’m being totally truthful, it happened two more times. Over Gchat. Off the record. That was the problem.
Hello Whore Ellie. Eric has a very serious girlfriend.
The next weekend I was with my boyfriend-who-wasn’t-my-boyfriend. He put up an Instagram that also drew out a woman from his past. When I saw his facial expression when he peeped at his screen, I was intrigued. He told me that she was someone he had a one-night-stand with and since then had occasionally sexted with. He assured me that I had nothing to worry about.
But, I wasn’t concerned at all. Like, at all. See, I knew that I had just engaged in a sexting conversation with someone I was attracted to and it had absolutely nothing to do with him. It wasn’t going anywhere: I’m monogamous and I like to flirt. Of course, someone could say that if I really loved him I wouldn’t have sexted with someone else. If you’re that someone, please go buy Esther Perel’s Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence. Immediately. #requiredreading
Then the following came out of my mouth:
“It’s okay if you sext with her.”
“Well, I’m not sure sexting with her is a direct reflection of how you feel about me. It has nothing to do with me. It’s just an aggressive form of flirting. I would be fine with it as long as she knows that I know that it’s happening and it doesn’t actually become physical.”
“If you both know that I’m aware that it’s going on and are still willing to sext, then you’re playing in the light. Then we are all engaging in conscious behavior and all of us get to enjoy the fantasy. However, if you can’t share it with me and you don’t think I can be part of the fun then that’s playing in the dark. That would be messy.”
Then I dropped the bomb. “In fact, I sexted with someone last week.”
“Really? Look at you.” He had a mischievous smile on his face that mirrored mine.
“Yes, and that exchange had absolutely nothing to do with my love for you. Totally mutually exclusive. It’s sophisticated flirtation. Except his girlfriend doesn’t know about it which is a problem.”
It was like we were sitting in an energetic room and the ceiling was lined with fluorescents. I could see everything. Deception is the fertile soil where the Madonna and the Whore’s separateness is able to survive. And that really is some holy shit.
The next day, I reached out to Eric and shared my revelation. He loved his girlfriend very much but was doing this behind her back, casting her as the Madonna and me as the Whore. I didn’t like engaging in this kind of shadow behavior because it didn’t allow us to play together. It kept us separate.
Maybe Eric believed that his girlfriend couldn’t see the duality and understand the nature of our flirting and so he felt the need to hide it from her. That, or he actually felt like it could go somewhere with me. But by going along with the deception, I wasn’t holding a space; I was trampling straight through one. And if we couldn’t play in the light, then it needed to end. So I ended it. I told him we could speak as long as we could keep it PG. Sadly, Eric and I haven’t spoken in months.
Hello Madonna Ellie. I support monogamy so I wanted to support Eric’s relationship. I also wanted to honor his girlfriend and only play with Eric if we could all play together.
The Madonna and Whore archetypes are in all of us. Both are remarkable extremes in their own right. I intimately know my Madonna and my Whore, and my life is an exercise in integrating them. It’s way beyond just being “a lady in the streets but a freak between the sheets.” I love both of them and so they love each other. I offer each a seat at my well-lit table and that is where they are able to break bread.
Looking for an alternative New Moon manifestation ritual? Artist Monica Ruiz makes prayer flags for herself and her friends as a way of reppin’ her love for the life she gets to live. Main image: Larry Louie
When I think of prayer flags, fabric panels ranging in sizes and colors with spiritual images, hanging and swaying in a breeze in a secret garden or a cute storefront, I always see and feel peace, wishes fulfilled, Universal love and freedom.
I had given to friends and also received the mini-squares from Tibet that represent light and all the elements, thus bringing health and harmony to all. After the panels naturally fade away due to the elements, it is believed that the mindful loving intentions within the flag fade into the Universe, contributing to an ongoing cycle of the flag’s blessings.
I wanted to re-create my own using images I had already saved from magazines, old books and stamps, and even just cool paper that felt special to my heart. After I made a quick one just to see if my vision was as easy as it seemed (it is!) I kinda went prayer-flag crazy. I made them for everyone around me, including many for myself.
The two that hang in my studio today represent the surfing elements for my Pisces ocean-loving soul-surfer boyfriend, along with some “Marie Antoinette/ French masquerade” vibes pour moi!
And then I have one hanging up in my vanity room / lounge reppin’ my love of books, writing, and my job at the library that supports my life and allows me to live out my daydreams. While I’m putting on my mascara in the a.m. I can glance up and give thanks with a smile.
My flags are small pieces of art that I feel serve as sacred reminders of the simple things that make us smile and lift our spirit. While I like to hang ours on our year-round blue fairy lights in our bedroom, doorways and windows are fun too. I have also hung them up on bulletin boards on my desk at work and on a huge collage at home. There was even one point they were nicknamed “Purr Flags,” by a friend who felt all warm and fuzzy on receiving hers.
Having got such a great reaction gifting them to people I know, I decided to make a special one as a birthday gift for my spiritual teacher Gabrielle Bernstein a couple of years ago. I’ve written about my gratitude for her before, as she’s kinda been the vessel for many hardcore lessons I’ve needed to start receiving, and for learning more about forgiveness, love and how to listen to my heart and angels.
I felt compelled to make a prayer flag a la Gabby, with images that included her love of street art, the cosmos, her recent engagement in Paris, sacred Buddha statues, mystical silhouettes, powerful words, vibrant energy and of course just lots of LOVE.
Only Love is Real is Gabby’s motto, and I felt like I wanted this flag to have my love and appreciation for Gabby literally bursting through because of the gifts she has shared with me. It took all day, but it was so enjoyable and groovy to create. I was also happy and excited to put many of the images I’d save for future flags of my own on my guru’s flag, because I actually felt the transfer of love: it felt good to give away something beautiful that I loved. It was a true gift of appreciation from the heart.
Because of Hurricane Sandy that year, Gabby didn’t actually receive my flag until May 2013, while her birthday was November 1st! Regardless, my birthday/gratitude gift cosmically made it to her six months later. The morning I woke up and saw it unexpectedly on her Instagram feed, I felt like I was lucid-dreaming. She had it hanging up already and was allowing the magic and love from my home into hers. She loved my gift and I loved making it for her, and the prayer flag looks so cool in Gabby’s “zen den”.
Are you inspired to make one now? Let’s do this…
Here’s how to make a prayer flag for a sweet soul in five simple steps.
Paper images (magazines cut-outs, computer graphics, old books, saved stamps, cards, clip-art, etc)
Twine (pre-cut to the length you want your flag)
Card stock or construction paper
Paper clips (optional)
Think about how many panels you’d like to work with. I’d start small at first with either three or five (odd numbers work best and the traditional flags come in sets of five, but remember there are no rules!) However many you choose you will need enough images to cover both sides.
You can either pre-cut your card-stock and then alter your images after or cut your card-stock around the image leaving about an inch as a border. Remember, this is not about being “perfect” or having exact straight lines – you’r e creating something from the heart to bring joy into your heart and home!
Glue one image to each panel’s center, one side of the panel only.
Grab your double-stick tape and twine. Lay the panels down in a row, with the image just glued on face down with a little space in between each panel. Now along the top, lay the twine across about one inch below the top edge and place a piece of double-stick tape in the center of the twine on each panel.
Glue the remaining images in the center of each panel, on top of double-stick tape/twine combo.
Voila! Your flags are ready to be shared and invoke feelings of peace, spirit, strength and magic.
Sacred and simple, have fun bringing the tradition of prayer flags into your home. Tie some little loops at the end and use a couple of twisted paperclips if needed and they can be draped wherever you like. Enjoy the process of making each panel personal but keep the process simple.
Whether you make a prayer flag for yourself or for someone special, just remember to use images that make you feel good, because whatever is made with your heart is your art. And don’t forget they are reversible! Switch ’em up depending on your mood or needed inspiration. Sometimes I will do an opposite theme on each side, like maybe sweet dreams contrasted with powerful sun energy. Use your intuition and just pick art and pictures you like! Be whimsical.
When I commented on the prayer flag I made for Gabby the last time I saw it on IG, she sweetly replied; “I look at them every day and I love them!” Wishes-fulfilled and blessings received, Amen.
Island dweller Monica Ruiz is a collage artist, hardcore daydreamer, HayHouse book reviewer, bloggess, burrito lover, cat enthusiast, librarian assistant and wanderluster who is obsessed with good hip-hop beats, Lana Del Rey and Paris, France. She owns way too many black clothes, swoons over Sofia Coppola films and loves the concept of protecting your magic with an open heart.
Yay, you’re going on a yoga retreat! You want to get the most out of your experience, right? Who better than Heather Lilleston and Kumi Sawyers from Yoga For Bad People to lay down some summer retreat etiquette. We’re talking less freaking out, more more F.U.N.
Respect your roomie. Adults sharing accommodation is basically a very tricky situation, so when you’re sharing, let them have their space. We’re not here to make best friends, and if that does happen it should be a natural thing. You don’t need to hit the beach together every time.
Now give everybody else their space. The first day is always hardest and weirdest because everybody is landing. Maybe you’re dealing with some travel issues – your luggage gets lost, you can’t poop. Whatever it is, just know that you need to give yourself and everyone else the time and space to deal.
Be presentwith your packing. On a retreat in India for example, of course bring your yoga clothes but be prepared to honor local dress codes and maybe wait until you get there to buy something to wear. But Brazil is all about spandex and booty shorts. Also bring enough yoga clothes so you won’t need to wash them. Nobody likes a stinky yogi.
Don’t list your shitin the sharing circle. Sure it’s one way to get to know each other, but telling a 20-minute story listing the injuries you’re here to heal is too much. Choose your moments, and your listeners. Often people are blind to being the talkers, so practise a little self-awareness. Be responsible for your own situation.
Respect the property. It the place has a homey vibe, it can be a fine line but it’s not an open kitchen. You’re getting two meals a day and possibly some snacks, and no, it’s not okay to just go and open up the fridge.
Bring your own props. Check with the teachers about what’s available, and pack a block and a strap if you need them so you’re not shorted in your practise.
Remember this is not a private. If the classes are either too advanced for you or not fast enough, complaining to the teacher is not the way to go. But do ask, “how can you help me modify?” – it’s why we’re here. Don’t just slam your yoga into an hour like you do back home. When your teacher is there at breakfast with you, don’t waste the opportunity to use us. We chose to do this work because we love it.
Let the teachers be the leaders. If you speak the local language, by all means step in when it’s useful, but part of the whole lesson is; “this is your time to retreat, not to run the show.” Especially you, men. You may see two female yoga teachers and feel like you need to be the man – but you know what, we have this. Chill out.
Don’t be too schmoozy. When people come out of savasana, especially after a few days of yoga, they’re in a calmer space than usual and might not want to talk. If you’re in the mood to chitchat, feel out where everybody else it, and give people a little transition time.
Be tech appropriate. We have no problem with people using their cell phones or computers, we’re equally addictive about technology, but on other retreats that might be really annoying. Also, ask before you Instagram.
Show up, whatever the weather. Rain can ruin an entire retreat – but only if you let it. Don’t let it. If the forecast is bad, how about you just don’t look at it. Now is the time to remember your meditation teachings. We don’t angst about the things we can’t control, we just let them be.
Hook up with your fellow yogis. Why not? You’re on vacation and it’s cute. But if you end up in a couple or you’re travelling with your partner to begin with, maybe keep the PDAs to a minimum (#smug)
Enforced skinny-dipping? No.
Yoga For Bad People’s next retreat will take place in Turkey, August 18-25th. For more details and booking information click here.
Spirit Junkie Gabrielle Bernstein is as famous for her fabulous outfits as her modern girl philosophy on living a miraculous life. She talks wedding dresses, turbans and shopping from an abundance mindset with Ruby Warrington. Portraits by Annie Powers.
So did you always dress like the fashionista babe we know and love from your Instagram feed Gabby? No – I used to dress like Mariah Carey, I’m not even kidding. Horrifying! It was like the tighter the better because I used to work out so much, I was like I may as well wear tight clothes. Also when I was building my business really wasn’t into spending money on clothes.
So that wasn’t something you ever used to of make you feel good about yourself? That’s a trap a lot of people fall into… No! I wanted to always look good, but I didn’t need it to be a designer brand, or some major fashion statement. But that changed when I met my fiance Zach. He has very, very strong interest in fashion, and he would take me to McQueen and Barney’s, and places like Costume National and Comme des Garcons – for me it was like going to a museum.
Was there a turning point when you got into high fashion yourself? I think that happened when I bought my first pair of Isabel Marant sneakers, which coincided with me starting to be in the mindset of like; ‘oh I can afford to buy them’, you know? And that was kind of like a big deal for me.
I remember those first experiences too – spending real money on clothes and feeling like ‘this isn’t going to completely bankrupt me’. It’s like getting into an ‘abundance’ mindset… Yeah! It was amazing. But really if you always shop within your price range you can always feel abundant – buying on credit automatically creates a feeling of lack. And if you’ve saved up for something special the energy is clean. I’ve also got to a place where spending $300 on one special piece makes me feel way more special that walking out of H&M with ten bags of cheap plastic stuff.
We’ve spoken about this before, but tell me about detoxing your closet from all the ‘plastic’… I was addicted to hi-lo shopping, and I had to recognize that it was an addiction based on my old belief system. My parents weren’t wealthy, so my experience of gifts and shopping growing up was all about quantity over quality – that was normal, but not right. When I was able to witness that I put myself on 90 days of no hi-lo shopping. And I’ve remained abstinent!
You must get loaned a lot of stuff these days too? I was introduced to one of my favorite designers, Camilla, through my friend Annie Ladino, a really great stylist in New York. She put me in touch Camilla’s publicist Denise, and then they just started loaning me a ton of stuff – amazing. Now I own so many of her kaftans it’s insane. It’s become a go-to look for me because it kind of works anywhere anytime, even though it’s more beachy and summery.
And it’s also so the opposite of the whole ‘Maraiah Carey’, in your face sexy thing. Exactly, yeah. And you know, I used to dress like super hippie at college too.
Really? Like what kind of stuff? Oh my god like, corduroy pants and Birkenstocks and all of that shit! Ripped t-shirts…
Sounds rad… Do you still have any clothes from that period? Do you get sentimental about keeping old clothes, or do you prefer to keep the energy in your closet nice and clean of memories? The only things I have from back then are like, the things I stole from my college room mate…she had great style, but maybe don’t put her name in this story! But in general I’m not sentimental about material things, I don’t get attached. You’re setting yourself up for failure that way, because at some point it will be lost, or break, and if it’s become so special there’ll be a sense of loss.
I think you’ve always been inspired by the way your friends dress too – right? Yeah, like my friend Elisa has become a sort of fashion guide for me. I just really like the way she puts herself together, so I started to buy what she was getting, you know. But it’s less about copying than enjoying and appreciating how somebody looks.
Some women can get territorial about their ‘look’ – what’s that all about do you think? That comes from a place of comparison and attachment to being uniquely ‘you’ – it’s a way for your ego to enhance your ‘specialness,’ as if only you can have that look. I say, when people want to dress like you see it as a compliment.
Do you feel like you do that with people, in the same way that you’ve had lots of different guides, teachers and gurus in your life as well? Yeah. I think in every area of your life you can definitely pick up different things from people you find inspiring and make them your own…even Zach has been a great teacher to me when it comes to fashion. But again, it’s about taking those ideas and making things your own – constantly bringing it back to what is real to you, and not getting too into the comparison thing of thinking ‘I have to be like you’.
You’ve told me how you like to gift yourself also. Why is that important? When you buy something as a gift to yourself, the energy behind it is coming from a place of gratitude, as opposed to neediness. That’s when it becomes a gift, not an indulgence. A celebration of yourself.
So when do you gift yourself? Well around the time that I sold my fourth book I kind of had a little shopping party for a few weeks…
Oh, good! Yeah…but I have to be careful, because I can still find myself doing these weird, sporadic shops when I just end up with stuff I don’t need. I think a lot of women have this problem. So, I try to stick to only going out shopping with an intention, you know? You also said something once that really hit home for me – when you’re contemplating a purchase, ask ‘is there something else that will do the same thing?’
So what’s on your spirit junkie shopping list right now? Well since I got into Kundalini yoga I’m trying to buy more whites. Like yesterday I bought some white jeans and a turban online. The turban was from Venuis Turbans in LA, I basically just googled it!
Love it. I also got Zach some mala beads, which are for meditating with – it’s a necklace with 108 beads, which you count through your fingers as you chant a mantra. Usually when I’m teaching I’ll have a mala in my hand too, or if you’re like having a bad day you can just carry them with you.
Cool. I want you to talk to more about turbans, and why they’re important too… So, you when practicing Kundalini, you want to keep the energy you create in your body, that’s why you cover your head. From a personal perspective I also feel like I want to respect the sacred tradition – I feel like if I’m a teacher I’ve got to play by the rules. And I also do feel the difference. As you open your chakras, you can feel pain in your crown chakra. Like you can get headaches, or you can feel like, almost bruised on the top of your head – and when you wear the turban it feels better.
Almost like a little bandage? Why is that, that you feel sore? Because the energy is soaring through the top of your crown!
Okay wow. So back to the “whites.” Why? It’s about reflecting positive energy out into the world, whereas dark colors, and particularly black, can soak up negativity. So in general I have found myself clearing a lot of black out of my wardrobe. I just don’t feel that good when I’m wearing it anymore.
Did you wear a lot of black in your PR days? That’s the classic image of a New York City PR girl… Yeah, I think I’ve always worn a lot of black! And I love my black leather Acne jacket, it’s one of my most treasured items, but it can feel kind of like I’m wearing a dark hole, you know? It feels heavy. I’m actually thinking my new staple is going to be white jeans.
Good idea. What are your favorite denim brands? I like Citizens of Humanity and I actually don’t own a pair of Mother jeans yet but I love the way they look on people. I also really like Isabel Marant’s jeans, of course!
Now I’m interested to hear how else the contents of your wardrobe has shifted since you’ve began following a more spiritual path. Well apart from the white, I feel like I want to dress more beautifully, if that makes sense. I’m inspired by people like my Kundalini teacher Gurmukh, who always wears her turban and her whites, but might have a color she’s representing that day in her beads that is also reflected in a gem on her turban. She’s very artful about the way she adorns herself, almost like she’s dressing herself like a priestess.
Actually Gurmukh’s turban is really amazing. It’s outrageous. She hasn’t actually cut her hair for 45 years, and when she doesn’t wear her turban you just see this like huge bun on top of her head. It’s not dreadlocks, she washes it, but it’s probably down to her butt, you know?
Amazing. Are you going to stop cutting your hair as well? Absolutely not! But in terms of how I want to dress, in Kundalini in particular, it’s almost like a sign of respect for yourself and the class to show up really well dressed. I remember during my teacher training I was doing like a praktikum and I wasn’t wearing all white that day, and my teacher…
Sorry, what’s a praktikum? It’s where you take a fake class to practice. So I was teaching in front of my ‘class’ and I was being graded on it. And I didn’t wear all white that day and my teacher told me off! Even if you’re wearing wrinkled clothes, they’re like, ‘go iron your outfit!’ But it all comes from an emphasis on self-care. Yogi Bhajan was also really into jewelry and gemstones.
It’s interesting, in ‘The Doors of Perception’ Aldous Huxley talks a lot about how in visionary experience the world often reveals itself in this kind of glowing, jewel-like state. He thinks that that’s one of the reasons jewels have been so revered throughout history and why precious stones became precious. Because in some way they reflect to us the way the world was really made. That’s neat, that makes sense to me. And there’s also the energy and the healing properties of the stones. Gurmukh has told me I really need to get an emerald for my pinkie, because it’s the finger that represents the voice, the speaker, and the emerald amplifies the voice.
Nice. And I know we’ve spoken as well about the whole thing of living in your yoga clothes. Does that still happen? Yep! By day I’m in my yoga clothes which means by night I’m ready to get dressed up and go out.
Which is probably the reverse to how a lot of women dress! Exactly, but I love to get dressed up for my evening lectures for example. For that my outfits can really vary. I mean I’ve worn anything from a really wild Camilla caftan, to like my Isabel Marant fringe boots with like tight black pants and a top. Then other times I’ll wear something more conservative, like a Helmut Lang blazer and jeans. It really depends on the crowd and the overall vibe.
Totally. And what about how an outfit makes you feel? I feel really empowered wearing nice clothes. It wasn’t always like that, I didn’t always care, but I’ve realized that fashion can literally make me feel like a different person. Whether I’m teaching or lecturing, wearing something that will expand my presence is important.
Absolutely. But do you ever have those days when nothing you put on makes you feel right? Like the hours are counting down to your lecture and you’re like ‘no, no, no.’ Have you got a go-to that always works? A good jumper is always a go-to. I have long ones, short ones, and actually if I were to buy anything new right now it would be more rompers because I like the way I can put it on and then I’m done. And I mean, even I had to go to a black tie wedding I think I’d wear like this Catherine Malandrino jumper I have.
Well speaking of weddings, how did you chose what to wear to marry Zach? This is like, the most important public speaking gig of your life. I take it you are doing a speech?! I’m wearing the second dress I bought…which it typical of the bad habits in my shopping style, like, get the first thing you see then go back and get it right! I wanted to wear something that was a real wedding dress, so I could feel like a bride. For anybody who wants to see it, we’ll be doing a #spiritjunkiewedding hash tag on Instagram. See you there!