12.29.2014

Mirror, Mirror




Mirror, mirror on the wall, please let every person know that she is beautiful. Not just beautiful, but filled to the brim -- overflowing -- with beauty. Radiating the most gorgeous light. Internally, externally. Naturally, uniquely, infinitely.

Photos by Charlotte.

12.24.2014

Video: 2 Years in Philadelphia



In April 2012, I moved to Philadelphia, PA to start my new job as a blogger for Free People. 
I didn't know a single soul. In April 2014, t'was time for me to be moving on.

Here's what happened in between.


Every so often, I like to edit together all the footage I've collected over a certain period of time. With 2014 coming to a close, now seems the perfect time to debut this video of exactly two years in Philadelphia.

Two very full -- yet very quick -- years, where I changed so freaking much. I learned so much. Grew so much. Laughed so much. I was introduced to some of the most incredible people I've ever known. And, yes, there were some really really really really hard times. A lot of them. Times that tested my strength in ways I never thought imaginable. Times that pushed me to do a whole lot of growing. 

You won't see those times in this video, though. Not because I don't want to admit they existed -- to me, the harder times are represented in this video right next to the easier ones. The reason those times aren't evident to the outside eye is simply because I'd never let them wipe the smile from my face. No matter how hard life gets, you've got to keep going. You make the best of every situation, taking each as it comes, and knowing that it's all a learning experience. That's what life is. You have the choice to make it fun. Why choose anything but

April 2012 to April 2014 was one of the most hectic, intense, beautiful, fun chapters I've experienced thus far in this life. It brings me to the verge of tears when I think of how crucial this time period has been to my personal growth; how many wonderful memories were created. It changed me in so many ways, and I will be forever grateful for every single thing -- every single person -- it's given me. 

Damn. Thank you, Philly. You'll always feel like home to me.

**To view this in HD, head to Vimeo and watch there!**

12.21.2014

Natural Beauty Crush x 2


As much as I love (love love love love) beauty products, I'm a tad picky. They have to be natural (bonus points if 100% organic), they have to smell incredible, and they have to be attractively packaged. Welp, I feel like I hit the natural beauty jackpot, because I've just been introduced to two brands who do exactly that... and now I'm obsessed.

First is GingerChi, whose products are based on the healing powers of ginger and the wonderful effect it has on our Chi (the life force present in you, me, and all other living things). I was immediately drawn to their hair serum and how its scent lifts me up as soon as I apply it. I work a few drops into the tips of my freshly-washed hair and let it work its magic as my hair dries. I'm also in love with the nail serum, which has been a total lifesaver on my cuticles. I use it before bed, and wake up to moisture-locked nails and cuticles. So great. Their foot therapy is total bliss for my heels, as well. Also pictured above are their ginger lime and coconut ginger almond soaps. I'm saving these for a special occasion, but I can tell you this: they smell so lovely.

The second brand is Om Aroma & Co., whose products are made by rad women up in the Catskills of New York. I'm absolutely infatuated with their carrot rose serum. No, like I've only had it for a week and I'm more than halfway done with the bottle because I can't stop using it. My skin has never ever been smoother -- and people keep commenting on how good it looks! I'm also loving their lavender toning mist, with which I douse my face and body upon getting out of the shower. The toner and serum work so, so beautifully together. They also have a spa, which I'm dyyying to try out.

Alright, guys. Your turn: What natural beauty products are infiltrating your life these days? You know I'm always down to try out some new ones. :)

11.17.2014

Monday


The name of the day alone brings overwhelming feelings of anxiety. Monday forces you to look at your tasks for the week ahead. Usually so many more than you even care to think about. But Monday symbolizes a fresh new start. Today, you can set the pace for the week ahead.

Here, right now, it's raining and it's Monday. And here, right now, I'm gonna be really freaking productive. Join me?

11.15.2014

Outside of Me



Am I really all the things that are outside of me? Would I complete myself without the things I like around?

These words, heard first by Animal Collective in 2009, form two questions that force us to shine the spotlight on our perceptions of our very own selves.

A concept that causes us to really think for a moment.

I call myself a "beauty collector." That, I say, is a term that describes a large part of me; a big piece of who I am. I'm constantly gathering little bits and pieces of things I find beautiful, and shifting and arranging them, putting them to use in any way I deem fit.

But... is beauty collecting who I am? Or is it, perhaps, solely what I do?

These two questions force us to go inside of ourselves. To realize that without everything that surrounds us, we are still ourselves. We still are.

These words are not to take meaning away from the activities we enjoy doing and the objects we love surrounding ourselves with... but rather to help us break down our attachments to these things. To allow them to be parts of our lives without actually defining who we are in our truest nature.

You don't need to be anything or anyone. You just need to be. And do you know what? You already are.

11.04.2014

Experiment




Something I think would benefit us all to do every day. In the words we use, the clothes we wear, the foods we eat, and the places we go. Experimentation brings true experience. And nothing is more real than that which we go through ourselves.

10.29.2014

Notorious



I recently spent a whole week making these 16 huge dreamcatchers to be sold on the Free People website. I was so excited for it. I was so excited to share this image with everyone as an announcement that they were on the site for all to see. I was proud.

But, I just received word that when they arrived at Free People's shipment center, every single one of them was broken. Every single one.

Every single dreamcatcher that I cut, and glued, and braided, and tied. I gave them names, I sung to them. I stayed up late and got up early and Snapchatted the living daylights out of them. And none of them made it through.

It always seems like just when life is giving you everything, it goes back and takes a huge chunk away.

Last week, someone broke into my car, and hardly stole anything... except for the brand new bottle of herbs that I was depending on to make my body finally heal after more than 3 years of whatever the ef has been going inside of it. Seriously. I was so excited to start taking them. The doctor is in Brooklyn and his office is only open a few times a week, so I've had to go this whole week without that bottle.

And as I write this post with tears in my eyes, I know it's all good. It's always been all good, and it will always be good. Things get hard, and often all at once. But we're strong enough to handle them, otherwise they wouldn't happen to us to begin with.

Instead of letting these things ruin my day, my week, my month... I'd rather keep going. Let's focus on the good things, and realize that these little things are not life or death. But you know what? Even if they were... it's still all good.

So yes, I will make those dreamcatchers again. I will make them even better, even more beautiful, and with even more intention as I do so. I will package them up like they're about to be launched into space. Transit won't have a shot against them. And as for the bottle of herbs that will be in my hands in just five short hours... well I will carry that thing with me wherever I go.

It's all good baby, baby. And if you don't know, now you know.

Ten Things


1. I just came across these photos taken on a semi-recent trip to Asheville. I'm just realizing now that I can't, for the life of me, name the month of said trip. Was it within the past year? It had to have been. Was it, though? I really have no idea.
2. I'm incredibly tired right now. My eyes are closing as we speak. But I really felt the urge to do a Ten Things post. And when the urge hits, you can't deny it.
3. These days I've really been hit with a wave of anticipatory excitement. I'll be making a new city my new home at some point in the coming months. I'm thinking before spring, but we shall see. And I do indeed have a city in mind, but we shall see about that, as well.
4. This weekend I'm headed back to Philly for the first time in several months. I still feel at home in that city, and I can't freaking wait to be surrounded by those loved ones of mine who inhabit it.
5. Have you guys ever tried Hail Merry's Chocolate Miracle Tart? Holy freaking oh my goodness. It is a pure piece of raw, vegan, gluten-free heaven. I fell in love with it after my first bite, and began experimenting with making my own the very next day. I think I nailed it on the first try. Promise I'll share the recipe soon.
6. I've been placing a ridiculous amount of online orders these days. A lot of them are for my shop, which makes it totally acceptable, but lately it seems there's been at least one package at the door with my name on it every day. Today there were three. It's like Christmas.
7. Last week I made the conscious decision to start cleaning up after myself right away -- instead of letting dishes/clothing/Etsy shop messes pile up around me for months before doing anything about them. I can't say it's been a total 180, but I'm getting there.
8. I keep finding ticks on my beloved baby cat, and I am not psyched about it.
8. Yesterday I decided to listen to Animal Collective for the first time in a whiiiiile. Yo, they're really good. I'm listening to them right now, actually. I really admire their ability to create such interesting layered sounds. There's no way I can describe the way it makes me feel other than... alive.
9. I wrote #10 before I wrote #9. So now I'm just going to leave #9 like this.
10. You're beautiful. JSYK.

10.27.2014

Something New



Thank you dearly, Ms. Grucci, for showing me the joys of shooting RAW.

Still learning, y'all. No judgements just yet, por favor.

10.25.2014

Natural Deodorant for All: Recipe & Giveaway - CLOSED








You guys probably already know that I have a **tHiNg*~** for natural beauty products. Chemicals are no bueno, and we do not want to be putting those things onto (and ultimately into) our precious bodies. Even if you can't get yourself to fully hop onto the natural beauty thing just yet, pleeease promise me this one thing: that you'll switch to natural deodorant.

I can’t act like I can give you the exact science behind why antiperspirants are bad – just hearing it come from Lilavati is enough for me. That woman is all-knowing. And, just think about it logically – your body is supposed to sweat. It’s a natural thing. If we physically restrain our glands from doing their job, I’d imagine we’re keeping toxins locked in our bodies instead of allowing them to be released through our skin.

Now, I’ve made a ton of beauty products in the past few years. Hair masks, facial cleansers, body scrubs, face mists, toothpaste, mouthwash… the list goes on. And I have to admit: I’ve never been able to make something that worked better than something I’ve bought elsewhere. Except for this deodorant.

I made my first version of this back in May, and I have used it every single day since. That’s 5 months. It WORKS. I seriously stand behind it, and I just want everyone in the world to use it! That’s why I decided to do this here giveaway.

Here’s the recipe:

¾ cups organic unrefined virgin coconut oil (room temperature works best)
1 cup mixture of natural baking soda & organic arrowroot flour
15-20 drops organic essential oil

To make, scoop coconut oil into a bowl, then add your mixture of baking soda and arrowroot flour – use ½ a cup of each for regular skin, or ¼ cup baking soda and ¾ cup arrowroot flour for sensitive skin, then mix well. (The baking soda can be irritating to some, so my advice is to use less of it to begin with, and figure out what works best for you.) The mixture should be well-combined, without any excess dry ingredients. If it’s too dry, add a bit more coconut oil. Then, add your essential oils – about 15 drops for sensitive skin, 20 for regular. The version I’m giving away uses bergamot oil, which is a gorgeously intoxicating scent – but you can use whatever you like!

Bergamot oil can become harmful if exposed to sunlight, so be sure to store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

If your skin isn’t used to using a natural deodorant, it may take a few weeks for your body to become accustomed to this. Please don’t give up on it. Use it a few times a day if you need. You’ll likely begin to sweat less and less – and, who knows? One day you may not even need deodorant at all!

**A huge thank you to everyone who suggested their recipes here. I gathered info from all of your recipes in order to land on this final recipe!**

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY.

I'm gifting a 2-ounce tin to 10 of you beautiful people. I don’t care if you live next door to me, or all the way around the world – this giveaway is open to EVERYONE. Just comment below telling me something beautiful you experienced today. Something you saw, heard, felt, thought… anything. Let’s spread that beauty everywhere! The winners will be chosen randomly, but you better believe I’ll be reading every single comment. :)

Make sure you include your email address so that I’ll have a way of contacting you!

I hope that the rest of you will make it on your own using this recipe… Or if you don’t feel like getting that into it, you can buy some from my Etsy shop!

Good luck my friends, and remember to keep this life beautiful.

**UPDATE**
This giveaway is now closed, and all winners have been notified. Thank you all so much for entering!

10.19.2014

Entirely

While I do appreciate the juxtaposition of old & new, there's just something about an outfit constructed entirely of vintage pieces. Something about it that I find fascinatingly beautiful. And that is this outfit right here. 

It's funny, too, when the pieces you end up loving the most are those that cost the least -- and often those that you weren't even too fond of in the beginning. I almost got rid of that velvet top right after I first bought it about 2 years ago. The keyhole made me feel like all I was ready to go clubbin'... or something that just really didn't suit me. But I ended up keeping it, and I'm so glad I did. The belt is something I just bought earlier this week. I second guessed it a bunch of times before I went for it, but let me tell you: I've found myself wearing it every single day since. 

The boots are a pair of old school Steve Maddens -- about 2 sizes too big for me -- but they are hands down my most complimented pair of shoes. Even with candle wax stains that I can't quite figure out to remove.

And how about that skirt? Oh, that skirt. A treat from my girl April at Thread & Roses. It's one of those maxis that flows so beautifully with every step you take. I'm in love. Since April is such a cool girl, she's offering you guys 10% off when you order from her shop with the code HUMMUSBIRD. Do it up, friends. She's a Portland babe with excellent taste.

Photos of me by Charlotte.


10.12.2014

Sunday Vibes


Wishing you all the coolest of Sundays. Mine is pretttttty freaking chill. Well, aside from getting up mad early to support this one by taking her new classes at the gym this morning. Two hours straight of working my bod after sleeping 4 hours... It was awesome though, and so worth it.

Now I'm chilling in a sweatsuit, both feet up on the table, eating shitloads of celery, baby carrots, sunflower seed butter, dried cranberries, and goat cheese.

It's been a good day so far.

Maybe I'll put away some laundry later. Maybe I won't.

I hope your day is relaxed to the max. <3

10.07.2014

We Became the Same.



This song says everything that any of us will ever need to know. Press play... and scroll through this post again.

Aloha


I have just returned from an entire week on Maui with my two sisters and my younger sister's boyfriend. That place is so full of beauty. More photos to come. :)

9.22.2014

Why Aren't You Smiling?


The concept of life is a strange, strange thing, but I think a shift is happening. It seems that more and more people are starting to get it; to become enlightened... to realize what it's really about. Jhene Aiko is certainly one of them. I heard this song for the first time this morning, and almost immediately the tears started to flow. Not because I was sad, not because I was happy. Simply because of the truth I was hearing -- feeling -- in her words. Nothing's real... yet nothing isn't real. Everything keeps going... it'll never stop. You have to embrace it, flow with it. Take it in and live it with everything you are. Life is just... life. Life is. There's not reason not to smile.

9.21.2014

Capture, Breathe





I often get overwhelmed when I think of the amount of images I capture every day. I get inspired easily, and it's like I never want to miss an opportunity to capture a piece of beauty to share and hold onto forever -- or hold onto until the next comes along. It's undoubtedly a blessing and a curse -- and capturing vs. fully experiencing is something I hope to work on balancing out -- but part of the blessing of a trillion captured moments is that they show you how much you're actually experiencing in a short period of time. How much beauty you're exposed to, how many incredible human beings surround you, how many little adventures come your way, how full your life is... always.

Maybe I can use this very realization -- brought about by the overabundance of captured moments -- as a tool to help the aforementioned balancing process; to take a step back and slow it down. We experience so much, all the time. It's likely that this will always be the case. We're constantly experiencing, constantly changing. There will always be something to capture -- why take photos as though there will soon be a shortage of inspiring moments? Why take our present selves out of these beautiful moments just to get that shot? We should let ourselves capture, then let ourselves breathe. Capture, breathe; capture, breathe. There's so much around us to soak in, so let's make a point to choose certain moments to soak in fully, with all we are. Let's choose to do this more often than not.

Sometimes, though, one of those beautiful moments is the experience itself of capturing an image -- or in creating a piece of beauty that's fit to capture. An experience that would never happen if capturing were not an option. 

Capture, breathe.

9.19.2014

San SebastiƔn




On trips, as in life, you can plan as much as you like. You can plan where you'll go, what you'll do, who you'll meet, what you eat. You can plan for things to go according to plan, or you can plan for things to do no such thing. On this particular day, though, there was no way we could have planned to approach a huge speaker blasting dance music as we were leaving the beach. There was no way we could have planned for all three of us, without even a word, to simultaneously burst out into dance, to sway with that music at once... under the sun, huge smiles on our faces. There was no way we could have planned for that crowd to form, either. These are the things that breathe pure life into every experience. The things you plan for may happen... or they may not. That's not the stuff that's truly going to make its mark on you.

Photos of me by Erik and Gretchen.