The Last Straw

2018 was a popular year for the little plastic straw. Something that seems so insignificant is popped into every single one of our drinks, whether we need it or not, without the slightest thought on its purpose or necessity. Think about it, if you ask for a glass of water, almost always it’s accompanied by a big plastic straw that we often discard before we even take our first sip. So what switched? There were viral videos of sea turtles with straws being stuck in their nostrils and people began to pay attention to the the little straw and began wondering how else straws were negatively harming our planet and what we could do.

The thing about the plastic straw is that it’s tangible. We all see its overabundant use in restaurants and bars, have used it to stir a drink for one second then tossed it to the side only the repeat the same procedure for our next drink and the drink after that, with one or two straws in each water we order in between. Why the sudden overuse of them? While they were originally created for making things a little easier to drink, in the 1930s they gained popularity when  an inventor wanted to make it easier for his daughter to drink a milkshake. From that, the straws are mass-produced by a system selling people things they don’t really need, for the most part. Consumers of course took advantage of it and now we’re left with another over-consumed product with of course, inevitable backlash. We can see the waste. On our beaches, straws are often one of the top ten items collected globally on the coastlines

It was once quoted that in the U.S. alone, 500 million straws are used EVERY DAY. That seems like an incredible amount that’s hard to picture exactly how many that truly is. Here are some figures to put it into perspective… “500 million straws could fill over 127 school buses each day, or more than 46,400 school buses every year.. 500 million straws per day is an average of 1.6 straws per person (in the US) per day. Based on this national average, each person in the US will use approximately 38,000 or more straws between the ages of 5 and 65.” While I’m not 100% that this stat is entirely accurate, it goes without saying that whatever the number is, it is high and there is something we can do about it. 

So what can we do? There are a ton of alternate options out there, here are my favorite options ranking from best to last:

  • No straw (no waste)

  • Bamboo straw (sturdy, dishwasher safe, light)

  • Metal straws (sturdy, dishwasher safe, easy to clean, not good for hot beverages)

  • Glass straws (sturdy, easy to clean, but breakable)

  • Paper straws (trendy and fun but don’t last and wasteful to produce)

    • Why the hate for paper? It’s similar to the debate between plastic and paper bags. 

    • A study done last year by Denmark’s Ministry of Environment and Food found that paper bags need to be reused at least 43 times for its per-use environmental impacts to be less than that of typical plastic bag used once. 

    • You choose between plastic, reusable and less energy to make but not biodegradable or paper, harder to reuse, a ton of energy to make but biodegradable…Truthfully, neither is “good”

There’s a few things to note when talking about banning the straws. For one, a large population of our world needs them. It’s easy for anyone who isn’t physically challenged to say “no straw”, 

“I don’t use those”, “who would need a plastic straw”, or to even look down upon people who order them. When I saw the video of the turtle, I knew I would try my best to say no when the opportunity presented itself, pretty much always, but I vowed to myself to never shame anyone who forgot to say “no straw”. Check out this article by Alden Wicker of EcoCult. She talks about the necessity to address the issue of plastic waste but to be flexible with the movement and open to people who actually need the straw. Banning something that certain people’s lives depend upon is ridiculous and we should by no means shame anyone. With my decisions I make about the sustainable movement, I hope to influence many people in my community to do whatever they can. We need to keep this in mind. 

I loved Alden’s idea about an opt-in system when talking about the straw ban movement. Instead of the waiters at restaurants automatically putting a straw in every single drink, they always need to have them on hand and you have to say when you order “I need a plastic straw”. That in itself will heavily cut down the amount wasted at each restaurant yet no one who actually needs one will (hopefully) not be looked down upon. 

While I support the movement to use less straws, some feel the movement to falls extremely short. Sure, plastic straws are overused and create a lot of waste but many argued that this movement failed to address something bigger that is creating much more waste than the straw.  The commercialized fishing net, and other plastic waste in general. Straws are an easy target because many people can do without them. I don’t question the necessity of the plastic straw movement, I think any movement is a step in the positive direction but my argument would be that it shouldn’t stop there. 

Have you ever seen a commercialized size fishing net in the middle of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch; the largest accumulation of ocean plastic? The patch is estimated to be 1.6 million square kilometers, twice the size of Texas and having 46% of the weight be taken up by fishing nets. Plastic tends to get stuck in these large gyres or patches and disintegrate with all the sun exposure and natural currents until it’s into tiny pieces, called micro plastics, that we oftentimes can’t even see. Years ago we would see occasional pieces of plastic found in sea turtles but now, with all the micro plastics forming and floating around, 100% of all sea turtles have some form of plastic they have ingested. 59% of all seabirds have plastic found in them and more than 25% of fish sampled from all around the world has plastic in it. That’s an issue that goes above and beyond the straw movement that we have to address. 

The plastic that litters our oceans are becoming much more of a problem. We can’t ignore it. Plastic debris, both micro plastics (particles less than 5mm) and macro plastics (larger than 5mm) are positively related to the mismanaged plastic waste generated by river catchments. To me, the straw movement was the catalyst for bigger change. While China for instance is the biggest producer of plastic waste, it also is now making huge efforts to avoid this. 

Other countries that are now coming into wealth like the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, are huge contributors to the plastic waste issue. With the rise of GDP levels in many of these East Asian countries comes benefits that we often overlook like the convenience of to-go Tupperware or the ease of a plastic bag to carry your goods, better yet, drinkable water in plastic bottles! But what these places don’t think about is the infrastructure needed to deal with the waste that comes from development. If we are to address the need for waste-management infrastructure in these five countries alone, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, it is estimated we can significantly reduce global leakage of plastic waste into the ocean by 2025, potentially by 45%!

So where does that leave us? 

Well, theres a few things I have in mind for trying to make a change..

This article, again written by Alden Wicker of EcoCult talked about her challenge going plastic-free on her recent trip to India. There was balance achieved between being a good guest, accepting where plastic was sometimes needed but doing the best she could, remembering to bring a water bottle, utensils, avoiding straws where possible and the like. But we have to remember these developing economies are vastly different from the U.S. Oftentimes to a waiter in India, providing good service is of utmost importance to them. Figuring out what “no straw” means while trying to remember how to speak English and treat your guest well comes with a huge learning curve.

When we’re visiting these East Asian countries we have to be supportive of the new cycle of growth they’re going through and dealing with. Improving governance and rooting out corruption for example. What we can do is influence them and work with them to realize the importance of tackling change now. They are blessed because they haven’t gotten as used to the readily available use of plastic as much as the Western society has. When we travel, we can reduce our plastic intake and show them it’s possible to live life easily without it. We can stop shipping our waste to them and deal with it ourselves. We can show them certain technological advancements that are making it easier to recycle plastics and show how they can discard it. And we can influence them to stop producing plastic altogether and use another biodegradable alternative at the same time.

While most of the plastic waste is coming from East Asia, we can continue to do our best efforts at home. Things like the three R's; reduce, reuse, recycle...and remember they should be in that order. 

  • Reducing our purchases (being conscious consumers)

  • Reusing things whenever possible

  • Recycling after you attempt to reduce and reuse. 

  • Eating less fish (less fish, less need for fishing, less fishing nets. Supply, demand)

  • Avoid plastic bags

  • Saying no to straws when we can

  • Voting for change

  • Marching for change 

  • Reducing meat intake

  • Composting

  • Paying for carbon offsetting

  • Switch to reusables

    • Reusable bags, Tupperware, coffee mugs, water bottles, etc. 

While 2018 was the year of the plastic straw, let's make 2019 the year of tackling all plastic. We’re addicted to it and with fighting addiction comes arguments, fight back, disagreements and disbelief. But the facts are there. The fish have plastic in them. The turtles are eating plastic and our world will suffer from that. Humans live off the Earth and the oceans are the veins that pump life into us all. Let us tackle plastic waste, something we have so easily lived without before the 1930s, and switch to a reusable, biodegradable material that closes the loop on waste and refreshes our oceans with life and air. The Earth’s ten-year challenge brought upon devastation from pictures of deforestation, ice melting, and oceans and rivers littered with plastic waste. Let’s reverse that trend and make pictures in 2029 that we’re proud of. 

New Year's January 2nd Resolutions

2019 is upon us which means it’s time to make new goals for the new year. Some find it cliché, and I have to admit sometimes it feels like more of a chore than anything else but as we hit day two of 2019, I feel inclined to write a few things down, as a reminder and a reset for living my best life physically, spiritually and mentally. 

One of my biggest goals, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts is to relax and go with the flow. What’s important about writing this on day two instead of the first of the year is that yesterday, I slept in, I didn’t work out and I did not plan for the new year. And to me, the first day was a success as I let the enjoyment of hanging out with friends and family and relaxing my way into 2019 trump any preconceived notions of having to start on my best foot. So far, 2019 is off to an amazing start, two brownies, zero workouts, an afternoon of snow tubing and a sugar-y hot cocoa day later. 

Prior to becoming a model, it’s a well-known fact that I was much more easygoing. My schedule was up to me to make and if I slacked, that was my fault too. But with modeling comes last minuteness as your schedule is determined by your agents and clients, oftentimes the night before the shoot. So, as I adjusted to something being beyond my control, I became determined to manage all other aspects of my life, to the extreme. This affected all areas of my life: when I would eat, an in-detail itinerary for each weekend, three reservations for different restaurants each time we would go out to ensure the best possible choice was made, and so on. Vacations were insanely planned out in detail from the moment we left for the airport to when we came back home, there was no room for error. Just ask my fiancé, he’s not the biggest fan of traveling with me to and from the airport. If we call a car and it takes 10 minutes instead of five, that’s five extra minutes of my insanely planned out life that I could have enjoyed elsewhere. This is where it becomes a problem. While I still get enjoyment out of all the pre-planning, the issue was when things wouldn’t go according to plan. 


Instead of adjusting and going with the flow, I would have mini-meltdowns and become extremely inflexible as a result of my insane neuroticism. 

While I have definitely gotten better at this over time, it still remains a goal of mine to be at ease with the unexpectedness of life. That’s where the beauty is hiding and will shine through when you’re least expecting. I sometimes get upset when people make fun of how much I plan in advance but something I will continue to work on will be to be happy when we have a plan and happier if that plan doesn’t go accordingly. For lack of a better example, the night of our engagement was supposed to be a simple dinner with family and friends as we toasted to the incredible vacation we had in front of us on our first night in Croatia. An hour or so into dinner, I got proposed to, surprise surprise, not according to “the plan”, but the excitement we all had with the unexpected beautiful moment we all then got to share together was priceless. (I must add, I’m lucky Josh had a plan that night and stuck to it… ;) 

Similarly, living in New York I tend to get overwhelmed easily, yet there is nowhere else I’d rather be, at least for the time being. You’re constantly stimulated, which is an incredible perk if you’re someone like me who likes to keep busy, but the downside is that it’s hard to switch off and not feel guilty. I don’t think I can count on two hands the amount of days I’ve planned to just relax and stay put, better yet to not even plan it but just let it happen. So with the New Year, and in order to stay sane in the city where it’s all happening, a goal of mine is to find inner peace. Whether it be to meditate more or to find stillness in yoga, to cozy up with a favorite book or get off the subway early and walk the last stop, I want to continue to plan and stay busy which is something I get so much enjoyment out of but to find balance in stillness and maintain inner peace and calmness. Then with whatever craziness New York throws my way, an insanely packed subway car with someone yelling at you or a taxi that purposefully takes the long way because they think you’re a tourist (the bridge god damnit not the tunnel!!!) I hope to let all that negativity glide off of me and only make me stronger. With strength will come calmness, with strength will come ease and knowing you have a strong mind will let all areas of your life be unaffected by the unexpected displeasures. 

As my birthday approaches, instead of planning a wild night that ends with a disgusting amount (albeit delicious) of late-night crap, maybe I’ll propose a meditation class with friends, a yoga class or a solo trip to a meditative retreat… But the best part is I’ll leave it be for now and see what comes as the day approaches. As I mentioned, there’s something beautiful about letting life throw all it has your way and finding adventure in the journey of your destination. What I’ve learned from my year in 2018 and what I will never forget is that it’s never about the destination but more importantly about the journey. 

Feeling Centered

As we gear up for the new year, it’s nice to take the time to reflect upon the year behind us and how we plan to move into the future. As repetitive as it may seem to make these goals or check in with yourself, I can’t help but think it’s a nice excuse to be able to tap in and see how you’re doing.  Whether you had a shit year, an exciting year, an unexpected year or a year of growth, it’s important to take the time to think about what went well and how you can grow. 

It’s like when you go through a breakup. I like to always think (for the most part), no harm done. You had your good times, you made your good memories, and now it’s time to move on and sprout into a better version of yourself. 

So as we gear up for the New Year, the “New Us”, I’d like to share what I plan to focus on personally that I think we can all benefit from more of in our life. 

For me, this past year was a time of stability and growth. I worked hard and I worked a lot, but the sacrifice was my inner peace. Granted, I live an incredibly blessed life here in New York City. I’m doing my dream job and can pay for myself to have the lifestyle that I want, but oftentimes the grind of New York City will eat you away in ways you miss before it’s too late. 

So with all the work I continue to hope to get, I also plan to find balance within myself to attain true peace. No more trying to mask the frustration of each subway ride, gritting my teeth at every little annoyance, snapping at those closest to me because they’ll tolerate it or suppressing the need to meditate daily. If I think back to my year and how well it went work wise, I can only imagine how much better I’ll be if I’m calm with myself and my mind. Imagine how much more work will flow if I’m centered. 

Tuning into your soul is a lot easier said than done. To quiet the mind and all the fuss around you is something that takes many yogis or meditators years to achieve. This is no small feat, but if it’s something we can all work on, perhaps those subway rides or little tiffs with your loved ones will be much easier to manage for all of us. Imagine for instance if every New Yorker were to take a chill pill before they leave for work. Only in a dream world right? Maybe. But perhaps meditating and focusing on your thoughts and personal needs is the medicine we all need for the illness we’re not being treated for. 

I like to do “Yoga with Adriene” at home. It’s easy, I can choose my own level and be in my own space to move at whatever pace I feel comfortable with. On one recent practice, I had been a bit easily annoyed by everything that day, perhaps it was that “time of the month” and I couldn’t seem to shake anything off. If someone looked at me the wrong way I could have broken down and cried right then and there. Thankfully I realized I was being a bit unreasonable so decided to check in with Adriene and let all the frustrations glide off me with each drop of sweat. About 10 minute into the practice, my partner came into the kitchen, adjacent to where I was doing my flow and started to quietly make dinner. Totally fair, his space just as much as it was mine but I couldn’t help but snap at him with anger. “Couldn’t he see I was trying to not be annoyed by doing this yoga practice???” 

I stopped the practice, stormed around the room and made a fuss then tried to get back into it as my love one kind of just stood there confused by my recent outrage. It was another 10 minutes into the practice that I began to realize absolutely nothing was his fault. He could have smiled at me and I would have burst with annoyance. It was the buildup of simply a busy day in the city that got to me more than I realized and was causing more turmoil with what should have been a calm relaxing night in.

Thankfully, I fell into the trance of Adriene’s soothing voice and literally visualized all the grit leaving my body with each deep breath. It was incredible. I was feeling lighter and calmer and couldn’t believe something as simple as deep breathing and a little stretching could make me feel whole again. 

With all that in mind I still continue to live my dream life in New York and don’t visualize giving it up anytime soon. The city gets to you, but when it does you simply have to tap into yourself and give yourself some extra love to combat the aggression you may be blindly holding. 

Here are some ways I think we can give ourselves a bit more love and work on our inner healing. While the holiday season is supposed to be a time of love and reflection, oftentimes it ends up being a period where we overstress, we overbuy, we over indulge and over extend ourselves. Let this piece inspire you to go to the events you want, indulge in the cookies you’re dreaming but to always remember to take a little time to reflect on what you personally need to live a little happier.



Take a social media break 

I’m not saying get rid of it all together or to not post, believe me for my own job (unfortunately) it’s pretty imperative that I have an online presence but the world will wait, believe it or not, for you to post whatever you need to. Whether it be to take a day off here and there or to limit the number of minutes (in reality, hours) you spend each day, try and monitor your usage and slow down a little bit, especially over the holidays. Your friends will all be having a grand ol’ time, everyone always appears to be, but just remember it’s okay to have a boring day where nothing seems worth sharing. Savor the days where you can relax and perhaps skip the endless scroll on days like this and read a book or listen to a podcast instead, whenever you get the urge to open the app. 

Do some yoga! 

There’s something magical about the power of tuning into your mind and taking a deep breath. It helps switch off any negative energy you may be holding on to and it’s a nice way to get your body moving with the flow. Yoga with Adriene has different free videos for any mood you may be in. “Yoga for back ache”, “yoga for post-breakup”, “yoga for starting your morning”, etc. She’s got a video just for you. 

Right when you wake up, before you check any e-mails or read any news, write down one thing you’re grateful for

I saw another model post about this practice and was immediately enthralled. I often wake up immediately check e-mails and Instagram which often starts my day off a little stressed out. Instead of taking time to think of what I’m thankful or happy for, I see news I don’t want to read or scroll through pictures aimlessly. Instead lately, I’ve been trying to wake up and immediately write down what I’m grateful for, however big or small it may be. Sometimes it’s something recent that has happened, other times it’s something big, but it truly helps set your day off on the right foot.

Meditate five to ten minutes every day 

Similar to practicing yoga, taking a moment to breath can bring a lot of positivity to your day. If you don’t have the time to do a full yoga practice (guilty!), try taking a moment out of your day, I love doing it right before bed, to lay down, close your eyes, and practice some deep breathing. Sometimes, if I need some extra guidance I’ll throw on a meditative track such as ocean waves white noise or use an app like Insight Timer that guides you through a meditation however long you see fit to whatever noise that brings you most joy. The Zhada bowl has a grounding ring to it that makes me feel aligned and centered. 

Get off the subway one stop early and walk the rest of the way

There’s nothing like a little fresh air to make the commute a little more pleasant. In New York especially, you’re often sandwiched in between people you don’t even know, a yelling match 9/10 times always breaks out and there’s absolutely no such thing as personal space. To get a few extra steps in and calm myself before work or before I get home, sometimes I find getting out a bit early and walking the rest of the way is the best answer. 

Be compassionate 

Something that always keeps me calm and collected is to try my best to be compassionate. Granted, it’s hard as can be to sympathize with the guy standing in the doorway of the subway at rush hour who won’t move for anyone because that spot is most convenient for him (perhaps I’m coming from a place of experience here) but what I try and do (again, perhaps maybe not in that instance) but rather than letting my anger boil over I often try and just think of how that person is doing. On my worst of days, I still have a home to come home to and an incredible fiancé to love. Perhaps that person has no loved one, is in between jobs or just got fired. Anger (most of the time) doesn’t come from nothing. So while it would be a lot easier to yell at that guy on the subway or even give him a shoulder on your way out, try sympathizing instead or even giving him a smile. You’ll feel better about yourself afterwards and your heart will be more full. 

Do a meditative retreat 

Sometimes we need to really remove ourselves from our natural habitat in order to power off and get back to our centers. I’m hoping in the new year to be able to do this by going on a yoga or meditative trip, however long I can fit in. If it’s two days, amazing, a whole week, even better! I’ve heard magical things about Kripalu in Massachusetts. They have retreats for all types of activities from meditative to yoga to Ayurveda and teacher training and you can go for weeks or a long weekend if that’s all the time you have. 


If it’s one of these things or all of them, however many you can try and implement them into your New Year’s goals and see how you feel once you’re tuning into your center light. I think a lot of us hold on to stress we didn’t even know we had; stomach aches and indigestion (guilty), unexplainable bald patches of hair missing (guilty), or a fragile emotional state that makes you want to cry a little too easily, and something as simple as taking a moment to breath or write down one thing you’re thankful for can help alleviate a lot of the stress. As Adriene from Yoga with Adriene says, “Find What Feels Good”, and may you all go forth into the New Year with all the strength, passion and wholeness you need. 


Second Annual Calm Before the Storm

Fashion week is a time that happens twice a year and is when our industry truly becomes alive. The energy is heightened, New York, London, Milan and Parisian streets become a runway show themselves with everyone wearing their best streetwear as models run from casting to show to casting again with little sleep food or sanity.

With a few seasons under our belt, Dani and I understand how stressful this time of the year can be and therefore wanted to provide models with an outlet. Last year we held the Calm Before the Storm, a bi-annual pre-fashion week event for models to de-stress, primp and prep themselves for the upcoming shows. It was such a success that we decided to throw another one, this year with even more sponsors, more vendors, and super special guests to lead our opening chat.

To see our community come together was so special and we’re happy to see this event grow stronger every year. From new faces in the industry to models with cool side projects, it was a beautiful night of love and laughter and was so fun to be in a space with each other minus the competition or anxiety. We hope everyone went into fashion week with a new friend, a little less stress and confident you can kill it. And if you need advice or a coffee to grab, Dani and I are always down (especially for matcha lattes at Blue Stone Lane;).

Without our community of sponsors, we wouldn't have been able to throw together such a fun night!

Sponsors:

The delicious food we enjoyed was catered by Ripe! Ripe is a healthy food catering company in NYC. They believe food isn't just fuel, it's an experience, it's community, it's growth. We agree! Ripe donated their event space to us for their event! You can tag them on any posts using these handles: @so_ripe

Sustainability was a big topic of our event today. Check out one of our favorite clothing brand's ADAY! Tag your ADAY pics wearing their hat to receive a discount at their store! @thisisaday

Those beautiful serums you received are from Amberlight Beauty, a company started by Dominyka Gajauskaite. Dominyka ensures the best material go into all of her products from rose oil to open your heat to chamomile for calming your senses. Find out more at @amberlightbeauty

The cutest toothbrush + dental floss packs were provided to you all from BOKA. They're a mindful oral care company that stresses the importance of working with our bodies, not against them. See all of their fun pics and share yours @boka!

EcoEnclose provides sustainable solutions for packaging and sent us all of those beautiful recycled paper bags for your goodie bags! I uses them for all of our ODM/ODC shipping, and they're incredibly easy to work with! Check our their Instgram @ecoenclose!

Groceries Apparel is a sustainable style + lifestyle destination for conscious fashion-forward individuals. They’re also the company we use for our Perfect white tees! Follow them @groceriesapparel.

The healthy bubbly was provided by Health-Ade Kombucha! We're addicted! If you are, check out more information or share your pics @healthade.

One of the best feelings in the world is putting on a pair of new white crisp socks. Lucky for us JawxJawshop slipped some of our socks into our goodie bags! You can follow them @jawxjawshop!

Keep your luscious locks shiny + your skin feeling bright with the powerful ingredients in The Seaweed Bath & Co's products! They sustainably hand-harvest certified organic seaweed of the coast of Maine! You can follow their story @theseaweedbathco.

We raffled off beautiful rings donated by Shiffon Co. Shiffon is more than just a jewelry brand, they aim to be supportive, powerful network for women. Follow them @shiffonco for more inspiration!

Everyone searches for that perfect pair of denim, look no more because Simply Suzette definitely has it! They are an online boutique for women looking for ethically + sustainably produced denim! See more from them @simplysuzette.

Artisanal coffee & food delivered with first-class service. That pretty much sums up Bluestone Lane! It was also the place where Dani + I first brainstormed our Calm Before The Storm event, so you know we are big fans! In your gift bags you will find some yummy granola samples from Husk Bakeshop  these goodies can be found in their cafes! Follow them @bluestonelane to see what they are up to!

Modern, sustainable and luxurious: Celsious offers a fresh and new way to "come clean" in a beautifully designed environment in Williamsburg! If you haven't checked them out you can find them at @celsious_social.

The beautiful candles decorating the space in addition to the samples in our goodie bags were provided by Keap. This candle company was created to provide consumers with a middle ground; a candle that was neither cheap and full of harsh chemicals nor overly priced. In addition to making candles that are better for our health and our pockets, Keap started as a Public Benefit Corporation to provide better access of affordable, sustainable living to people outside of the electrical grid. They’ve partnered with SolarAid to provide solar light to communities in need through their Buy a Candle, Light a Home program. 

Knours. is an innovative brand that addresses the casual link between a woman's cycle & her skin. Sounds too good to be true! We love the cute pink bags of amazing product they gave us and we hope you do too! Check them out here @knoursknows

Trying to keep healthy while on the go can be a bit tricky at times, luckily Monday Carrot has you covered with their smoothie packs! They combine science backed benefits of a plant-rich, whole-food diet with the latest findings in nutrition research to optimize results from the inside out! Check them out @mondaycarrot

All of that wine we enjoyed was donated by Parcelle Wines! They are a curated wine shop and the first retail concept from Delicious Hospitality Group, the team behind NYC restaurants (and some of our favs) Charlie Bird, Pasquale Jones, and Legacy Records! See more from them @parcellewine

RYU is an incredible clothing line created for the urban athlese that moves with you. They stand for respect and they are #BeyondTough. Check them out @ryu_apparel

Role Models MGMT is an ethical talent & modeling agency started by two models + social activists who came together to start a modeling agency. Role Models MGMT will disrupt the way we think about and see the industry! Check them out there @rolemodelsmgnt. 

Did we not have the best chairs ever?! Those were graciously donated to us by Sub Rosa. They are an independent strategy and design practice that helps organizations explore, learn and grow. Check out their Instagram @wearesubrosa.


And of course our amazing vendors:

Cameron Russell:

We are so grateful to have Cameron Russell Speak at our event, she is such a role-model in our community! Cameron put together the first event that Britt and I had ever gone to where the model activist community first began. We spoke freely about our experiences in the industry and got to meet more models in a space other than a casting. She is now head of the group, we call ourselves the Model Mafia, and we get together for events, talks, fashion shows, climate marches, etc! E-mail brittb@odmodc.com to see how you can get on our e-mail list.

FaceLove:

What looked to be THE MOST relaxing facials were provided to you by Face Love!! They made our event so much more special.  Their massages are the perfect pick-me-up during fashion week! Check their new storefront out in Flatiron @love_facelove.

Dominyka Gajauskaite:

Dominyka started her own skin care lines as a result of being sick of unfriendly products being used on her face time and time again. Her serums are our favorite. Stay in the know about @amberlightbeauty!

Summer Rayne Oakes:

Summer is definitely a jack-of-all-trades! She is literally a master in everything she does, we are so inspired by her! Her love of plants and amazing green thumb have us all asking for advice!! Check her website to discover more and definitely hit up her youtube channel.

Sinead Bovell:

Sinead is the founder and CEO of WAYE (Weekly Advice for the Young Entrepreneur), she is dedicated to building a sustainable working future for the next generation through entrepreneaurship. If you haven't been to one of her talks, make sure to follow her at @sineadbovell!

Daniel Gottlieb:

We hope you were able to experience all or that Hyperice love from Mister Yoga Dan! He has developed a practice that brings together his two passions- sports and yoga- to create a full mind/body fitness for your spirit program! See more from Dan @misteryogadan.

Sandrina Bencomo:

We all know how hard it can be to take care of your health while you are running around for fashion week! Sandrina has a few tips + tricks! If you were not able to speak with her check out her website to book and appointment.

Celsious:

FINALLY doing laundry can be fun (seriously)! Celsous had filled that gap by opening up a snazzy new laundromat in Williamsburg where you can hang out, grab a coffee + do laundry with and eco-friendly approach! @celsious_social

How I Deal With Anxiety

Living in a big city like NYC, and especially since modeling, I’ve become prone to running a little on the anxious side. I like to think of myself as a calm and collected, easygoing Canadian who is down to go with the flow but oftentimes find myself getting worked up, whether it be easily justifiable or not. I’ve learned some coping mechanisms but I’m not perfect and sometimes I slip. My cuticles for instance are bitten and chewed up since I was 13 which is one way my body 'deals' with stress, sometimes without me even knowing I'm doing it. Whether it be from living in a city of constant overdrive, comparing myself to others, or dealing with unexplainable emotions, here’s how I try my best to stay sane, stay grounded, and keep on smiling.

Living in New York City I feel blessed. It’s definitely not for everyone (and definitely not permanent for me) but for now, I have anything and everything at my fingertips, no matter what time of day and am continually stimulated by the electrifying energy of the city. It has a way of sparking all the ambition and drive into my core that living in a smaller city doesn't give me at this point in my life. The streets are a continuous symphony of cars humming, horns honking, people yelling all on their path to achieving their dreams, not stopping for any slow walkers on the way. Move out of the way or get out of our city, is something that I think runs through a lot of our heads. While some can’t live like this, I truly believe New York is not for the faint of heart, it’s exactly where I need to be right now, but is definitely a temporary situation. My heart beats faster here, I walk faster here, I talk faster and get-shit-done faster, but a lot of the times I feel it’s at the expense of my health and wellness. To combat the anxiety and still thrive in the city of dreams, I find it’s important to remove myself every once in a while, if work allows it. I’m lucky enough that for modeling, I can decide which city to be based out of. I can go to Germany or Los Angeles for the month to get away, I recently did a month-long trip to L.A., which always helps calm my senses. However, come the last week of the month I will be itching to get back, to fill my veins with whatever potion New York uses on you to keep you addicted to the grind. It works. But it also really helps me to be removed from it for a while. Even if it’s something as simple as going for a hike upstate for an afternoon. That little burst of fresh air and calmness is all I need to feel rejuvenated and get back to the grind. 

A friend of mine recently said every Friday, instead of going out for drinks, her and her husband will cook dinner together, throw on some classical music and slow dance the night away. Just by themselves in their apartment. No one to tell them what to do or how they should be having fun. They’re not removing themselves from the city per say but they’re removing themselves from the idea that on weekends, we must go out and drink to relax. For them, simply enjoying their home life and a good meal and of course each other’s company is the reset they need to feel energized to get back to work each and every Monday. Find what that something is. Find an activity you like that isn’t dictated necessarily by the city you live in or the people you hang out with and enjoy it to the fullest. I challenge you do it and maybe not even post about it too. Sometimes our best memories are the ones we keep to ourselves. 

On that note, my boyfriend and I have been living together for nearly six years. We’re lucky enough to have almost the exact same living standards. But of course we get on each other’s nerves and I think what’s helped us stay so close after six and a half years together is the fact we’re able to separate for a weekend or a month, focus on ourselves and have our “me time” and then similar to when I leave New York, it’s like we’re starting the relationship from scratch each time we meet back up again. This past L.A. trip, I was home before he was back from work and while I was waiting for him I felt like a little teenage girl excited to go on a date for the first time. I was giggly and nervous and it was exactly what we needed to hit the refresh button and get our own shit done respectively. 

Beyond living in a big city, another thing that ‘gets me’, i.e. makes me a nervous wreck from time to time is the negative side effects of social media. I’m not one of those anti-social media people, for me it allows me to share the entire picture of who is Britt and what my passions and hobbies are beyond modeling. It’s my portfolio for clients to look at so they see what kind of personality they’ll get by booking me for a shoot. It’s a platform I’m privileged to have 20 thousand people listening to me to share what charities I’m passionate about or what causes I think people should learn about. It’s a privilege. But naturally it comes with a down side. I try and let the whole numbers thing not get to me and I hope all the young girls and guys who are growing up with social media (mainly my brother’s generation, ages 10-18) realize that there’s so much more to the number of followers you have or the amount of likes you get. For me, it’s exceptionally hard because I often won’t get booked because I have somewhat of a small following. I always joke, it’s quality versus quantity, but none of the clients want to hear that. While I really don’t think 100,000 potentially bought followers who are mainly creepy men will affect the sales of whatever top or lipstick your modeling, no one has really caught on/checked the analytics to see if the higher numbers are positively affecting sales. Naturally, this gets to me. I see all my friends with hundreds of thousands of followers booking all the jobs I had casted for, or didn’t even get a casting for, and generally speaking most people only post their best selves. I truly admire and appreciate the girls who show the full picture, show off their bad skin that they inevitably get every once in a while, and who use their platforms to promote good causes (check out @cameronrussell, @renee.elizabethpeters, @anja_rubik, to name a few…). This is what I try and emulate and is when I feel most positive about my Instagram use for instance. When people respond to an environmental post that they’re going to stop using plastic bags, I’m thrilled. When I look at whatever the next celebrity kid is booking or how the shoot turned out for the casting I didn’t get, I feel defeated. 

What I find helps combat the part that makes me least confident, i.e. right after and endless scroll of social media seeing all the girls with better bodies, better skin, more work, more followers, is by getting off social media and not making it the thing that dictates my moods. Instead I know it sounds cheesy but reading a good book, writing in my journal or an article like this, going for a run or workout always leaves me feeling better about myself. Not working today but all the other models are? Use that to your advantage. They’re stuck in a studio all day, you get to go for a run, stay outside and lay in the sun or cozy up on the couch with a good book. It’s all about how you use the platforms and how easily it is for you to remove yourself from in once in a while. It’s hard not to compare yourself, no matter the career you’re in but always know that no one else can be you. You are your own self, you have your own beliefs and passions and things that make you unique and that’s what’s most beautiful about life, none of us are exactly the same.  When I post a decent selfie where my skin looks good, just know that’s me 10% of the time. The rest of the time I may have a zit or two or three and I may not always share the bad sides. Think Josh and I are always that sweet smily couple who look perfectly kept together and like we've never been in a fight? Hah!! We use social media to promote our best selves, often trying to be like the next best person but sometimes we can lose what makes us most unique in the process. So, as I write this (which is also an important reminder for myself to live by), I say be you, your full authentic self, nothing more and appreciate all the unique qualities you have and celebrate that!

Probably at the expense of living in a crazy city or being in an industry dictated by social media, sometimes the moods I get in feel completely unexplainable. I’m generally a pretty happy-go-lucky person but sometimes I’ll wake up in a funk that dictates how I feel and act all day, its unexplainable and it downright sucks. Generally speaking it’s because of something deeper I’m not tapping into like being overtired from work, an unresolved fight with a boyfriend or simply needing to relax and be by myself. So, if I find I’m in an unexplainable mood I always try and find out the root cause.  If I’m tired, I’ll skip the workout that day. If I have enough energy and think a workout will help get rid of the stress, I’ll do a little pump. If I’m feeling a lack of connection simply from grinding away too long, I’ll ask a friend to hang out together whether it be working at a coffee shop or going for a drink. A lot of the friends I surround myself with are always incredibly helpful in resolving whatever mood I may be in. The closest girls and guys I hang with are the types you leave each conversation feeling like you’ve learned something. The conversations are deep and exactly what I need to take my mood off of whatever negativity I’m feeling. Or we may be that ear they needed to talk to without any judgment and simply listen. Human interaction in a city like New York seems inevitable but oftentimes were so focused on all our work and projects we forget to make time for our friends. While this ‘solution’ is a little more far-fetched, I think a lot of the moods I get in personally can be solved if I try and find the root cause of whatever hurt I’m feeling. Whether it be writing in a journal, laying low with a good movie and comfy couch, a much-needed catch up with a friend or an adrenaline pumping workout, thinking deeply about all the ways your hurting and trying to fix them are a lot more helpful for me than moping around in my sorrows. 

This may seem like an oversimplified post that only affects a small population. I have an incredible job so how is it that I can get anxious or feel down sometimes? But I truly believe it’s something we all go through, to whatever degree, and I think taking time to think about your feelings and what makes you, you are what gets me through the hardest of days. If it’s unexplainable to a surmounting degree and it truly seems unexplainable, talk to a friend or loved one. Tell them you’re in a funk, you don’t know why and you just need a good hang or talk to get over it. Nothing is not worth reaching out to someone for, so always try and be true to your feelings and if it’s not something you can get up and change yourself, don’t feel bad. It’s normal to feel overworked, overwhelmed, unexplainably anxious and while the tools I share help me for the most part, a good chat with a friend is often the best medicine. 

A Little Reminder For The New Year...

There's nothing more satisfying than being able to hit the refresh button on New Year's Day as we set new goals and look back on ones previously written, a visual marker of your past year and what you have to look forward to. 

What I like about these lists are that they help me celebrate past accomplishments and gear me up for new ones ahead. However, instead of feeling good about ourselves, there's an endless amount of pressure on what we're meant to be for the next year, oftentimes a fabrication of the mass-media on what will make us 'better' people. Things like needing to lose weight, workout more, try harder, make more money, eat healthier, and the like. Pressure that amounts up to feeling 'less than' which negatively affects our emotional and physical state.  Not a good way to start any year!

As I looked back on my resolutions from last year, I was happy to see I had certain things checked off the list. But this year, I didn't feel too bad about things I had left untouched. I gained weight, I didn't hit the 5k mark on the ODM/ODC social media, I wasn't even close to writing one blog post a week, I had become less patient than the start of the year, Instagram was still a daily ritual and money was being spent on car-ride services as if I lived in a city with dismal public transport... When I really thought about it, for what I 'missed' on accomplishing I had so many more experiences and memories that weren't even goals of mine from the previous year's resolution. And that is what we should be celebrating the most! 

As I move forth into 2018 I will now asses how integral it is that I get old goals done as I edit and add to the New Year's resolution. Let's be honest, as much weight as we all think we need to lose, when we look back on old pictures we're always stunned at how good we looked, even if we were so unhappy at the time. It's all about perception and prioritizing the important things in life. While I'd never want my health or wellness to deteriorate, I'm not going to punish myself by skipping the cake and overworking myself in the gym. I know I feel best when I get a good workout in and have a sense of balance with my meals. Weight loss, not integral. Feeling happy, healthy and confident, integral (whether I gain a few pounds or not).

Meditation was such a big goal for mine this past year and so to hold myself accountable I will write daily about my meditation experiences and how I feel before and after each practice. Meditating will inevitably help me with other things on the list as well; stress management, patience, and health and wellness to name a few. The structure I found that worked incredibly well was to organize my list by important categories in my life:

  • WORK
  • PERSONAL
  • RELATIONSHIPS
  • SIDE HUSTLE

Of course we can all afford to do better and goal setting is something I am extremely passionate about but as I continue forth with the new year, I am trying my best to not get down on myself for what gets left unachieved. Societal standards are set so high and with social media we're constantly left feeling bad about ourselves. We see first-hand what beautiful trips our friends are going on, who is skinnier, what friend got whatever promotion and we often forget about our own achievements. 

So, as we start the new year off on the right foot  remember to never stop celebrating all you have achieved, however big or small it may seem. Continue to set realistic goals for yourself on your resolution lists and don't forget about the ones you've left behind, there's always next year to get them done. Track your daily rituals with journal-writing so you can look back on things you may have forgotten. Be happy for your friends and family who are living their best lives all whilst knowing we often only share our best moments on social media. Don't compare yourself so much and always be proud of the work you do, the life you live, the health you have and the person you are. 

Some products to help you keep on track, revisit past goals and to celebrate the new... <3

An Inside Look at Prestidge Beaute’ Active Organics

I've worked with Shawnelle Prestidge for the past few years at Amazon Fashion, both of us with a passion for organic, natural products and sustainability. That is why I couldn't be more proud to hear she has started her very own new skincare line, Prestidge Beaute’ Active Organics.

If you want your skin to look clean and clear with an effortless glow (ahem Shawnelle, who looks 15 years younger than she actually is...), this is her secret my friends! Prestidge Beaute’ Active Organics is the perfect complimentary product to any ODM on the go. 

And it works. And I mean really works. Shawnelle used her product to prep my skin, which had seen better days, on a recent shoot. A mix of stress, 'that time of the month' and having recently traveled, my skin was a bit of a mess. Within an hour, the red bumps were fading, my skin was no longer blotchy and all the swelling had gone down. Not only does it do the trick but it's also (thank god!) organic! The food we eat has enough toxins, preservatives and chemicals that we should try to eat organic whenever possible. It's just as crucial we take care of our skin, our body's largest organ and make sure it's being fed the healthy, nourishing ingredients it needs to thrive.  

And lastly, it's made by one badass mom who knows her stuff.  Thank you Shawnelle for solving all of our skin needs. Without further ado, Shawnelle Prestidge on how she started Prestidge Beaute' Active Organics. 

1) Tell us about your background in skin care and beauty.

I started out very early on as an esthetician—obsessed with beautiful skin and the idea of preserving it (and extractions)–but with a deep desire to be a makeup up artist working in fashion ‘one day’…and here I am many years later having come full circle. 

2) When did the idea come to you to create Prestidge Beaute’Active Organics?

I guess it started when I was forty, about to give birth, the economy had tanked, my skin was starting to change, and I suddenly realized that I was ready to make the 'organic serum of my dreams'! I wanted something that truly worked. Something I could use on my whole family, as well as all of my clients of any age and with all different skin needs: from healing rashes on toddler skin, acne on teenagers or reducing blotchy tones and puffy under-eye pillows to firming, plumping, and tightening mature skin or getting the perfect balance for oily, dry, and sensitive skin types. In the world of excess, I wanted one single universal serum to address and treat it all...and then the little love of my life entered the world...long pause! 

3) Tell us a bit about your perfect customer. Who are they, what do they look like, and how are you helping transform their skin?

My perfect customer is absolutely everyone.  All my products are for all skin types, ages and genders…POW!

4) Why is it integral to you to use organic ingredients?

I firmly believe that we as a society are suffering all sorts of allergies, ailments and far worse because of the poisons that we have been prescribed and encouraged to use in this ‘modern’ society, and in addition to putting clean nourishment into my body, I wanted to create something purely organic, that is highly effective, that will hydrate, heal, soothe, lift, firm, tighten, even out, de-puff, lift the spirit and bring our skin (the largest organ we have) into balance.

5) You use Miron Violet Glass for some of your packaging. What are the benefits of using this glass and how did you find out about it?

By doing my research, I discovered that Miron violet glass has outstanding proof of being able to preserve substances contained within it for long periods of time. Normal tap water, for instance, has been kept fresh in dark violet glasses for over 3 years without any problems and without any preservation or other techniques.

6) What does your daughter think about the new line? She must be excited to see you start and execute your own company.

To be honest, she's both excited and resentful…she loves the products and is very knowledgeable about the uses, but she would prefer that any time I spend on the business (particularily when it’s via my phone), be spent with her-and I agree…I am working on trying to balance my work/family balance.

7) You work with a lot of celebrities doing their skincare and makeup for events. What do they think of Prestidge Beaute’Active Organics?

Everyone is pretty excited about how their skin feels and looks…and often are floored by the results they witness within mere moments-it is one of the most thrilling part of this whole experience for me! It’s like they’ve witness a “miracle” or “magic”…and I sort of pinch myself, every time!

8) What makes you stand out against your biggest competitor?

Well I make this product by hand, and it is my own original formula, and results in an extremely effective, highly active organic skin care line that delivers results immediately!  I guess it can be said, the proof is in the pudding! And I have come up with some seriously supreme pudding!

9) You make all your products in your home, performing a Reiki ceremony to raise the healing vibration of your products, which I love! Do you think you’ll continue with hands on production in the future as you grow?

I would like to continue this process for as long as I am able…I have been putting a lot of thought into how to keep this going in this manner… 

10) How important is it to you to be sustainable and ethical?

Extremely!  The more companies figure out how to do it, the better off we will all be.

11) What are your biggest dreams and goals for the evolution of Prestidge Beaute’ Active Organics?

I would love to have everyone (who is drawn to what I have to offer) using the products and experiencing the incredible results that they’re certain to deliver, knowing that they are lovingly made with beautiful organic ingredients (and Reiki).

***BONUS***

USE CODE BB02 FOR $15 OFF YOUR AGELESS SKIN SERUM AND CODE BB03 FOR $15 OFF THE COLLECTION SPECIAL!! Join her mailing list and receive an extra %15 off your first purchase. 

Up and Down

All the glamour and dream building
Roller coaster soaring
High up in the sky, feeling light
More glitz, more glamour.
The rollercoaster stalls
Stuck in the middle trying to climb up
Sun begins to fade, she wipes away her tears.
Stopped in motion, friction, rejection, crowd pleaser.
Pinching and screaming and belittlement. Is it a nightmare?
Little girl lost, soul searching no where to be found.
Was the line up worth it?
Up and down.
Calm thoughts. 
The spark is lit. Carry on up, lift your chin up love, you have the world
High at the top. She is her best self. Authentic. She found her inner compass.
She’s living in the now. Detached from the screen. Fire blazing.
Soaring high into the heavens. 
When will the ride end..

Healthy Light Recipes, Perfect For Summer

ZUCHINNI NOODLE SALAD WITH TURKEY MEATBALLS

INGREDIENTS

  1. 2 large zucchinis
  2. 1 lb ground turkey meat light fat
  3. 1-2 cans of tomato sauce (as little sugar as possible)
  4. Fresh garlic
  5. Fresh basil
  6. Cumin, smoked paprika, basil, oregano 
  7. Salt & pepper to taste
  8. Parmesan cheese 

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Spiralize zucchini noodles until you get desired amount. Squeeze zoodles with paper towels to get rid of excess water
  • Mix ground turkey with spices in large mixing bowl
    • I like to use cumin, oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, , smoked paprika and fresh garlic
  • Place cans of tomato sauce into large pot and begin to heat up
  • Roll into small balls and start to pan fry in 1 tbsp of coconut oil until browned
  • Place balls into pot with tomato sauce and let simmer for ~30 minutes
  • Top meatballs with fresh basil and parmesan if you like. Bon Appetite!

FRESH WATERMELON, MINT, FETA SALAD

INGREDIENTS

  1. 1 Watermelon
  2. Fresh feta
  3. Mint leaves
  4. Balsamin glaze
  5. Olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cut watermelon into bite size chunks
  • Crumble feta into bowl on top of watermelon
  • Cut up some fresh mint and sprinkle on top
  • For a little more flavor, I like drizzling a bit of olive oil and balsamic glaze on top (not pictured below)
  • Enjoy!

CAULIFLOWER CRUST PIZZA

INGREDIENTS

  1. 1/2 Cauliflower
  2. 2 Eggs
  3. Some non or light fat mozzarella cheese
  4. Light tomato sauce
  5. You can really top with whatever you feel like or have in your fridge! That’s what’s nice about your own personal pizzas

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Line baking tray with tin foil and spray generously with non stick spray (very important!)
  • Grate raw cauliflower with some type of blender until finely chopped (steam in microwave after grating. If you don’t have microwave, steam before on pan and then grate up in blender)
  • Squeeze all water out of cauliflower. I used a paper towel which was kind of messy and ripped up a bit. A thin, clean dish towel would be ideal to get all moisture out and ensure crisp crust
  • Mix in large bowl the raw cauliflower with salt, pepper, eggs (I used one yolk and just used the egg whites for the second) and 1/4 cup of cheese
  • Mix well until all is combined and then spread out on oiled baking sheet or tin foil until about 1/4 of an inch thick
  • Cook for 10-12 minutes on 450°
  • Take out and put all your ingredients on top, tomato sauce, maybe some more cheese, veggies, etc. and broil for 6-10 mins (watch so it doesn’t burn)

SMOKED PAPRIKA 'FRIES'

INGREDIENTS

  1. 1-2 Eggplants
  2. Olive Oil (or coconut oil) spray to spray bottom of pan and top of fries
  3. Smoked Paprika
  4. Stevia 
  5. Sea salt to sprinkle

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cut up eggplant into thin strips about an inch wide and a couple centimeters thin
  • Spray pan with olive oil and cover pan completely with fries
  • Cover fries with smoked paprika (I like a lot of flavor so I sprinkle quite a bit on top)
  • Shake one packet of stevia over top- this will give them a bit of caramelization
  • Sprinkle with desired amount of salt
  • Bake at 450° for 15-20 minutes (the blacker they become the more bacon-flavored. I like them a nice dark brown but not burnt)
  • A side of reduced sugar ketchup won’t disappoint;)

INGREDIENTS

  1.  1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  2. 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  3. 2.5 tbsp maple syrup
  4. A pinch of sea salt flakes (to stir into chocolate mixture and to top cups with at the end)
  5. 1/4 cup nut butter (try and find one with no sugar)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Whisk cacao, salt, and maple syrup into melted coconut oil until smooth
  • Pour 1 tsp of choco mix into muffin/cupcake tin cases and place molds into freezer for 5 minutes until firm
  • Remove from freezer and place 1-1/2 tsp of nut butter into center of each chocolate. Then place back into freezer so nut butter can harder a little bit
  • Remove from freezer and top each with 1 tbs of remainder of the chocolate mix. Place in freezer for 30 minutes minimum. (Take out 5 minutes in and sprinkle with sea salt flakes if desired. Then place back in freezer for remainder of the 30 minutes.)
  • These are raw so eat immediately or store in an airtight container in fridge. (I made about 8 large cups with this recipe but you could use smaller tins and get many more.)