Festival Season

Festival season is here, which means you may be compelled to fill your closet with new outfits worn by your favorite celebs and models... some of which will only be worn once and then forgotten about or tossed away. SO our solution is the sustainable festival season edit with pieces that will help you stand out in that crowd but are made with integrity, will last way more than a few washes and can be worn year round whether you're parading across the fields of Coachella or spicing up your look for brunch with friends. Check out our favorites below! 

Calm Before the Storm

My good friend Dani and I have been in the modeling industry for six to 12 years respectively, and plan to stay in it as long as it will let us. While we’ve learned the tips and tricks to navigate our jobs with as much calmness as physically possible, it goes without saying that we’re in a tough industry that is both physically and emotionally draining. We’re constantly in a state of anxiety with our last minute schedules and every friend we seem to make will come and go from NYC as fast as the latest juice shop. For the friends that remain constant, we’re often competing for the same jobs… stressful to say the least. 

For Dani and I, we realized the way that we can calmly remain in such a hectic industry is by focussing our energy and downtime on side gigs and hobbies outside of the modeling world. For me, that was the inspiration behind starting this sustainable company, ODM/ODC. While I love my job and what I do, I was beginning to find it difficult to be in an industry that was not only competitive with my peers but also one that was quite wasteful. Rather than quitting, I thought I could continue modeling and using all the connections I’ve made the past six years to create something positive that would hopefully help create change, for me it was by starting a sustainable company. This will hopefully not only help me learn and grow but motivate those around me to do better. 

Dani has always had a passion about getting her community together to do fun activities. She recently launched Ladyballerzz, a community give-back initiative to get her peers together for a fun game of basketball. She was sick of paying at least $15 per for a workout all around the city and wanted to give her community a fun free workout that would get people moving and laughing off the stress of their day jobs. Ladyballerzz pairs up with The City Basketball which is a 501(C)(3) non profit youth organization serving New York City student-athletes. They believe basketball is a vehicle to keep the youth safe and off the streets and work on inspiring student-athletes to become well-rounded individuals by instilling patience, self discipline, hard work and commitment; something that goes hand in hand with Dani's mission. 

In starting our own companies, we realized a lot of our friends had cool side gigs going on as well! As we mentally prepared for the upcoming fashion week, we thought what better way to give back to our own community by having a night of pampering to help our friends and peers as they gear up for fashion week. We would break down all the negative barriers that are often attached with being in the fashion world, as well as celebrating all our close friends who had incredible projects of their own. For the younger models in attendance, we hoped this would be a night for them to relax and realize that having something on the side often helps to alleviate the stress and loneliness that comes along with our jobs. If modeling is their main thing at the moment, great! As long as there is love and passion behind what you do day to day, I think it makes it much easier to stay motivated and grounded in this city. And for when it gets a little too stressful, hopefully at our event they were able to meet a new friend who they can turn to for support. 

We started the event with a little chat about how Dani and I navigate this industry, what we do in our off time with ODM/ODC and Ladyballerzz as well as an introduction to both of our biggest inspirations in the modeling world, Toni Garrn. She shared with the girls how she’s been able to maintain such a successful career for so long all whilst creating her own give-back foundation, the Toni Garrn Foundation. Beyond modeling, one of Toni’s biggest passion is little kids and with her own foundation she works to create schools in Africa and spread the message that education is a right, not a privilege. It’s doing work like this on the side where Toni can use her success in the industry to spread this important message to all of her friends and following. As models, we are all incredibly blessed to have huge social media platforms for people to listen and look up to. Rather than abusing this power, Toni makes sure that all of her followers know the importance of education to little kids around the world, especially in Zimbabwe where she has helped build schools, separate laboratories and dormitories for all the kids she works with. Inspiring to say the least. 

We also wanted to make sure our community knew about all our other friend’s cool side projects they had, as this is what truly makes our New York community so special. Our vendors included:

Aine Campbell; Focuses on professional development outside of modeling. They connect you with mentors and resources around being an entrepreneur and also will connect you with other models who are on a similar journey. Events coming up with year: "What does a model resume look like?" and "How to build a website (in partnership with Squarespace)" and Models disrupting the fashion industry with tech."

Zoe Colivas of Zoe’s Table; Zoe realized the importance of balancing health and wellness on the go by creating easy recipes that are delicious and easy to take with you on your castings. She loves bringing her community together over a good meal and conversation.

Joe Holder; Joe is a top NYC trainer who values balancing health and wellness with mindfulness. His holistic approach to working out sets him apart from other trainers and his workouts are manageable and incredibly effective!!

Rebecca Casino; Rebecca talked to you all about eco-friendly beauty and the importance of tuning into your authentic self and taking time to care for your mind and body.

Face Love; What looked to be THE MOST relaxing facials where provided to you by Face Love. They made our event that much more special. 

Dominyka Gajauskaite of Amberlight Beauty; Dominyka started her own skin care line as a result of being sick of the unfriendly products being used on her face time and time again. Her serums are our favorite...

Our guests were able to mingle and network with our vendors to figure out more about their products and companies. In addition to these vendors, we had a huge list of sponsors who were able to make our gift bags SO special. A big thank you to Ripe, ADAY, Amberlight Beauty, BOKA, The Bosco, Cat's Jewelry, EcoEnclose, Faubourg, Health Ade, Jaw x Jawshop, Kalumi, Rise, RYU, Schmidt's Deodorant ,Sub Rose, Redd Bar and Vermont Village

Check out the pictures from our event. It was a lovely way to celebrate each other and our community, meet new faces and have a new friend to turn to whenever living in New York or navigating the fashion industry gets a bit too tough. Stay tuned for more events in the future!

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..

Getting Comfortable with Discomfort

    Ever get that anxious feeling inside your stomach, the top part just under your ribs that feels like you’re going to explode from the pressures within? The one that keeps your palms sweating endlessly even though it may be cold and the feeling of your heart beating in your ears, eyes, fingers and toes? I’ve felt this many times and it often comes moments before I’m about to jump out of my comfort zone. 

By nature, humans as we know are “creatures of comfort”. Most of us are attracted to life’s predictable moments that make us feel content and satisfied. Some evolutionary reasons being with comfort we are saving mental time and energy when going about our daily lives. [http://bigthink.com/think-tank/creatures-of-habit] Stepping out of that comfort zone, whether it be something as miniscule as changing your route to work or, on a grander scale, deciding to quit your job, can result in success or in discomfort and failure. And by nature the latter seems much less appealing.

While comfort can be, well, comforting, what follows may result in laziness and boredom. Think about how many routines you already follow in your daily lives. Personally, I wake up check Instagram, eat my oatmeal, go for a coffee, go to the gym, watch the same series every night with my same snack… Although it’s nice to be able to do these things, on a personal growth level what am I gaining by checking my Instagram feed over and over again simply because it has become a (bad) habit? What I’m currently striving for is foregoing the endless Instagram scroll, waking up with a meditation, stretching out my muscles and reading a few good articles before I jumpstart my day. The benefits of tuning into my mind and body at the start of my day will far outweigh the minor satisfaction I get from seeing what’s new on social media.    

On a grander scale, far bigger than breaking bad habits such as watching T.V before bed is the ability to get out of your comfort zones for personal growth. With respect to this topic, generally speaking there are two types of people and different ways in which they deal with the stresses of discomfort. Those who are resilient and open to change and those who are change resistant and stuck in their ways. [https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-main-reasons-that-people-stay-in-their-comfort-zones] Those who are resilient are striving for bigger better things and are on the path of constant self-realization. While I definitely fall somewhat in the middle, someone who seeks change but often holds back because of fear, I am aware that these bigger better things will never come from remaining comfortable. The goals that I have set and continue to set in life aren’t achievable by being lazy. 

With regards to starting my own company, a sustainable one at that, I knew that if I didn’t launch this past January of 2017, I would be waiting years in order to perfect myself and my vision (which is near impossible), and by that time those goals would be much harder to achieve. I chose to start a sustainable company without any prior studies in ethical or sustainable fashion, and found I was giving advice to my peers on something that I could barely understand one year prior. With trembling fingers and an Instagram picture ready to be shared, I declared my new venture to the world in order to hold myself 100% accountable. My friends, co-workers, and peers found out about my newfound obsession with sustainability in fashion and it was up to me, and my ability to step out of my comfort zone, to make that post a reality. 

In addition to the gratification of sharing my project with the world, I was also able to rediscover myself and instead became a leader not a follower. The power to learn new things and figure out how you handle difficult situations are not going to be learned inherently. [http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/6-reasons-why-your-comfort-zone-holding-you-back-life.html] Now, when I set out to accomplish bigger better things, with that same pit in my stomach, sweaty hands and accelerated heartbeat, I know the potential for achieving my goals is there. Whether I ‘get it’ the first time or not, I know it will be better than having not tried. It’s by no means as easy as sticking to what you know and you have to be okay with facing failure and rejection. Those who are truly resilient are able to let said negativities glide off with the rest of them and continue on their own path (not anyone else’s), to success.  

    

 

Vacation Planning-The Balancing Act of Neuroticism and Having a Good Itinerary

When planning a vacation, there are two types of people; those who plan almost all days down to the minute (raises hand) and those who like to live spontaneously and go with the flow (kudos to you!). I noticed my neurotic planning for vacations get to a new level when I started modeling full time. Our schedules are generally handed to us the night before so it makes planning ahead virtually impossible. If you have any model/actor/freelance friends, you’ll know what I’m talking about. There is a lot of cancelling and a lot of rescheduling when it comes to planning anything more than two days ahead for us. There are times when I’ve received an amazing job offer that I couldn’t pass on, that falls right in the middle of our planned vacation, so we’ve had to cancel and reschedule everything for next year. It’s expensive, it sucks, but work is work and I’m not about to give up an amazing job for another model to swoop in and grab. Therefore, when I plan my vacations I like to have full control of my off duty time to plan ahead, albeit cautious that I may have to reschedule.

When I was younger, I had the kind of dad who planned beautiful itineraries for us for any family vacation we took which I appreciated more than ever. We always knew where we’d be staying and what we’d have planned to see each day. I liked the regimen of having these guidelines so we wouldn’t get anywhere and potentially miss the must-see spots. On a different note, I also always liked having plans from anything as simple as where my friends and I would be going to dinner. It made sense to me, from my dad’s influence, to have a general idea of a place to see or go so you wouldn’t waste time not knowing what to do (I’m also half-German, can you tell?). 

In recent years, I’ve noticed my neuroticism with planning has sometimes gone too far. I’ve Yelped and researched every potential site, restaurant, and bar we’ve gone to in order to check things off the list, leaving out any room for the fun that comes with spontaneity. I’ve become frustrated if things haven’t gone according to my (super) detailed plan, which has definitely dampened the mood on what should have been a fun, relaxing holiday. 

After some thought I realized that over-planning was possible when mixed with a little spontaneity. I’ve recently talked about the importance of being open to change on my friend’s podcast, HeyChange! You can listen to our chat here. While we delve into change on a grander scale like the fact that change is what keeps life lively, in this article I try and tackle change in smaller terms, like planning a vacation. Here are some guidelines I tend to follow whether I have a month to plan a trip or a few hours. The act of balancing pre-planning and impulsiveness generally makes for an extremely enjoyable trip, work or vacation. 

  • Book your tickets well in advance, if possible!
    • For plane travel, I sometimes find it’s worth the investment to buy your tickets early with trip protection (only if the protection includes cancellation for any reason, not solely related to injury, death or sickness). Unfortunately, I end up having to book last minute which unfortunately costs a lot more… however if your work permits it, book ASAP! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a plane ticket price go down over time. Try checking Skyscanner to see best times to book travel. If you can be flexible with your dates this is a great option as they show you a calendar and how much each day would cost to travel.
    • I take the Amtrak train frequently and always book tickets up to over a year in advance for popular holiday weekends. If I have to cancel, Amtrak lets you get your money back or travel credit if you cancel up to a minute before your travel. That way I can book a roundtrip for ~$70 versus ~$500+ last minute.
       
  • Same goes for accommodation. Airbnb is my favorite way of staying in a new city. You get to live like a local and the hosts generally have cool city guides of their favorite coffee shops, restaurants and sights. It’s more personal and I like the coziness of staying in someone else’s home! I have a saved list for a bunch of popular cities of my favorite Airbnbs ready to go if I need to book last minute if they’re available.
     
  • Hotel Tonight is also a great way to save on an indulgent night at a nice hotel. This is a great option for a staycation or if you want to treat yourself to one or two nights at a nicer hotel. They let you book a room that day or up to a week in advance and you can usually get a great deal of ~$100+ off per night.  These are the rooms they couldn’t fill last minute so they are inclined to sell them for a lot cheaper!
     
  • Book a few restaurants in advance! The popular must-see restaurants are always booked last minute and no one likes to wait in line for an hour with a hangry girlfriend attached at their hip (guilty as the hangry girlfriend!) When I plan a trip, solo or with a friend, I like to book a few restaurants in advance so we have options where we want to go. I’ll book a couple different cuisines for popular days (Thursday through Sunday) so we can see what we feel like at that moment. And if you feel like being spontaneous and hitting up a place you stumble upon instead, so be it! Yelp lets you make reservations through Opentable and I find their app/website easier to use/more reliable than the actual Opentable website. Resy is also a great app for last minute reservations at popular restaurants in a select number of cities. Sometimes they have a fee but this fee generally helps you get into restaurants that may not take reservations and for popular times.
    • I also like having a bunch of ‘bookmarked’ restaurants under my Yelp account, that way if I’m in a city and am not sure where to go for the best ice cream or a cute local coffee shop, I can pull up my Yelp account and see what I’ve bookmarked in the past.
       
  • Have a small bag always packed and ready to go with the essentials; underwear, toothbrush & toothpaste, deodorant, t-shirt, passport and a charger. That way, if you need to run last minute you can just grab this bag, add a few things and be ready to go. This is the number one sanity saver I’ve finally learned as a model for 5+ years. It helps. Trust me! If you have a bit more time to plan you can still take these essentials with you as a base and add whatever extras you need. Although, it’s always so much easier and stress free to travel with as little as possible. (Which also makes me continually rethink my entire closet and how much “stuff” I actually need when I’m generally fine for weeks on end with a small suitcase filled with my essentials…)
     
  • If you’re heading to a new city for the first time, or if you’d like to see a city you already know in a new light, try doing a free walking tour on your first or second day of arrival. It’s a great way to get a gist of your bearings and see where you’d like to go back to and check out in greater detail on the rest of your trip. Just type in “Free City Walking Tours” into google for whatever city you plan to visit. Almost all of them have great options! In Europe, Sandemans Walking Tours are exceptional!
     
  • Look into best options for transit depending on your length of stay in each city. Some offer weekly metro passes while others have deals for the day. It will help you save a lot of money that you could spend on a drink or two instead;)
    • In Japan they offer a rail pass that is significantly cheaper if you plan to travel all over the country for a week or more. For seven consecutive days, an ordinary rail pass will cost around $260 USD for unlimited travel, while some trains last minute can cost up to that much for one trip. (For Japan specifically make sure to book well in advance, as they have to send it in the mail to you and you then get it verified at any Japan Rail Pass station once you’re there).
       
  • Ask your friends for their recommendations! There’s no better way to see how a local lives than by getting suggestions from your friends, family and friends of friends. With Yelp, you can rest assured you’ll find some incredibly tasty, trendy spots but to live a little off the beaten path ask around for some of your friend’s favorite spots. In some cities, Yelp isn’t even popular so it’s nice to get a list of must-see restaurants, bars and museums from a pal.
    • On that note, don’t be afraid to check in with friends about staying with them either. Of course make sure and not overstay, I find 1-3 days is plenty and can save you a ton of cash which leaves you room to book last minute, expensive plane trips. Always bring a gift; flowers or wine are a great option and I always try to leave another bottle of wine and/or a card to show my appreciation...and two bottles of wine are so much cheaper than some hotel options!
       
  • Similar to checking out a walking tour your first or second day of arrival, I also love getting my workout in by going for a run, sans map, my first day in a new city. You can get lost and explore, while getting a good sweat in and see what spots you’d like to check out in more detail later on. If you’re only there for a day or two it’s a nice way to feel like you’ve ‘seen’ the city rather than relying on a treadmill or no workout at all.
     
  • Last but not least, try your best to meal prep for the flight! It’s an absolute pain in the butt, but once you get to the airport and see the options you have (for upwards of $15+ for a bleak salad), you’ll be so incredibly proud of yourself for that little extra prep (your seatmates on the plane will be extremely jealous too!) With the Tupperware you bring you’re not only helping cut down on plastic but you can use that Tupperware later on in the trip for future meals. I always end up bringing oatmeal with me so I can use the container the next morning as a bowl for breakfast! And if you’re up for it, you can do a little grocery shop or take home leftovers from dinner with you on the flight back. Anything you can do to avoid buying food at an airport will be extremely beneficial on your wallet and your health!
    • I also have a banana case I got in Japan, yes, a banana case! It keeps them nice and fresh and perfectly shaped with no squish happening. I know you’re jealous!

I hope these tips help you with your pre-planning desires. Advance planning allows for seamless travel, but of course try to be open to change. Flights will be delayed and canceled, restaurants will be booked, you may even get sick, but being well-prepared and flexible reduces potential stress...which we all need, considering how difficult travel can be these days! Bon Voyage!  

Black & White; Beach to Brunch!

Black and white and sustainable all over! Check out our latest finds that would be perfect for a day at the beach or staying in the city with some friends over brunch. All with sustainability and transparency at heart <3 

The No-Make Up Make Up Look, Here's How!

It took me a while to learn how to properly do my makeup, you know the kind that looks natural enough it seems like you’re not wearing any, but just enough that you can leave the house with confidence.  I don’t know about you but in high school I did my make up as if I was going out to a club, every day. After a few years of my mother pleading with me to wear less or at least blend better, in addition to getting my makeup done daily by professionals, I like to think I’ve learned enough that  I can help you achieve the off-duty make-up look.

Less is more, as I’m sure you’ve heard before. When starting with my face, if I find I need a full coverage I’ll apply a thin layer of tinted moisturizer all over. The tinted moisturizer takes away some redness but also helps keep my face hydrated so it won’t look too cakey or dry like a full foundation would.  RMS Un Cover-Up is made with coconut oil, thus hydrating the skin while providing a thin layer of coverage. Sometimes I’ll even add a little of my own moisturizer into the mix, (Pai is great and smells devine) so I can have a little extra glow. If my face is relatively clear of redness and spots, instead of adding full coverage I’ll simply add a little concealer to each spot and let the rest of my skin breath. I just tried out Nu Evolution and love their camouflage cream. It has a bit more coverage than RMS but is still hydrating and leaves the skin looking fresh and clean. 

 

After my face is taken care of, I’ll move onto my cheeks. If it’s summer I’ll add some bronzer to the high bone of my cheeks, extending all the way to my hairline, up around my brows and even the top of my forehead. I want it all to blend in and think adding a light layer all over my face ends up looking best, rather than just on my cheeks. Instead of spending hours under the sun, I recommend getting a spray-on tan or applying a light layer of bronzer if you're after that glow. It's important to put on sunscreen everyday before you add anything to your skin. You can find ones that are light enough for your face and similar to the amount of water you drink, sunscreen will help you look youthful as you age. 

 In winter I prefer using blush as I find it goes better with pale skin to have a light flushed look. RMS has a great product called "Lip 2 Cheek" where you can blend in their cream on your cheeks for a flushed look or add some to your lips for a little more color. I find it looks more natural if you end up using the same color for both. Oftentimes, make up companies use the same formulas for eyeshadows, blushes, bronzers, etc. They market it differently so you end up buying more. To save money, buy one color you love that you can use on your eyes, cheeks and lips. Click the images below for some of my favorite colors. 

I’ll then move onto my eyebrows, something I consider to be the focal point of many people’s faces when done right. I love using a brow brush and very lightly filling in the missing areas. EcoBrow has a great defining wax that is tinted and helps keep them in place because of the wax. I may extend the end of my brows a bit and then brush them out so they look full and healthy. After filling in the missing spots, I love using a toothbrush with hair spray! It holds all day and brushes them out nicely, sometimes better than a lot of eyebrow brushes. 

I tend to not do too much to the eyes. I may curl my lashes a bit and leave it at that or add a bit of mascara if I find I need some definition. 

If you literally want to shine you can add a little sparkle to your high cheek bone and high-brow area with a little shine stick. This gives you a little more glow and helps add definition to your face so your make up doesn’t look too flat. If my skin looks dehydrated, I'll use Weleda Skin Food as a highlighter. It provides the perfect amount of shine and moisture to the face. Tata Harper and Ilia also have great illuminators. Try putting them on the high of your cheekbone and extending near the hairline, the bridge of your nose, the high bone of your eyebrow right above your eyelid and right at the top of your mouth where your lip dips. 

For my lips, chapstick is my go-to. It’s the one thing I would bring with me if I was stranded on an island. To look more dressed up I’ll use one that has a little tint to it. Otherwise I’m all set with my Mongo Kiss Eco Lips that has a sheer shine to it. 

After the eyes and lips are taken care of, I may touch up some of the spots with concealer that got smudged and finish off with a little matte powder from RMS in my T-zone. Et voila! A natural off-duty model look ready for a casual outing with friends but nice enough if you happen to run into a colleague or client you don’t have to worry about your brows being out of place. 

We’re putting this stuff on our skin, our body's largest organ so why wouldn’t we consider using the best, organic ingredients? All the products I've shared with you heal and nourish our skin so we don’t have to think twice about leaving it on for too long. The key is to drink lots of water, keep your face as hydrated as possible, moisturize and exfoliate when you're at home and let your skin breath with these light products that are yes, even good enough to eat!  

By Taea Thale for Self Magazine&nbsp;

By Taea Thale for Self Magazine