LIVING

GO WITH THE FLOW

10.11.18

Periods. I’ve been having one for 31 years. And during those 31 years I have used thousands of tampons and had countless situations where I bled all over something that I should not have bled on. Be it bed sheets or bus seats chances are if you talk to anyone who is female she has at least one memorable period story that involves her having to tie a jacket/shirt/scarf/whatever around her waist whilst backing out of a room.

Meanwhile here we are going around like “no big deal”, complaining about our periods while still attempting to keep up our regular routines. We’ve been told that we can (and should!) do it all during our periods. Sports tampons, invisible pads, period panties…It makes me wonder what we really should be doing during our periods. I mean it’s a pretty significant thing that’s happening, why the effort to make it seem like it’s not?

Any woman can tell you that it is a big deal. A huge one in fact. Trust me when I say that if men had to bleed 5 days out of every month there would be time off, private clubs designed for just that purpose and insurance would cover the cost of tampons and Advil.

So, how did we, as women, become disconnected from the sacredness of our  cycles, and how can we change the way we experience our periods?

The word menstruation is derived from Greek and Latin words meaning month and moon. Menstruation not only ties us to nature, but it gives us insight into our health and chakra systems. Early cultures respected and appreciated this time of the month and it’s connection to nature. They paid attention to the effect of the lunar and seasonal cycles on our emotions, energy levels and psychological states and learned how to create balance in all three. There was a focus on self care that empowered women of all ages to honor their bodies and make choices that put self first. It was a time of purification, rejuvenation, creativity and rest. In some cultures women were relieved of all duties and instead gathered together, elevating their collective energy, resting and connecting to their divine feminine energy.

Prior to electricity, women ovulated according to their physiological and hormonal response to the amount of light in the night sky. Our biological blueprint is to ovulate when there is the most light in the night sky – during the full moon. This then leads to us bleeding with the new moon. We have a physiological feedback loop in our bodies that regulates our melatonin production, which influences many things including the hormones that ripen and release an egg from our ovary. With the introduction of electricity and the resulting light pollution, as well as the physical stresses of modern life and chemical pollutants in the environment, women now bleed and ovulate not only at different times to each other (unless they live together), but also at different times to the moon’s signals.

Women go through four distinct hormonal trends every month just like the moon, which also has four phases. Some weeks we’re more creative; others are best for planning while some call for rest and retreat. Although they don’t alway sync up, knowing what phase you are in can be helpful and can help you better harness your energy.

The four phases are:

Menstrual (New Moon): Rest, reflect and set intentions

Follicular (Waxing Moon): Begin taking action, initiate creative projects

Ovulation (Full Moon): Present, be in front of people, collaborate. Shine.

Luteal (Waning Moon): Complete tasks, stay focused, finish projects

If you aren’t sure how your cycle relates to the moon you can use the  My Moontime app to chart it or click here to see the moon phases for each month. To find out more about the menstrual phases and how they affect mood you can download the MyFlo app.

The two most common cycles are:

New Moon (White Moon) Cycle

The New Moon is viewed as a time of reflection and introspection. Women who have their periods around the new moon have historically been linked to having strong intuition and the urge to withdraw from the world. They feel that they’ve already given the world all they can give, energetically, over the past month and choose to withdrawal for the week, focusing on themselves and their needs. If this is you, you follow the natural cycles of the earth. Your body and spirit withdraw into rest and inward focus when the moon goes dark, and when the moon is full and bright, so are you.

Full Moon (Red Moon) Cycle

Women who get their period around the full moon are on the Red Moon cycle. Historically, the Red Moon cycle belonged to the medicine women, the midwives and the wisdom keepers of the community. If you bleed with the full moon, your energy is focused on self-actualization, and on using that self-actualization to empower other women.

Don’t fret if your cycle doesn’t fall into one of these two categories. As I mentioned earlier, due to our modern lifestyles, and staying up late scrolling Instagram, checking emails, binging on Netflix exposure to light women tend to bleed at different times during the months, so if your cycle isn’t synced up with the moon phases don’t despair. There are lots of ways you can bring yourself back into sync.

  1. Pay Attention 

Start noticing the cycles of the moon and pay attention to how you feel during each cycle. Sometimes just this simple acknowledgement creates a shift and a stronger connection with the moons energy. Keeping a chart of your period and the phases of the moon is helpful. You will start to notice a pattern of emotions and physical changes that occur at the same time each month that will show you your cyclical nature. Knowing what to expect allows you to plan accordingly and create situations and rituals to support yourself.

2. Stop Sleeping With Your Phone/Computer/iPad

It used to be that humans were only exposed to sunlight during the day and to the moon at night. With the invention of electricity, our exposure to light and dark shifted and now we can be exposed to light 24/7. One of the biggest disrupters are our devices which emit endocrine disrupting blue light. This light exposure compromises the pineal glands ability to create melatonin which can throw off not only our ovulatory rhythm but our circadian rhythyms making it difficult to get a good nights sleep.

3. Sleep in the Dark

I mean can’t see your hand in front of your face darkness. The darker your room is the more melatonin release will be triggered. Then if you’d like on the full moon leave a nightlight on and your blinds open to let the light of the moon in. This will encourage your body to ovulate on the full moon.

4. Adopt A Moon Ritual

I am a big believer in rituals around both the new and full moons. It doesn’t have to be a big ordeal – lighting a candle and writing in a journal is plenty. Sometimes my moon ritual is simply to be present in gratitude while snuggling with Harris. Typically the New Moon is a time for reflection and intention setting while the Full Moon is a time of gratitude for all that you have created. Look back on your intentions you have set on the new moon and see how far you have come. Release anything that is no longer serving you while bringing forward all that is serving you well. Full moon is also a great time for moon bathing – sitting outside under the light of the moon and soaking up all her energy.

As for myself, I have found a tremendous benefit in going along with the natural energy of the our environment. Instead of pushing myself outwards during the times when I feel withdrawn, I listen to my needs and adjust accordingly. This in turn makes me more productive and focused when I am naturally supposed to be. Having a period is just part of a cycle, but knowing when it’s coming and what phase I’m in when it’s here empowers me to embrace my intuitive feminine nature and literally go with the flow.

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LIVING

a bit about us

09.13.18

We recently realized that some of our newer followers might not know that much about us and Highbrow Hippie so we figured it’s a good time to reintroduce ourselves! Kadi and I have been friends for over 15 years and were both sales associates at the same clothing store in Atlanta, where we attended Spelman College.

Both of us have spent the past two decades in the beauty industry. After finishing at Parsons School of Design in Paris I got my start in beauty working for the worlds only Beauty Futurologist doing trend forecasting. Kadi started her journey at the Aveda Institute in New York where she first fell in love with hair color. In reality our roots in beauty began long before that. Kadi was always doing hair in her dorm room at Spelman and I spent childhood summers in Pittsburgh with my cousin taking trips to Pharmor; the local pharmacy. We’d stock up on Neutrogena and nail polish and spend the afternoon painting our nails with masks on our faces watching The Young and the Restless with my Grandmother.

After not seeing one another for years, one night in 2002 we ran into each other on Madison Avenue. I was working with the beauty trend forecaster and Kadi was assisting at Frederik Fekkai. We discovered we lived around the corner from each other in Brooklyn, made a date the next night and have been drinking and creating together ever since…

Oh snap. Baby Harris is home with Daddy! We out in ‘dese streets’. ✨✨ (we’ll be home in an hour ). #girlsnight #holidays #highbrowhippie

Since that time we’ve both gone on to launch businesses in the beauty space – after living in Europe for 4 years, I came back in 2009 and opened WAX, Atlanta’s first all natural waxing studio and then BUFF, it’s first non-toxic nail salon. Kadi made a move to LA from NY where she quickly became one of the most in demand colorists in the city creating enviable shades of color known for their natural look.

We started Highbrow Hippie in 2012 as a lifestyle blog focused on beauty, wellness and living. We both had clients asking us so many questions about what we were wearing, where were we going and our thoughts on various things we decided it would be fun to blog about it. We were really enthusiastic about it at first, posting weekly and writing a lot, but then life kicked in and things slowed.

Between me running WAX and BUFF and Kadi being busy building her clientele, time for blogging moved to the bottom of the list and before we knew it months would pass without a post. Then we ramped up blogging again, only to be slowed down in 2014 when we decided to open a physical location and were approached by an investor. That was a massive project (read more about it here!) and there was barely enough time to manage our day jobs while dedicating time to our potential new space at 1346 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, let alone blog.

So we decided to pause on blogging (hello Instagram!) since part of our launch plan was to redo our website and poured all of our energy into our new opportunity.

Sadly at the end of 2017, our investor decided to sell the building that we had secured, rezoned and designed for her along with the building permit we had secured. To say we were devastated is an understatement, but 8 months later we were finally able to settle with our old investor and now are free to follow the path we set out on 4 years ago, but this time we get to hold the pursestrings and thus make all the decisions ourselves.

It’s been a huge learning experience for both us as. As seasoned entrepreneurs we made sure that we dotted every I and crossed every T, but we learned that people with nothing to lose have a tendency to act that way and that just because someone has money does not mean they should be an investor in your business. In the end, the person who should have been our biggest supporter ended up being our biggest detractor. Only she knows why, I gave up trying to figure out why people do what they do years ago, but bottom line we’re better off without her.

In the meantime, we’re back to blogging again, picking up the pieces of our attempt to work with an investor and going it alone in the meantime. We hope you follow along to see how we navigate living life perfectly undone being entrepreneurs, being besties, being women all while being our Highbrow Hippie selves.

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BEAUTY / LIVING / TRAVEL / WELLNESS

c’est la vie

07.24.18
Biafine - A staple in all French beauty cabinets. A plant based cream used to treat burns, it’s multi purpose and can be used to sooth dry and irritated skin by stimulating new skin growth. I use it on my heels at night. Patyka - Energising Eye Gel smooths out wrinkles and fine lines and brightens the eye area. Have never tried, but I like the fact it has a metal roller ball applicator. Dermobianae - Hair vitamins. Stay tuned to see how these work…. Nuxe body oil - Because Summer glow sometimes needs assistance. Plus it smells great. Nuxe - Am a fan of natural deodorants (see post about my faves here!) so am always on the lookout for a new addition. Homeoplasmine: A homeopathic ointment made for skin irritations. Formulated to relieve irritation of the nasal mucous membranes associated with colds and rhinitis, scratches, grazes, bruises and cracks of the skin—especially dry, chapped lips. I use it on Harris whenever he gets a bump or a dry patch of skin.
Biafine – A staple in all French beauty cabinets. A plant based cream used to treat burns, it’s multi purpose and can be used to sooth dry and irritated skin by stimulating new skin growth. I use it on my heels at night and/or after any chemical facial treatments. Patyka – Energising Eye Gel smooths out wrinkles and fine lines and brightens the eye area. Have never tried, but I like the fact it has a metal roller ball applicator.  Dermobianae – Hair vitamins. Stay tuned to see how these work. Nuxe Body Oil – Because Summer glow sometimes needs assistance. Plus it smells great. Nuxe Deodorant – Am a fan of natural deodorants (see post about my faves here!) so am always on the lookout for a new addition. Homeoplasmine: A homeopathic ointment made for skin irritations. Formulated to relieve irritation of the nasal mucous membranes associated with colds and rhinitis, scratches, grazes, bruises and cracks of the skin—especially dry, chapped lips. I use it on Harris whenever he gets a bump or a dry patch of skin.

 

 

Back in 2000 I lived in Paris for a year while studying at Parsons School of Design. On the weekends (okay, not EVERY weekend), instead of recovering from being out at one of the various clubs, I would spend the day wandering all around the city. Popping in and out of shops, brassaries and of course, the pharmacy.

French women are some of the chicest around and their beauty game, while nonchalant and uncontrived, is unparalleled. European women in general know how to do it. They don’t obsess over every little line or imperfection, preferring to age with grace and stand strong in the knowledge that true beauty comes from within.

They focus on living with enjoyment and savoring life.  Pausing to enjoy a coffee with a friend in the middle of the day, taking time to spend with family on Sunday’s when the only things open are museums and restaurants. Participating in all the culture and beauty that surrounds them on a daily basis.

Being dropped into that culture in my twenties was a gift. I knew no one and spoke just a few words of French. I had only been to Europe once before, but I knew it was my kinda place when I saw there was a smoking section on the back of the plane.

You see, at that time, this girl smoked Gauloises, stayed up until all hours of the night, sketched perspectives of rooms and had decided that an MBA at Columbia or Wharton wasn’t the path I wanted to take. I wanted to explore the world, be creative and try something new. Paris gave me all that and more. So I left my job, my family and my boyfriend and headed to Paris looking for adventure and ended up finding myself.

I got comfortable with a lack of personal space, of not being understood and being okay with it and of being stared at while I waited in line at the Tabac in my Birkenstocks. Apparently they weren’t deemed chic then, but I’ll just claim being ahead of the pack.

Living in Paris taught me the following things:

  1.  All things in moderation.
  2. Smoking might not kill you.
  3.  Fishnet tights with trainers can be chic as long as you are wearing a trench coat.
  4.  Eating dinner before 8 PM makes no sense.
  5.  A diet of bread, cheese and wine is okay sometimes. See #1.
  6.  Use a cloth napkin at every meal and never let another paper napkin enter my home.

But most of all it taught me that true beauty isn’t found in potions or serums, but in experiencing life with all it’s twists and turns and unexpected challenges. Real lasting beauty comes through self knowledge, confidence and the freedom found in being yourself.

So don’t worry so much about the bags under your eyes, or the extra wrinkle that wasn’t there last year. Believe me when I say that there will be more and with each one know that you have lived another year,  expressed yourself freely and if those laugh lines deepen, so be it. At least you were smiling.

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LIVING / WELLNESS

VIBRATE HIGHER

06.07.18

As most of you may know I am a true believer in the power of crystals. I keep them throughout my home, carry them in my bag and wear them on my body. I use them to facilitate whatever I am trying to attract or repel and I know for a fact they have helped me tremendously in various situations.

About 6 months ago I came across these Gem Essences made by Moon Nectar Apothecary at my local mystic haunt Modern Mystic. I immediately purchased a few, and since then my collection has grown 3 fold. I use Malachite at night for deep REM sleep and to cleanse and protect my energy field. In the morning I massage whatever stone I feel I need into the corresponding chakras.  Sometimes I layer them depending on how I feel. My current daily blend is Citrine and Moldavite which are both great stones to use when starting on a new path. I also use them during my yoga classes, on my son or as part of a candle ritual for any moon ceremonies. A recent add is Lapis Lazuli.  I had a reading with an intuitive who said the entire time she kept getting visions of me with a huge lapis stone on my third eye. Apparently I was an Egyptian in a past life, but that’s another post….

Anyhow, each essence comes with a description for use as well as a listing of what Chakras it corresponds to. I typically place a drop or two on the corresponding Chakras throughout the day to amplify their power. She also sells a mini kit with small sizes of all the essences. Great way to sample different stones if you are unfamiliar. 

 

From Moon Nectar’s site:

Gem Essence are vibrational gem oils that provide properties from each gem stone and essential oil blends.  They excrete a vibrational frequency of each stone and are to be used with intention.

How to use:

– Add 8-10 drops to a meditative intention bath using the corresponding herbs to attract intention

-Use in dressing a candle during altar or moon rituals and anointing candle with gem oil

-Can be used on chakra or pulse points, as massage oil, hand or foot wash, or before yoga, meditation, presentations, or performances.

-Can also be used around your house or work area, on doorways, knobs, car or around your space.

A tip: when you get your bottle use tape to cover the label, I have found that because it’s an oil product it will dissolve the writing on the label over time rendering it hard to read. However, the owner was amazing and sent me all new labels when she realized mine had faded!

To purchase please click here.

*photos from Moon Nectar Apothecary*

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LIVING

Scenting Your Home

05.31.18

For me scent is one of the most important elements in my home.  Smell is the sense most closely linked to memory and can elicit powerful responses almost instantaneously be them negative or positive. Anytime I smell Estee Lauder White Linen perfume it sends me straight back to my Grandmothers bedroom trying on her pearl earrings. I tend to gravitate towards woodsy, green scents with subtle floral undertones. Scents that (at least for me) feel like a warm hug next to a fireplace, reading a book after smoking a joint and gazing out the window at the mountains beyond.

The first thing I do in the morning after my bathroom run is light some Palo Santo or incense. Immediately I feel at ease and ready to start my day. I use a mix of incense, candles, resin and dried herbs to create whatever scent I am craving and have fun discovering new pairings. Over the years I have found a few consistent favorites as well as some new finds that I am digging.

Norden Ojai

This is a recent discovery and I am obsessed with both the scent and the fact that I have a beautiful ceramic vessel afterwards; but again, when I want a refill my only option is to buy the entire thing. My personal favorite is Ojai. Shocking. Buy it here.

 

H.O.W.L. Tobacco & Red Currant

Made from 100% coconut wax these candles are handmade in Venice, CA. I discovered them on one of my many trips to LA and have been a huge fan ever since. I tried the Amber and Santal scent and while it smells lovely, it didn’t have the throw that the Tobacco and Red Currant does. I can walk into my bathroom and smell Tobacco and Red Currant without burning it, while the Amber and Santal I have to burn for a while before I can really identify the scent. Either way, I love them and they are always in rotation at my house. Buy one here.

 

Blackbird Incense

These stay in steady rotation at our house. I love Blood Countess and Ozo. They have recently added the ability to purchase two sample cones which I think is a brilliant idea so you can try a few before committing to a scent.

Jonathan Adler Hashish

The perfect blend of black currant, green apple, wormwood, patchouli and moss it is hands down one of my top 5. My only complaint is that they don’t sell the candles in an insert because A) I’m not consistently spending $68 on a candle and B) how many stash boxes does a girl need? Buy it here.

Palo Santo Sticks

I have seen a huge uptick in the use of Palo Santo the past few years. Not sure how I feel about this (social media ruins everything) but considering it’s an actual tree I wonder what the impact will be on these “Holy Woods” in South America. It is believed that a tree or fallen branches must lie dead for 4-10 years before the medicinal and mystical properties of the wood begin to come alive. This means that traditionally only the fallen branches and twigs of the tree are harvested, and this practice is regulated by the government of Peru to ensure that the trees do not become overharvested. However, as Palo Santo has become more popular, the illegal harvesting and cutting of trees has also greatly increased, ruining yet another Rainforest species, but that’s another post. Sigh…

Consequently, if you are purchasing wildharvested Palo Santo, it is important to do so from an ethical wildcrafter. I purchase mine from Mountain Rose Herbs. They buy from a 50 acre farm in Ecuador that contains both naturally occurring and replanted Palo Santo. They have replanted over 5000 Palo Santo trees on the land so far to ensure adequate supply for the future.

I use this on a daily basis for clearing and protection before I start my yoga and meditation practice and throughout the day because I love the smell.

Copal Resin

Years ago on my first trip to Tulum I was totally captivated by the smell of this resin. It was everywhere and each time I burn it it takes me right back there. Beachside, bikini clad and drinking mezcal.  Buy them from my source here.

 

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