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Issue1 January- February 2012



Keep children off the streets with


Exclusive vegetarian recipes from


Kiehl’s Looks to the future







TO KARMA LIFE & STYLE MAGAZINE! We go after a form of journalism that fulfills the possibilities of what it means to be a healthy and trendy individual with the principles of Karma as core values. We are genuinely interested in the people and stories behind top brands in the fields of Fashion, Beauty, Food, and Lifestyle. We believe that a conscious, responsive clientele is what fuels the industry and gives us the chance to do what we love.

Did you know? This publication is interactive! That means you can turn Karma Life & Style into your own customized experience with the click of a button. Clicking pictures, links and sections will lead you to company websites, Twitter and Facebook profiles, among other interesting things. Try it now by liking our Facebook page or sending us a Tweet:

OUR EDITOR Dear Reader: I am thrilled to welcome the New Year with the first issue of Karma Life & Style Magazine. During the past year it has been an honor to work alongside a group of amazing, dedicated people who inspire me every day. This wouldn’t have been possible without the faith and cooperation of our collaborators and team, and for that, I want to say thank you. Some people go through life without taking chances. They stay within the confines of what they know to be safe and comfortable. This magazine isn’t about them. From Antonio Castro, business and health mogul, to the inspiring mother and daughter team behind BAGGU Bag and the innovative ideas of LUSH Cosmetics and Ouna’s Closet, we aspire to showcase those whose work is life changing – for them and for their customers. We believe that behind every brand and product there is a story that deserves to be told, and we believe in the power of sharing those stories to construct a better world. I hope you enjoy what we have created, and that you do not hesitate to share your ideas and feedback through You can also find us at Happy New Year! Good karma, Carolina Fragoso Editor in Chief


SPROUT In 2012, we go beyond the primary colors of our childhoods and create palettes for life’s newcomers that reflect the whimsy of being a kid, but have a more grown-up sensibility. In the SPROUT palette, the colors are playful, but there is a twist that gives thrse subtle hues a balance of style and design. The genderneutral hues of SPROUT .01, SPROUT .02 and SPROUT .05 gently bring fun to children’s spaces, connected under the warm whute canopy of AIR .01.



12 GOOD KARMA Cantera & Feed


Kira Lillie & Ouna’s Closet

Baggu Bags




Kiehl’s, Lush Cosmetics & Rich Winston Salon


Yolo Colorhouse & Vision Productivity Solutions


KarmaFree Cooking & Orgánica Yogurt

46 Zen Life

The Studio


A decade of


Join us in celebration of KARMA NYC’s 10 year anniversary!!! Karma’s team wishes Grace the best of luck in her new endeavors in New York City. You can follow her footsteps




MADELYN RODRIGUEZ is a lacto-vegetarian and Yoga enthusiast who has agreed to share her knowledge with Karma Life & Style.

ILIANA SUCH our Creative Consultant, is the person who helped mold this magazine’s concept.

CRISTINA MARTIN is the Graphic Design Intern who gave life to the pages you are reading.

JUAN CARLOS MEDINA Art Director. He loves art, books, magazines, music, oriental cuisine and dogs.

GRETCHEN MARIN is a seasoned journalist whose experience and advice constantly inspired the development of Karma Life & Style.




Here at Karma NYC we are inspired by the San Juan Bosco Foundation’s philosophy of reaching a child’s soul through music, art and sports. The organization has set their sights on the impoverished Cantera community near San Juan, where most children will leave school before they obtain their High School diploma. We believe that fundraising and community programs led by groups such as this one can spark active involvement towards the resolution of our world’s issues, and we too want to help. The Cantera program is a community outreach program which seeks to engage children of limited resources in extracurricular activities that involve sports, art and music. The program presents children with the opportunity to explore fields to which they would otherwise not be exposed. It provides a safe environment to play, learn and develop and a strong


support system of adult role models who have succeeded under similar circumstances, proving that hard work and dedication bring great satisfaction and rewards. The program also allows us, the community, to highlight the importance of education, teamwork and focus, critical skills that are needed for a successful future. We are driven by the ability to influence these children in a positive way, knowing that these programs improve the quality of their lives. We have designed the “Good Karma” product line to reach our goal of providing such resources for these children. The designs include Bosco bracelets, Bosco bag and a Bosco sports bag. Proceeds from all sales are donated to the Baby Soccer Team within the Cantera Sports Program. To purchase contact the Karma NYC team at:



Designing Bags for WFP’s School Feeding Progam which feeds and educates hungry children. What is your current title and what does your position entail? I am the Director of Sales and Global Logistics for FEED. I handle all wholesale orders for smaller boutiques and stores, and I also manage the supply chain for FEED, which covers everything from assisting our Director of Operations with production timelines to routing our product through the transportation process including brokerage and clearance processes. Additionally, I help to manage several large retailers including American Eagle, Clarins, and Lord & Taylor. How does your role in the company help contribute to its overall success? I believe that my educational background in supply chain management and my years of sales experience at UPS have been an important asset to FEED for many reasons. We have streamlined our processes for shipping and routing, which has helped reduce time and costs. For a small company of only 4 people, this time and cost savings is critical. What is your most popular Feed product? We would say the FEED 1 - the classic bag that Lauren started FEED with, and the vision that has helped to FEED over 62 million children since 2007. Are there other ways to contribute other than buying products? We are currently working on our website for our FEED Katy Wanserski, Director of Foundation, which will allow people to donate to cerSales and Global Logistics tain funds that FEED supports - like the Japan fund, or for FEED Haiti fund, or the fund that will support programs that give HIV/AIDS drugs alongside food rations. Additionally, there will be a section where you can look to volunteer for organizations in your area that FEED supports. What experience led you to this particular cause? I had been working at UPS and saw FEED on one of our reports as a new shipper who sent out some large international shipments. I decided to stop by and see what needs UPS and myself could personally assist them with. I was amazed at what a large difference a vision and determination by a small group of inspiring women could do in the lives of people around the world and wanted immediately to be a part of it. How do you define balance in your life? No one is perfect! But I try to be as giving as possible yet make sure to take time for myself. I eat as best as I can with foods that are good to the earth and my body, but splurge too. I try to exercise every day to release tension and clear my mind. Everything in moderation creates a pretty good balance. And I am happiest and most even-keeled when surrounded by those I love. How do you inspire others? I think that positive energy and a positive outlook are always an inspiration. I am lucky that I work with an amazing team of hardworking women that inspires me, and I hope that my positivity and path in life are possibly an inspiration to others as well.

What is your motto? Not a motto per se, but I do find myself always saying “Everything happens for a reason.� And with a positive attitude and hard work, I think anything is possible.




Meet Kira Lillie, the creator of VK Lillie’s highly covetable line of hand made medicine bags inspired on Native American Indian tradition. These extremely personal accessories are custom-made from vintage leather gloves and 7 semiprecious stones of your choice, and are certain to bring waves of compliments and good energy and vibe. You started as a fashion photographer and now VK Lillie along with directing --- you’re a busy girl! Could you give us some insight into your future plans? I like to think of myself as a visionary - an overall director who brings teams of people together to work on a common theme or goal. I think the time of individual achievement is over: we must work together to become innovative and stronger. I am working on creating just this. Stay tuned, because there are big things in the future. Could you use three keywords to describe the essence of VK Lillie? Personal, unique and meaningful


Do you travel and buy vintage gloves for your bags? I don’t travel for that specifically but most of the gloves come from Parisian antique shops called brocantes or from vintage stores wherever I am, as I do travel quite a bit for my other work. How do you define good taste? Sensitivity. Who do you think rules the fashion world? The consumer and money - which are the wrong thing to rule it. We are at a moment where money rules almost everything artistic, blinding the creative side of humanity. What are your views on social media? It is perhaps the only thing that might save the creative side. Thanks to the web talented people can become known without having to spend millions on advertising. It’s an amazing tool.




makes simple, high quality bags in many bright colors. They fill many uses so you can own less stuff.

To BAGGU Bag creators Emily and Joan Sugihara, good taste is more about consciousness than appearance: “To us, good taste is paying attention to the way what you buy, use, and wear, was made.” Read on to find out why we think their colorful bags are perfect examples of responsible style. BAGGU began in 2007 when mother-daughter team Emily and Joan Sugihara couldn’t find the reusable bag they were looking for in the market and decided to create “something that everyone needs and uses” - with a twist. They pooled their considerable design talents and came up with the Standard BAGGU Bag, a colorful recreation of the almost iconic plastic bag, and still their #1 best selling product. The first order of bags was shipped by Joan’s younger brothers


and delivered to the Sugihara family garage. When asked about what was most instrumental in getting the BAGGU from idea to product, all of the team’s eyes turn to Emily, the risktaker who trusted her daughter’s vision and went all-in to make it real. All bags are created using 100% Ripstop Nylon and 100% Recycled Cotton Canvas,

materials that stand the wear and tear that even the most avid shopper can inflict on them. However, BAGGUs are not only for the supermarket: the brand also includes backpacks, shoulder bags and zippered pouches that are perfect for any stylish person on the move.


WELCOME TO OUNA'S CLOSET Vintage and Contemporary store for men & women What sparked your interest in vintage? What is the most satisfying part of your work? What drove me to vintage was a deep-rooted love for everything “old”. My mom has called me a bag lady ever since I was little - I took everything others pushed aside and incorporated it to my closet. I remember wearing an 80s vest during high school that had been my sister’s, and everyone loved it but I was the only one who had it. I’ve always liked setting myself apart by using fashion from the past, and getting to do that for my clients and friends is the most satisfying part of Ouna’s Closet. What are the advantages to vintage? The main advantage to vintage is the craftsmanship and durability. An item could last forever if you had a good tailor. This is why Ouna’s Closet offers Miss Francis’ Atelier, where you can modify the items we offer or the ones you already own to fit your needs. This pride in our own dressmaking is something that has been absent in Puerto Rico, and we want our work to remedy this.


How do you obtain the pieces you have in your store? What happens to a piece before it gets to your displays? Ouna’s Closet is a continuously curated collection, because I personally select every piece in our store. I see thousands of pieces every year: clothes, jewelry, accessories, shoes you name it. My choices are made based on cut, condition, history and modern wearability. I try to travel at least once a year to shop and have some fun, and I’ve already been all over New York, Boston, Miami, California and Atlanta. Every city has a different offering, so even though I take a journal with the styles and colors I’m looking for, I always end up falling for that crazy-beautiful piece that makes me delirious. Everything I find is then taken to a laundromat to remove stains and odors. The rest of the customizing process is left to the client. Can you tell us about the most stunning pieces that have been in your store? Wow, I’ve had the joy of seeing so many precious things pass through the store and into my client’s wardrobes. Here’s a few of the most memorable: A 1950’s makeup compact case made to look like a rotary phone wheel, a filigree rosary from the 1880’s (which I still have), six pairs of Chanel earrings in their cases of which I still have some available and a red tiered dress from the 1980’s that Laura Om featured in her visual novel Amor Púgil. I can recognize each and every piece that I have ever sold. Can you describe your experience with vintage here in Puerto Rico? Educating the general public about vintage is always a happy challenge. It’s been three years since we began this adventure and many people still lack some understanding about what we do. The Ouna’s Closet experience is a full service: I get all the pieces, I present them, and then I give advice on how to style them. I take pride in helping clients embrace their own style by incorporating vintage and modern pieces only they will own.


How do you see the future of vintage in the island? I see it better than before. There’s been many attempts to make vintage a part of the norm, but my store has been markedly successful where others have failed. I don’t see vintage as restricted to a specific group of people, and my intention is for everyone in the island to understand and incorporate it as they would with anything they buy at the mall. How do you define good taste? Good taste is what you experience when that girl or guy walks into a room and totally steals the show. The outfit can be simple or detailed, but it has to have a very defined style. Pride and confidence help, too. What celebrities do you find inspiring, style-wise? Rachel Zoe is a major inspiration when it comes to my style, because we share a very strong love for vintage and we both incorporate it actively into our outfits. Other celebrities I admire are Marilyn Monroe, Bianca Jagger, Drew Barrymore, Edie Sedgwick, Sigourney Weaver and Bette Davis. Can you share something about Ouna’s Closet that you haven’t shared in other publications? I have always thought that finding your passion is of utmost importance in life, and that you should pursue it actively. Your passion is more than what fills you, it’s where your heart lies. If you find it and you follow through with it you will find that success will come easily because what we love always brings out our best qualities. Ouna’s Closet is one of my passions: I go after it, I love it and this is where my heart is. I would like to thank all of those who have visited Ouna’s Closet (and the ones on the way, too) for giving me the opportunity to dress you and be a part of your story.


Kiehl’s skincare is scientifically formulated to respect, restore and strenghten the skin barrier for healthier, more radiant, younger- looking skin.


LUSH COSMETICS Fresh handmade cosmetics

Would it be possible to create effective, healthy beauty products from the best organic produce without testing them on animals or unnecessary packaging? Thirty years ago, Liz Weir and Mark Constantine were asking themselves the same question. The two friends decided to try it at home where they used their expertise in cosmetology to produce original products. Soon they had enough faithful clients to develop a catalog: the rest is history. Today, their green factory receives fresh produce daily, which the workers turn into exquisite beauty products that are then shipped to stores worldwide, where they are displayed without packaging. In 2012, customers can expect a new line of LUSH color cosmetics and 20 new stores around the world.

and Spokeswoman for LUSH. “In this role I work with PR to publicize the brand, our products, our ethics and our campaigns. As a brand that does not advertise or pay for celebrity endorsements, Public Relations plays a very important role”, says Brandi. After all, her line of work has no need for big names or claims: she represents a wholesome brand with a stunning repertoire of products like the fan-favorite Dream Cream Body Lotion which, as it name suggests, “has made dreams come true for customers with many skin conditions.”



As far as beauty routines go, Brandi’s is as simple as LUSH’s premise: “Smile.I define beauty as an inner happiness that radiates from within. We all want it, we all have it, we just have to master tapping into it. The first step is the smile and the rest will follow. Also, don’t be afraid to break out of your beauty routine. Your skin and hair need change all the time, so mix it up and have fun!”


However, the most interesting part about the company is their advertising policies. To find out more, we interviewed Brandi Halls, the North American Public Relations Manager




Meet Rich Winston from Rich Winston Salon Who is Rich Winston? Rich Winston Salon was born on a whim. A simple idea that was discussed over dinner between a friend and I that grew into something real. The idea of the name Rich Winston came about from my first name, of course, and the Winston part derived from fun nights out with friends when we took on alter-egos. I became Winston and the name became a part of me. I love the name Rich Winston. How do you go about creating your customer’s look? Utilizing geometry and lines when creating shapes on a client, I implement a

look tailored to each person. My process when doing hair is very detailed. I cut a lot of internal texture into the hair when creating a look, “digging” into the hair as some say. Layers should be invisible, they’re there to create movement and volume. I love the art of creating shapes. Everyone has a shape that works for them. What products do you use at your salon? Why? At Rich Winston Salon we strive to be a leader in leaving as little of an environmental footprint as possible. We love Kevin Murphy, a fashionfocused range of hair products, created by an editorial stylist of the same name. The products are made from renewable and sustainable resources, using pure essential oils, plant extracts,

and natural antioxidants. The company is focused on the choices it makes with the environment to ensure no harm is ever done to it, using only recycled plastic and post-consumer paper. They also donate to conservation foundations in effort to lesson our overall global carbon footprint. Can you tell me about the “magazine hair” concept? Ever since I was a child I was inspired by fashion magazines. I wanted to give people that look: glamourous, sexy hair. Who doesn’t want to feel sexy with their look? At Rich Winston Salon there are no typical look books that are flipped through so a client can choose a certain haircut or color. There’s no glamour in any of those catalogs. I want every client to look and feel like they should grace the cover of a fashion magazine.

Do you teach? What are your classes like? I’m part of a small network of global educators for a company called M&M International, the originator of the Brazilian Keratin Treatment. It’s a revolutionary treatment that leaves your hair silky, soft, shiny, and 100% frizz free. The system is a very intricate and detailed service that’s offered at salons that have been through a thorough 3 hour training class only - that is my role. I also work with other companies giving various hair color and cutting classes. What is your best-kept beauty secret? I don’t think there’s many secrets left unspilled out there. The best beauty tip I can offer is to is to keep your hair healthy by using products rich in antioxidants, which allow your hair to absorb moisture. Healthy hair has more shine and movement, and leavein deep conditioning treatments are vital to keeping hair healthy.



YOLO COLORHOUSE is a premium, environmentally responsible paint products with a user-friendly color palette.

What is the most important part in selecting your ingredients? First, we look at what ingredients we can leave OUT, not only do we exclude volatile organic compounds( VOCs), but formaldehyde, anti-freeze (which conventional paint includes), and any carcinogens. When we are selecting ingredients that pass the green screening test, we are also considering how the paint will perform - this is key, it needs to work and be very durable in order to be sustainable. We do not want to compromise performance for being green, and with today’s technology, we don’t have to. We like to say: We are proud of what’s NOT in our paint: NO carcinogens, NO mutagens, NO reproductive toxins, NO formaldehyde, NO hazardous air pollutants, NO phthalates and NO volatile organic compounds. Where does your color inspiration come from? Nature. We designed our Earth’s Color Collection (49 interior hues) from nature and named the colors as such - AIR, GRAIN, LEAF, WATER, STONE, CLAY and PETAL. The Color of Hope palette is a collection of 36 colors designed to energize the human spirit, the family color names are IMAGINE, ASPIRE, THRIVE, DREAM, CREATE and NOURISH. How does Yolo Colorhouse spread good karma? We started YOLO Colorhouse because we saw a need for a safer paint for people and the planet. We like to think we are selling more than just paint - it is a lifestyle that is about creating change in how things are done and it is all about color in your life! How could this not spread good karma??? What in your opinion makes a home? A space that reflects who you are is a true HOME. Could you tell me about an exciting future project you are working on? We are always working on future trend palettes that we release throughout the year - color is never stagnant and is always changing with different combinations. We are working on 2012 palettes, drawing from many visual perspectives - fashion, cinema, advertising, art - all of these mediums are ahead of the home decor/ architectural color trends. What is your motto? We believe the world can be more colorful and less volatile! How do you define balance in life? I’m not sure how to define it, but I know when we have it - it’s when we have time to sit and watch the chickens.

From Janie Lowe and Virginia Young Founders of YOLO Colorhouse

Visions Productivity Solutions


“Do what you love with vision, purpose and action and do it a little better today than you did yesterday.”

Meet Nicole Chamblin professional organizer with the courage to tackle the messes others find invincible. However, there is no strictness in her method: “An organized person or environment isn’t perfect. They don’t have it all together. Everything isn’t always impeccable or in place. What makes an organized person and environment is that there are systems, routines and processes in place that work to get things back in place when life happens.” She also cites a balance between aesthetics and practical-





Imagine, Believe, Decide what you really want.


Consider your options, resources and barriers to success.





Design your systems and gather your tools.

Put your plan into practice.

ity when making decisions for a space in order to guarantee efficiency and beauty, both hallmarks of her trade. This balance is also reflected in her life, where she defines it as “being able to do what I love while spending enough time with the people I love the most” and “inspiring by example to create positive change”. In the spirit of sharing, Nicole agreed to share her 7-step method with Karma Life & Style to help you reorganize your life during this New Year.

Did Nicole’s tips change your life, or do you still need extra help? Contact her here:


Nicole Chamblin






Create order out of chaos.

Keep working the plan until everything flows naturally.

Regroup, evaluate and synchronize each step of the way to make sure your actions match your vision and plan.





Here’s a little perspective on what KarmaFree Cooking is all about…

y name is Madelyn and I want to welcome you to the delicious world of KarmaFree Cooking in Karma Life & Style. This is a scrumptious place where we will enjoy everything and anything about the food we eat while staying in harmony with the environment and our spirituality. Now, I’d like to give you a little perspective of what KarmaFree Cooking is all about.

Are you familiar with the Law of Cause and Effect? It says that for every action there’s a reaction of equal and proportionate value. That’s just another name for the Law of Karma. Everything we do, say or think has karmic value attached to it. Positive actions, words and thoughts have a positive effect on ourselves and the world around us. Negative actions, words and thoughts have a negative effect on our lives as well. To be successful in life – in every aspect of it – we should have accumulated more positive energy than negative energy. It’s that simple. This is what KarmaFree means: it’s free of negative Karma and full of the positive vibes we so need and deserve. KarmaFree Cooking wants to be your guide when making better choices regarding your diet. This will have a cumulative positive effect in your health, your weight, your attitude and all other aspects of your life. I am a vegetarian, but you don’t have to be one to enjoy KarmaFree Cooking. Through this medium I’ll share my ideas and experiences on how leading a healthier lifestyle will benefit you and entice your taste buds at the same time. A little bit about me…


I am a lacto-vegetarian living in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I became a vegetarian after I started to practice Yoga seriously about 10+ years ago, even though I’d never even considered becoming a vegetarian before then. Through my journey I have seen and felt how being a vegetarian has benefited me greatly, and I want to share this. Unfortunately, vegetarian cooking has such a bad rep, especially here in Puerto Rico. People associate vegetarian foods with just salads or bland unappetizing cooking, when that couldn’t be farther away from reality.Since I became a vegetarian I have learned to prepare delicious veggie-full foods, developing my own recipes or adapting them from famous chefs and popular magazines. I have learned where to shop and what to shop for in order to maintain my healthy lifestyle. Everything I’ll share with you is based on personal experience. I am not a chef or nutritionist: my knowledge comes from my constant search on how to maintain my healthy lifestyle without the use of animal products, chemical additives, artificial colorants, or harmful preservatives. I am just a vegetarian with a huge appetite for great food and delicious recipes all made with lots of care and love. I would like to make this space as interactive as possible, so please share with us your comments, thoughts or ideas.We love to hear from you and be able to answer all your inquiries and satisfy your cravings in each edition of Karma Life & Style. Hope you enjoy our ride!

The vegeterian alternative to chocolate.


more than just



are good products out there like: Carob Bars, I hocolate has undoubtedly become the star get these bars every time we travel to NYC, and of any Valentine’s Day celebration. It’s beyou can find them in most health food stores. come a symbol of sweetness and love all Their taste resembles bittersweet dark chocolate around the world. However, what would because of their slightly bitter aftertaste. They’re happen if one day you were not able to exthe perfect substitute to your favorite candy bar press your undying love for someone through - my mom buys them by the dozen every time chocolate?Many people consider chocolate a we find them. vegetarian food, and in fact, Carob Chips, I use these carob it is, because it comes from Chocolate has undoubtchips from Chatfield’s in my regua nut. However, just like cofedly become the star lar chocolate chip cookie recipe fee, chocolate contains high and I can’t tell the difference. I levels of caffeine, a stimulant of any Valentine’s Day that affects your nerves and celebration. It’s become also use them the same way you would use chocolate chips in recirritates the digestive sysa symbol of sweetness ipes like my Brown Rice Krispies tem. I myself am a self-proand love all around the Treats, which you can find in this claimed chocoholic, so when world. However, what section. Carob Powder, Carob, I had to give up chocolate, I thought my world would end! would happen if one day also available in both bar and powder form, makes a very deIt was a long time ago and it you were not able to exlicious caffeine-free alternative had nothing to do with bepress your undying love to hot chocolate. And because ing vegetarian: I had to steer carob is a bit bitter it resembles away from chocolate be- for someone through the bitter bar chocolate used to cause of its caffeine content. chocolate? make hot chocolate from scratch. But then… Carob entered my I have also used it on cake and life. Because a world withbrownie recipes and it’s amazing. The point of out something chocolaty would be like a day this article? That there’s no need to deprive without sun, wouldn’t it? I ‘ll be honest with yourself of chocolate-tasting desserts when you - if it doesn’t taste similar or better than there’s carob around. Even if you still dream of a the real thing, I won’t eat it. Trust me, there Hershey’s Kiss on your lips. I know the feeling…



ORGANICA YOGURT 100% natural yogurt

“I’m not alone in this...I’ve been lucky to have people who support me selflessly. That’s really important for any person who wants to develop an idea.”


“Our philosophy is to always offer products that are natural and nutritious. We want to nourish the people!” How was Orgánica Yogurt born? What inspired you? Orgánica started when I was 23. At that moment I was studying Exercise Sciences at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón and worked as a personal trainer. My own clients helped me develop the idea. I have always been surrounded by wellness, nature, exercise: a healthy lifestyle. During a trip to New York City I went into a Health Food establishment that made me wonder what it would be like to create my own natural product back at home. So the first thing I did when I returned to Puerto Rico was research. I read endlessly about fermentation, milk, yogurt - and created my first product, the strawberry flavored one. Do you have a motto? What is it? What has always led me to accomplish things: one step at a time. You have to wake up in the morning and think “What am I going to do today in order to achieve my dreams?” Do you feel you inspire others with your work? I think so. When we offer our products to small businesses we inspire them to move ahead and grow. Many of my clients are young entrepreneurs like me, so we inspire each other, in a way. I know that they benefit from selling my product, and that way we all grow. How do you define healthy eating? Eating organic is about eliminating any chemically processed items from your diet. For example, think of a fruit, which is a lot less modified than, say, pasta. Many of the foods we buy are so processed that they have to artificially add in more vitamins and minerals because otherwise you’d have a dead product that won’t nourish you. Organic foods are healthy from the start, protected from the source to make sure you receive all the nutrients. A good diet should have whole wheat, lots of fiber, and it should respond to your body’s specific needs. Even though I understand the vegan lifestyle, I don’t like completely elimi-

Antonio Castro went from personal trainer to food industry entrepreneur and he’s not done just yet.

nating meat because the body needs those proteins and fats that are only present in meat. Good fats, like the ones you find in fish and linseed, aren’t saturated. And of course, I have to mention exercise. The body needs exercise in order to properly absorb the nutrients and process the foods we put into it.

my first flavor (strawberry) to my last (chocolate), clients have responded very well. We started out producing 15 units per week and now we produce 10,000 units monthly. We have around 50 clients all over the island, even as far as Rincón. They’ve all been great, really.

So, why yogurt? That brings us back to my trip to NYC. When I entered that Health Food store all the employees were doing everything naturally, fresh. They were chopping carrots and fruits, churning them into products and packaging them right there. I looked at a refrigerator and saw some yogurt cups that looked good and thought to myself: “I want to make that product, that’s what I want to do” because it’s an extremely healthy thing that I’ve always liked. When I arrived in Puerto Rico I had no idea how to make it, so I burnt a lot of pots and milk.

How is your product different from any other in the market? Our product does not include any kind of preservatives or additives to make it last longer. Our philosophy is to always offer products that are natural and nutritious. We want to nourish the people! We also treat our employees with care and respect.

Did you encounter many challenges when developing your business here in the island? How did the public receive your product? When you talk to me about that I just think of all the times I have had to go to a government office and my life has been made that much difficult. Because of the economic situation, most of the agencies have less workers but much more work. I would bet that there are a bunch of business owners who stop doing what they do because of this. But all in all it just motivates me to encounter a problem and face it successfully. Another obstacle in my way has been keeping my products in top quality. Thank God we’ve never had any major setbacks, but it’s difficult because any type of change in the temperature or the acidity can change the flavor of the product. Reception, however, has been excellent. From

Where do you obtain the ingredients you use in your yogurt? Many of the fruits are organic-grown by local farmers, like the papaya. I try to help move the island’s economy because we really need that. The cocoa we use is Fair Trade. We get it through La Chiwinha, a Fair Trade

shop here in Río Piedras. I think they ship it in from Guatemala. What’s your most popular flavor? Which is your favourite? Strawberry is the most popular. Then oatmeal, and then mango. My favorite is coffee. I’m a big coffee lover and that one is made with local coffee from Jayuya. It’s really good, and I like supporting local coffee plantations. Sometimes we underestimate our own coffee but it’s unadulterated, really pure coffee that is toasted and ground in the same place, so I buy it fresh. Here we strain it and put it into the yogurt, there’s no coffee flavoring or anything like that in our yogurt. I think it’s a really special product. What does your company do to reduce its impact on the environment? We’re changing the plastic we use in our cups to a biodegradable one. We also give talks and workshops about recycling. The last one was at the Museo del Niño and we taught the kids to make a small vegetable garden with leftover yogurt cups. That way we plant the seed of recycling in the minds of young children. What goals have you set for Orgánica in the future? First, to reach the entire island with our products through big chain supermarkets. We also just developed a smaller, more cost-effective product. Another goal is to export our product, specifically to Latin America where people eat a lot of yogurt. We also want to expand to other foods in the long term, even vegetables, healthy products that we can obtain from local farmers and market under the Orgánica brand. Talk to us about Nola. That product is a completely natural and or-

ganic granola bar that we’re developing. It has flax and sesame seeds, almonds, black sugar and honey, a very delicious and nutritious food. It also has almost all the calcium you need in a day. It’s a product that stays well-preserved, so it will be great for exporting. That sounds so yummy! Can you tell me something about your company that you have not told another publication? I’m not alone in this. I have a group of friends, some who have been with me since I first told them about my idea, and I’ve been lucky to have people who support me selflessly. I have only about four friends, but they’re always there for me. That’s really important for any person who wants to develop an idea.




The Studio Image: Sara DĂ­az-Velarde

THE STUDIO is a comfort zone dedicated to fitness and exercise focused on preserving and toning muscle mass, increasing flexibility and disconnecting from the world outside in order to connect with your body.

What makes In Studio unique in its training process?

How do you define balance in life?

I believe during my 10 years of practice I have developed various routines on the Pilates reformer equipment that are designed to be carried out by any person, of any age, in fair to strong physical condition. Each exercise can be modified according to the client’s strength and flexibility without breaking the flow of the class. Sporadic private sessions are encouraged for personalized variations, corrections and perfecting technique.

I define my life balance by living to the fullest in all aspects. It’s not a balance per se, since there is no good and no bad, it’s taking every opportunity offered to develop your self in the best way possible, being the best person you can be to those around you. When you live your life in a positive way, life offers you the chance to see how fun it can be. The more you work, the more you can play:  life has an immense amount of fun to even out the tough parts of life.

Do you have a special viewpoint on energy? What does energy mean to you?

How do you spread good karma in your daily living?

My special viewpoint on energy is that as all the important things in LiFe it should be kept guarded, protected. Energy for me is what you project out of you. Being a certain look, a smile, a touch, a word … you give out energy and you assimilate it into your body from others and from the world around you. There’s positive energy and negative energy. I believe positive or good energy is a calmed mind, a certainty of the correctness of your actions. When you are at ease with yourself you replenish your energy resources.


I think karma is very closely tied to energy. Karma also projects out of your persona through different actions. Karma is co-relation of the things you do in your life and how your life shapes overtime based on those actions. To keep my Karma intact I try to keep a “closed circle LiFe”. I stay out of other’s people’s business as I expect people to stay out of my life. I live surrounded by my family. I stay away from negative people, those people that never have anything good to say. I do good and I keep to myself. I protect my Karma!

THE STUDIO • 787.366.6022 •

How do you motivate others? I motivate others through the relationship we develop as client-teacher overtime. Since THE STUDIO is so small and private, most of my clients have been with me over 5 years, a great amount of them over 8 years. So I know how to motivate each one of them a different way depending on their personality. Again, it’s all about personalized business. ONE ON ONE! Friendship is KEY! What is a future project you are excited to develop? After ten years of operation in the same location, THE STUDIO is downsizing and moving into my home. I am offering more hours, in an even more private environment. Private, semi-privates and three client reformer classes will be offered from a beautiful cozy home studio, where focus will be on personalization of exercises. Cross training routines in and out of the reformer, the introduction of new disciplines and orientation about nutrition will be offered. I have found my niche, my friends, my followers ;)


Image: Sara DĂ­az-Velarde






Karma Life & Style Magazine Issue No. 1  

January - February 2012

Karma Life & Style Magazine Issue No. 1  

January - February 2012