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The Fun Issue

Swap it Forward with Stefanie

Johnson

BE KIND (14) • GROW THINGS (46) • LOOK WITHIN (86)


Become a Regular! Subscribe for Perks.* Share for Good Feelings. *Details at bit.ly/TPYandyou


We believe in choosing, embracing, unleashing, and celebrating who you've always been – who you already are – who you want to be.

Be YOU...the Perpetual You.


THE

L ET T ER from our ED I T O R

THE CORRECTION The May editor's letter photo was incorrectly attributed. Photo was courtesy of @cateclother.

THE OFFICE The Perpetual You 101 Putnam Ave. Hamden, CT 06517

W

hen I think about kindness, I get excited. And when I think about the long-lasting and far-

reaching effects a SINGLE act of kindness can have, I get downright giddy. Maybe it's the control freak in me? But wow. A single act of kindness can: • Brighten the day of a stranger (who

T H E C O M MU N I T Y Look for us on social media @theperpetualyou.

may then go on to brighten someone else's day) • Bring you Joy (raising the odds that you'll positively affect someone else's day)

THE SOCIETY Meet like-minded women in our private FB group, The Perpetual You Society.

• Influence a passer-by (who may then go on to brighten someone else's day) • Elevate the vibration of the Universe (no joke!) I, love, too that kindness has so many facets (read: applications). We can be kind to the

THE STOCKISTS You can pick up a print copy of our magazine at the following shops: Lovet Shop Milford, CT ShopLovet.com Dwell New Haven, CT DwellNewHaven.com

EARTH, we can be kind to our NEIGHBORS, we can be kind to our SELVES. And, yes, we can be kind to strangers too. One of my favorite acts of kindness is simply to pick up trash off the sidewalk – and I invite my children to help out – because this activity, like all kindness, brings immediate good vibes. You physically see that the ground looks prettier. You know in your soul that the Earth is happier. And you might have a little fun along the way. Still, kindness isn't as simple as I make it out to be; thus, the necessity for this issue. Kindness can mean getting dirty or getting out of our comfort zone. Kindness can mean standing alone or standing out—while you stand for what you believe in. Kindness feels odd because our world is so dang mean. My mom always told me if I felt too dressed up for a party, it was the actually that everyone else hadn't dressed up enough. Well, guess what? If you feel weird being kind—you're not the one with the hang-up! They are.

THE S U B S C R I P T I O N

(And you're in good company cuz me & my kiddos are right there with you!)

Sign up for our PRINT magazine at bit.ly/TPYandyou.

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU

lee lee Creative Director & Managing Editor @wordsbyleelee


A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.

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P H O T O by P A U L A A T H A N S , @ C R A S H 3 3 2 8

– AMELIA EARHART


P H O T O by @ J O A N N A _ F I S H E R

FIND US @THEPERPETUALYOU

IN THIS ISSUE

Create Fun by Unleashing Kindness M O N T H LY M US I C

Inspire random love, with our "Keep Kindness Close" playlist. Listen at bit.ly/TPYmusic. T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


Unleash

61

Unleash your true self—including your inner sense of style and deepest held values—with Stylist & Clothing Revitalist, Stefanie Johnson of Swap-It. P H O T O G R A P H E D by A M A N DA L U I S A N I C A S T R O

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Realize Undo old habits and replace them with

14

compassion and service; unlearn old viewpoints and reframe them with thoughtfulness and responsibility.

Lifestyle Practice Kindness........................................... 14 Be Responsible............................................... 30 Style................................................................ 31

TPY Faves Books ............................................................. 17 Food .............................................................. 18

30

Cocktail.......................................................... 20 Movement ...................................................... 22 Self-Care......................................................... 36

31

Plus Shop Simply & Consciously with @thelovetshop

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU

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Dwell Unearth your passion for living naturally. Incorporate LIFE into your home, whether flowers from the garden, treasures from nature, or beloved accessories from around your own home.

Design Arrange Flowers............................................... 40 Shop Your Home................................................ 42 Live in Nature................................................... 46

46

86

Live Understand the past, so that you can usher in new feelings—hope and hospitality and healing—to support the lifestyle you desire and deserve.

Mindset Love Your Body.............................................. 76 Get to Know Your Neighbors........................ 80 Heal from the Past......................................... 86

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FIND US @THEPERPETUALYOU

T H E MA K ERS

Our makers consistently share their time & talents. We'd love to introduce you to the lovely ladies who contributed to this month's issue.

Amanda Luisa

Allie

Cover Photography

Dwell Feature Photographer

@amandaluisaart mandaluisa.com

@alliedearie alliedeariephotography.com

Amanda is a photographer and artist specializing in portrait,

Allie Dearie is a photographer based in southern

wedding, and lifestyle photography. She grew up in central

New England, who specializes in weddings and

MA and recently moved to CT. She loves helping people

elopements, as well as product and event photography.

create memories by capturing authentic, natural moments

One of her dreams is to photograph all 59 National

and personalities and celebrating real moments in every day

Parks in the US. In the rare moments that she's not

life. This is Amanda's 4th cover shoot for The Perpetual You.

holding a camera, she's either sipping a cappuccino while hand-lettering, planning her next adventure, or snuggling as many cats as possible. This is Allie's second collaboration with The Perpetual You.

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


Jessie

P.K.

Roopa

Art Director

Proofreader

Intern

@littlelegendsdesign littlelegends.com

Connect on Facebook

Connect on Facebook

Cat

Taylor

Krystal

Content Editor

Brand Liaison

Mantra Siren

@catballou24 amlofarms.com

@studio.ontheland studioontheland.com

@krystalbrandt krystalbrandt.com

Paula

Lisa

Kelly

Collaborating Photographer

Collaborating Photographer

Collaborating Photographer

@crash3328

@right_click_photo rightclickphoto.com

@kfpphotography kellyfpeterson.com

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Ann Marie

Michele

Cate

Collaborating Artist

Collaborating Artist

Art Liaison

@annmariedrury_artist annmariedruryart.com

@msddesign michelestarzec.com

@cateclother Cordella.org

Calling all Creative Ladies! TPY collaborates with artists, photographers, writers, and more. Visit bit.ly/TPYcollab for current opportunities!

Let me help your brand

Words by Lee Lee

Branding & Graphic Design for Passionate Business Owners.

Values-Based Copywriting for Cause-Based Businesses.

Let's start a conversation! j@createlittlelegends.com

wordsbylee@gmail.com

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


to align your daily practices with your ever-evolving desires


A R T W O R K by @ M S D D E S I G N


P A I N T I N G by K A T I E M C C R A C K E N

REALIZE

THE LA DY

Mother Theresa Mother Teresa, a Roman Catholic nun, received the Nobel Peace Prize for “work undertaken to overcome poverty and distress.” When asked, “What can we do to promote world peace?” She answered, “Go home and love your family.” Teresa believed that love was the answer for peace in the world and that universal kindness started at home.

W O R D S by P. K . M C G I L L

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I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. – MAYA ANGELOU

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


REALIZE

UNLEASH

Compassion with

Cindy Cuadra

If we treat kindness as a norm rather than a rarity, we can turn our insticts of basic human decency into a practice of compassion.

D

uring my college years, I worked my way through many jobs to have a steady income of my own and gain experience of hard-earned labor. Working in the retail

industry was one of the best ways to get by with such a hectic school schedule. Working for a department store for four years taught me so much about humanity and empathy; however my

W H AT D O E S K I N D N E S S E N TA I L ? To grasp what kindness really means and how to create a habit of kindness, it’s important to remember these three things: • Kindness is contagious.

biggest takeaway was my perception of kindness.

• Kindness can create a fun ambiance.

After a long work day, I once had a customer who I assumed

• Kindness takes practice.

was not having a very good day. At first, I felt her to be cold and unfriendly. Like any other day, I put a smile on my face and did my job. As I rung up her things, I started conversation with her by asking if all these clothes were for her. She responded a dry ‘no’. I proceeded to compliment her choice of purchases—and, as I was speaking to her, she started to sob and thanked me. I asked her if she was okay or if I had said anything wrong. She then explained how relieved she was that I liked her purchases because she was

KINDNESS BREEDS KINDNESS. I’ve asked many women in my community how they have created a habit of kindness in their own lives. Here are the most common answers I received: • I practice doing unto others as they have done unto me. • I pay it forward when I can.

buying them for her daughter, a recovering breast cancer patient who was the same age as me.

• I count my blessings and help those who aren’t as lucky.

Knowing I made the choice to be kind even when I didn’t have to

Acts of kindness—whether habitual or random—affects the moods

be felt so rewarding. Still, after many years of working with so

of the people in your life, and also deepens the well of goodness

many different people (some who were not so nice), I learned that

in your soul.

kindness is a practice: a skill that takes tremendous patience. And, frankly, it’s often a challenge.

continued on next page

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Understand: Creating a habit of kindness in our everyday lives takes a conscious effort. After all, society molded our culture through individualistic standards. Prioritizing kindness in our daily lives can open up our hearts to more compassion and empathy and less judgement and criticism.

KINDNESS IS FUN. How can kindness create a space of fun? What can be

Reflect + Release The following prompts will help you spread kindness into your world and create a space of fun! Take 10 minutes to think about and respond to one or both of the following questions: •

List 5 acts of kindness you’ve experienced within the last couple of weeks. (If you have not reached 5, list as many as you can and keep this list on your person to continue adding on through the rest of the week)

List 5-8 acts of kindness that you can do for you or someone else this week to pay it forward. Think of the people in your everyday life and start from there.

done to have fun while helping others? Things like… • Going to a charity event (a walk, a 5k, or a ball) • Helping others in the workplace work together • Compliment a total stranger • Checking in with yourself • Teaching others about being kind • Active listening

Choose to be kind when it’s not the easy choice to make. Saturate others with kindness. Your character and personal growth will be nurtured when you set aside

The habit of kindness is cultivated and perfected over

your own discomfort or bad mood, and unleash kindness

time. Kindness is like a wildfire that can be taught and

and compassion.

passed on the more you spread it, so making kindness a priority in our everyday lives can influence others to do so. Make someone's day, whether it’s complimenting your local barista, or just holding the door for a total stranger. Compassion and kindness is in the details. T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU

Cindy Cuadra is a clinician for children and families at a non-profit organization in Miami where she teaches parents and children the importance of bonding, communication, and self-soothing. Connect with her @CindyCuadra on Facebook. Photos by Jacqui Depas, @byjacquiphoto


R E V I E W S & P H O T O by @ C A T B A L L O U 2 4

U N L EA S H PO S I T I V I T Y

Bossypants

Dare to Be Kind

How To Save A Life

by Tina Fey, Pub 2011

by Lizzie Velasquez, Pub 2018

by Sara Zarr, 2012

This collection of autobiographical essays

Dare To Be Kind isn’t so much a self-help

Beautiful and humorous, How to Save a

proves once and for all that pretty is nowhere

book as it is a manual for creating a “culture

Life is written with unbelievable depth and

near as important as funny, and funny

of kindness.” By revealing the hidden forces

authenticity. Zarr's characters learn the art of

doesn't work without that rare balance of

that give rise to self-doubt, shame, and

compassion through their struggles and inspire

truth and heart. Through a blend of humor,

cruelty, Velasquez empowers us to redirect

each other to look towards brighter futures.

introspection, and critical thinking, Fey

these forces to unlock empathy and kindness

Anyone who's been shocked by her mother

presents us with anarchic, hilarious essays

for ourselves and others. Most inspiring is

will identify with Jill McSweeney's dilemma,

that are part memoir, part masterpiece—and

Velasquez's own story, and how she learned

and we can all learn from how she finds hope

all fun.

to overcome obstacles and move forward with

despite the intensely personal situation she

greater positivity.

finds herself in.

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T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


REALIZE

UNLEASH

Generosity with

Julia Grimaldi

Feeding others allows us to authentically give and receive love.

T

he kitchen is a naturally expansive space, where

Generosity is an opportunity for us to serve others in a simple—

kindness and fun can be unleashed. When we cook from

yet meaningful—way. Whether we lovingly make lunches for our

the heart for those we love, we swing the balance of the

kids every single day, drop off cookies to an elderly neighbor

world just a little bit more to the side of kindness. The potential

once a week, volunteer monthly at a community soup kitchen,

for fun increases when we commit to bringing about goodness in

or randomly pay for someone's coffee, we will feel heathier and

our communities.

happier. Now that's something to smile about.

The practice of giving back and showing kindness has noted health benefits, from bringing happiness and fulfillment to building relationships. When we are generous, we feel more grateful and appreciative for what we have, which creates positive energy that is often contagious!

Julia is a food coach & personal chef. Learn more about her at CoachJuliaG.com.

Photo by Kelly Peterson, @kfpphotography

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T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


REALIZE

Lavender Gin Cocktail with

Crystal Cathcart

An artisan cocktail can bring energy or reward effort.

A wonderful quality of gin drinks is the ability to mingle with nature. Refreshing and crisp, gin cocktails offer the flexibility to walk out in the garden and create a range of tasty drinks with herbs sourced straight from the backyard. A friend to citrus, gin comes to life when mixed with energizing (in season!) fruits such as grapefruit or lemon. Toss in a twig of thyme or rosemary and the botanic qualities of gin are instantly enhanced. Like birds chirping in the morning or a flower sprouting through soil, a lavender gin cocktail offers a refreshing opportunity to relish all that we love about our natural world. Treat yourself with this light, flavorful cocktail after toiling on the yard, volunteering in your community, or after a long hard day of immense selfcare. *wink wink*

Imbibe more of Crystal’s cocktail sensibilities on Instagram @paisleyrosie. Photo by Life Unstill Photography @lifeunstill

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REALIZE

Unleash Mobility with

Shana Schneider

Your body is built to move and stretch, so taking a walk is an act of kindness towards yourself. What a great reason to walk!

Also, walks can be fun. Even more so when you add an external act of kindness like… • Inviting a friend that could use a pick-me-up and sharing the experience of feeling the breeze on your faces and time to talk with no technological distractions. • Bringing along your neighbor’s kids so she can have an hour of me time, and you get to indulge your childlike curiosity. • Going on or organizing a neighborhood trash pickup / walk. The earth will thank you and so will your thighs: bending down to pick up trash is a fun way to do squats! By spending time outdoors taking a walk, you’ll find energy that you didn’t know you had. As you look around, you may even find a treasure: a penny for good luck, a souvenir from nature, or something much more priceless—fond memories or deepened friendships. How will you ramp up the fun factor on your next walk?

Learn to Fit Style your life by following Shana on Instagram @fitstylebyshana. Photo by Kelly Peterson, @kfpphotography T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


Bringing you closer to nature davinejewelry.com

Sleepwear for a Cause mct-usa.org

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REALIZE

From Top to Bottom: BRASS ON SILVER CHAIN ($58) by Kate Stephen Jewelry ∙ COTTON SHAWL ($28) from Look by M ∙ RAYON KNIT DRESS ($38) from Double Zero ∙ HANDMADE LEATHER CLUTCH ($82) from Songbird Sewing Co. T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


Left: EARRINGS, ($35) by Sarah Briggs Right: SERENITY CANDLE (9 oz, $20) from Rayne Home Decor ∙ REFRESH SPRAY ($18) from Open Heart Apothecary ∙ UPLIFTING ESSENTIAL OIL ROLL ($24) from Spoiled LLC

Unleash Eco-Morality Living (and shopping!) with the environment in mind brings an infinite supply of warm, fuzzy feelings. Good for you! You've decided to "go green"—but what does this really mean? Is it time to dump out everything you own and start anew? Thankfully, no! Rather than jumping in cannonball-style, take small steps toward your new lifestyle. Start with the simplest changes you can make: instead of buying new, use up anything you already own; when you are ready to buy, choose something that renews or can be re-used. Our favorite way to shop consciously? Buy something handmade from a maker that you love, which has the added benefit of reducing your exposure to harmful toxins found in many over-the-counter or fast fashion products. If you can find a nearby shop in which to purchase these handmade beauties, then you're in for an even bigger benefit—a relationship with the woman or women behind the store. We’re pleased to feature products by Lovet Shop (@thelovetshop) in Milford, CT. Shop owner, Tracy Bonosconi curates a lovely space to house her favorite eco-fashion and small batch brands. She's also been a supporter of our print magazine since the very first issue: we're honored to have her in our tribe!

Lovet Shop All products available for purchase at The Lovet Shop,

Photos by Lisa Nichols, @right_click_photo

ShopLovet.com

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A D V ERT I S EMEN T

Unleash Love The Love Tribe Open Hearts Arts Life Center, located in Branford, CT, unites creative souls from Greater New Haven and around the region, to provide a forum for diverse people to express open-hearted connection in community by sharing their artistic gifts, creative responses and authentic life experiences in order to contribute to a more loving world.

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


A D V ERT I S EMEN T

A great many of the problems faced in society can be attributed to a root state of lovelessness. When we do not feel loved – in our homes, our hearts, and our communities – we reduce relationships to transactions. As a result, humanity is diminished: our circles grow smaller and the world’s suffering increases. The Love Tribe, founded in 2012, repeats the simple act of one open heart calling out to another—to remain open no matter what. Members make art and music together, do wellness practices together, and use social media to express joyful connection. By further aligning these open hearts, a loving force for good is being exponentially unleashed. With the help and support of members and community, Love Tribe is addressing problems plaguing our society through creativity, inclusiveness and real, open expressions of love.

WORKSHOP LEADERS & WELLNESS INSTRUCTORS WANTED! To help us develop a sustainable mix of integrated programming, email salnunz@me.com.

• Mindful Movement Classes • Open Mic Nights • Art Exhibitions • Live Comedy • Tai Chi, Reiki, Drumming • Holistic Healing Workshops • Potluck Socials • Youth Community Service programs • And much more OPEN HEARTS LOVE TRIBE 1008 Main Street Branford, CT 06405 (203) 627-5212 www.lovetribecenter.com @lovetribecenter on Facebook Sal Annunziato, Founder

Photos by Lisa Nichols @right_click_photo

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REALIZE

Unleash Responsibility with

Leigh Schwab

Our daily choices can lessen the burden we place on others and the environment.

W

e live in such an instant gratification world,

us, and for Mother Earth. Buying products with glass

where "giving back" is still a novel concept. Still,

packaging or responsibly sourced ingredients can connect

there are plenty of environmentally conscious

us to the earth AND the people who make our products.

companies out there that are proving social justice can be beautiful. In fact, transitioning to clean beauty has really

When I purchase from a company that's concerned with

shaped the way I view the world and my place within it.

more than their bottom line, I know I'm doing my part to

Choosing products that contribute to helping people or

means stepping back from our personal lives and all the

taking care of the environment creates a sense of wellbeing,

social media happenings to think about the bigger picture—

purpose, and responsibility—for ourselves, for those around

and it's more than worth the effort.

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU

bring more kindness into the world. Being responsible


BeYOUtiful

1

There are countless ways you can indulge in clean beauty, whether you purchase from a company that gives back to others in need or you concern yourself with packaging, ingredients, or company policies. The following are some of my faves in the Green Beauty industry:

1

Give Back This roll-on eye serum is the definition of luxurious. The Eye Achiever brightens, smooths, and diminishes the look of dark circles in one swipe. As a bonus, the company donates a portion of its net profits to help build farms and schools in the Mayan communities from which they source their ingredients. Leigh recommends...

Maya Chia Eye Achiever Serum ($70)

2

2

Go Green Sustainability is a major focus in green beauty and Osea does this by using scuba divers to collect their ingredients without disturbing the natural ecosystem. Their Ocean Cleanser uses algae as a main ingredient and is packaged in a glass bottle—a win-win for the environment and the consumer! Leigh recommends...

OSEA Ocean Cleanser ($44)

3

Read the Label After discovering that their daughter had a rare genetic disorder the founders of Innersense were told by a counselor to trust their "inner sense" and thus a brand was formed. With a commitment to ingredient transparency, they focus on customers, environment, and quality.

3

Leigh recommends...

Innersense I Create Lift Volumizing Foam ($28)

Leigh Schwab uses her love for skin care to help educate women about the ingredients in their products and the need for proper skin care legislation in our country. Learn more about her passion for a healthy and simple life on Facebook and Instagram @leighschwab. Main Photo by Michelle Turek, @michelleturekphotography

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Make kindness your daily modus operandi.. – AN N I E L EN N O X

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


REALIZE

Unleash Simplicity The FUN ISSU E

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Hey there, Dreamer. We see you longing for the good life, the life of simplicity. Guess what? Simple living is possible—not in one fell swoop or because of one monumental decision, but because of small choices in our daily lives. Deciding to wear something simply made: handcrafted from organic ingredients. Choosing to keep things basic for a day, or a year. Searching your inner desires and removing the layers of stuff that no longer seem fun—that haven't seemed fun in ages. Intending to consume less and create more. Playing small, living simply, and dreaming substantially.

THE CAPPED SLEEVE TOP in Indigo ($88) THE SKIRTED WIDE LEG DRAWSTRING PANT in Acorn ($138)

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


Bohemian Folk creates organic basics: wardrobe staples designed to be mixed, matched, and layered. No patterns. No prints. No fuss. No hassle. Just everyday essentials, made with love in Chicago, from the most sustainable fibers and dyes on the planet.

THE SLEEVELESS BABYDOLL DRESS in Earthen Red ($108) THE CROPPED LEGGING in Midnight ($74)

Credits

On p. 31

FEATURED BR AND: Bohemian Folk ∙ bohemianfolkclothing.com

THE SHORT SLEEVE WR AP TOP in Rhubarb ($74)

MODEL: Morgan Reesh ∙ @morganreesh

THE TANK TOP in Beet ($62)

PHOTOGR APHER: Cindy Fandl ∙ @cindyfandlphotography

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REALIZE

P E R SP ECT I V ES from T H E PA N EL

Q

What's your favorite "random act of kindness"?

I was sitting in the lobby of a My favorite act of kindness is

After earning a degree in

hospital, waiting to be called

Holistic Nutrition, I decided

for a test, and my son, 6 years

paying for the person behind

old at the time, came up to me

you in the drive-thru lane. You

for underserved populations

and asked if he could give his

never know how much it will

in our community: homeless

money to the hospital to help

mean to someone else if you

veterans, at risk adolescent

people with cancer. He came

"pay it forward" and cover their

girls, and low-income housing

up with the idea himself. He

coffee or meal, and I've even

to do primarily pro bono work

residents. I hope that at each

went up to the woman at the

begun to do this going through

session the participants learned

front of the lobby. I sat back,

toll-booths. Waiting in line is

something about themselves

watched, and tried not to

often stressful; the surprise

cry, as he gave her 90 cents.

of having the person in front

I learned and got more from

A smile came over her face.

of you pay feels like pure joy,

them than I ever felt I gave.

Now 13, he's as sweet as ever.

to receive as well as to give.

Diane

Laura

Alyson

Poet, Scholar

Counselor, Art Therapist

Energy Medicine Yoga Teacher

@DiLo922

@forwardemotion forwardemotion.com

@healthscalling healthscalling.com

and their health. I KNOW that

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


P H O T O by P A U L A A T H A N S @ C R A S H 3 3 2 8

Random acts of kindness are a With clients that have

beautiful way to make someone

experienced the loss of a loved

else's day just a little brighter. I

A smile. A smile is the simplest

one, I complete a random act

do love the simple acts of paying

and easiest act to do...in the line

of kindness in honor of their

for someone's coffee or paying

at the grocery store, as you greet

loved one. I choose the act based

the toll for the person behind

another person, when another

on the interests or areas of

you. In our home, we like to

person needs a pick me up or

importance of the person who

write sweet notes on Post-Its

when you're wanting to express

died or my client. One particular

and hide them for our family to

a form of gratitude by putting

act I enjoyed was selecting a

find as a surprise. Any time you

on a big smile. It's so contagious

number of children's books and

can make someone else smile

and makes a huge difference in

donating them to a local library.

is the perfect act of kindness.

someone's day.

Julie

Jen

Joanne

Counselor, Art Therapist

Yoga Teacher

Raw Food Chef & Teacher

@ChartreuseCenter ChartreuseCenter.com

@joyfuljenyoga joyfuljenyoga.com

@rawfoodjo rawjo.com

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REALIZE

June Self-Care Experience FUN. Ignore the pressure

to have picture-worthy "perfect" fun and allow fun to happen spontaneously and with ease. No documentation necessary.

Invite FUN. Hike on a new trail. Go to

an event. Volunteer and share kindness in your community. Join a meet-up group. Meeting new people invites new ways of being.

UN L EA S H S PO N TA N EI T Y

Close your eyes and ask yourself: When was the last time I let myself have unbridled, spontaneous fun? We're so used to “forced" (or scheduled) fun at work, with children, or in our social circle that we may not remember what spontaneous fun feels like! This month's toolkit will help you remember the fun in spontaneity. Wild Orange is the essence of summertime memories. Mookaite Jasper invites new adventures, and the Goddess Cordelia reminds us to explore. Adding FUN as a 'to do" item on our calendars can reprogram our brains to see fun as an integral part of our lives. Having fun is an act of self-kindness, and spontaneity means more kindness, more often.

E S S E N T I A L O IL

C RYSTAL

GODDES S

PRACT IC E

Wild Orange

Mookaite Jasper

Cordelia

Schedule Fun

BENEFITS

BENEFITS

BENEFIT S

BENEFIT S

Uplifts the mind and body; evokes aliveness!

Encourages versatility and openness to new experiences.

Invites you to find balance by venturing outside.

Reminds you to make having fun a regular part of your life.

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU

T O O L K I T curated by @ LY D I A M A N D E L L , P H O T O by @ K F P P H O T O G R A P H Y


to align your physical space with your ever-evolving self

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A R T W O R K by @ M S D D E S I G N

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


Compost Bin A natural method of developing refuse into lifeenriching compositions

A R T by @ A M A N D A L U I S A A R T

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DWELL

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


Arrange + Rejoice with

Erin Mahollitz

Celebrate Nature’s gifts with a blooming centerpiece. She celebrates the season with a boisterous bouquet

Drawn to the wildness, the children climb onto the table

of wildflowers, a tribute to Summer’s abundance. Her

to see the centerpiece, laughing and joyfully exclaiming

colorful vase overflows with blooms, branches, and

as they discover new shapes, colors and scents.

leaves from neighborhood gardens. She is thankful for a day filled with the kindness of friendship and the generosity of Mother Earth.

Now, the flowers brighten the room and lift the mood, inspiring her to set the table with fancy plates. The children help out by bringing cloth napkins; her partner

Earlier in the day, she had invited her family to take a

selects ingredients for a simple meal. The bouquet has

savoring walk through their community. They stopped

transformed this otherwise routine weeknight meal into

and talked with neighbors. Along the way they accepted

a festivity. The merriment is contagious, and she—like

gifts from the lush gardens. They returned home with

their gathering—is filled with the joy of camaraderie.

full hearts and hands filled with natural treasures. As she mindfully arranged the bouquet, she reflected on the blessings of the season. Each blossom and stem is a reward, a celebration of the magic of soil and rain.

See how Erin embraces the act of homemaking as sacred and feminist on Instagram @magicalhomemaking. Photo by Sarah Ann Fowler, @sarahannfowlerphotography The FUN ISSU E

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T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


DWELL

Cultivated Home, Full Life with

LaToya Burton

Get to know the origins of the objects that have made their way into your home.

T

he Earth kindly provides us with every resource needed to create all the items which make up our homes. From the materials,

to the energy used, to the water flowing through the taps. This knowledge brings consciousness to the impact our choices are having in the short and long term. Curiosity around the life cycle of our possessions brings a more intimate relationship with Mother Earth, who shares so freely. We step into an unfolding story of discovery, as we live more in harmony with the environment.

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Give yourself permission to embark on a treasure hunt for the

doors and frames keeps discarded building elements out of

right pieces for your space, and a deeper layer will evolve. The

the landfill. These pieces can serve as functional items or as

stories behind your design will add dimension to your walls.

statement art.

Search for durable, natural materials from sustainable sources (where the resources are rapidly renewable or consciously

Finally, look to shops you can walk into and small home

harvested); reclaim and reuse where possible.

businesses that may be based in your area. You'll be supporting

Consider starting your furniture quest with secondhand

sourced. You might even make a new friend! Collect special

pieces or antique items you could give a new life. When a

items on your travels and be sure to take note of the tradition

new piece is in order seek out something that is crafted with

behind the piece. At home, mix these treasures with "give back"

care and made to last, perhaps by a local small batch maker.

products that support causes in which you believe.

Even consider foregoing some furniture all together! Placing books, vases, and pictures directly on the floor make for topics

the local economy, and can learn where the materials are

How lovely to know (and be able to share) the story behind the

of conversation.

making of your bedroom curtains, or who hand-stamped the

When it comes to accessories and textiles, mixing the old and

More than mere "background knowledge," these stories bring

new is a wonderful way to reduce consumption. Splurging on

connection to the Earth and to those in our local and global

a one-of-a kind handmade piece will carry over the maker's

communities. As our homes become more cultivated, our lives

unique positive energy into your space. Re-purposing painted

become more full.

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU

patterns on your napkins or embroidered your favorite pillow.


Dwell on This We can return the kindness of Mother Earth by making conscious choices in our home. As you travel this new, sustainable road, be sure to show yourself the same amount of compassion you are showing to the earth and to your community!

1

Go Slow. Making big changes all at once can be overwhelming, so allow yourself to go at your own pace. Choose one design aspect to focus on, or make sustainable choices only as you need to replace things. Over time, making conscious choices in your home decor will come more readily.

2

Go Natural. Using natural cleaning products or making your own from natural ingredients is a very rewarding practice. In general, the less ingredients, the more natural the product is! By the same token, paint, fabrics, and new furniture with low or no VOC's (Volitale Organic Compounds) can be sought out.

3

Go Outside. Consider setting up a system for composting, which means your food scraps will get broken down and their nutrients put back in the Earth. If appropriate, install a worm farm or composting bin in your garden and use the contents to naturally fertilize your veggie patch. An even simpler first step is to add native plants to your garden or home, which are more likely to thrive and often need less maintenance.

LaToya is a mama / imaginer / gypsy nomad who explores life through the lens of interiors imagination and inspiration. She lives on a bus with her husband and son exploring the Australian landscape. For more inspiration, follow her @latoyaburton_musing. Photos by Lindsay Stanford.

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T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


The Joy of

Plants Words by Annya White Photos by Allie Dearie

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DWELL

The older I get the more I understand why my grandmother loved plants so much.

I

grew up in the tropics—Jamaica to be specific—and having plants was just a thing, especially in my yard. Looking back, I realize we actually had more yard

space filled with exotic plants than a house itself. Flowers were everywhere! My grandmother had this special gift of adding more to her collection even if she had no idea where the next one would fit. Plants made her happy. She would sing and talk to them while she watered each plant. My grandmother’s name is Joy, and trust and believe she is a joyful woman! It wasn’t until my adult years that I finally understood her appreciation for Mother Earth’s beautiful gifts.

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When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy, there is always the garden. – MINNIE AUMONIER

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When I was in search of my first home, a yard space was

Each plant tells a story; each one reminds me of something

extremely important to me because something inside me

very specific of my past and I also cherish each one as a part

wanted this joy and serene atmosphere my grandmother had

of my future. My ferns, in particular, take me back to my

created in her yard. Every summer I would switch up the

island home. It was one of my grandmother’s favorite plants,

plants. While annuals are absolutely stunning, I learned really

and out of her entire collection she would always have a

fast that perennials were the way to go if I was going to create

special spot for her ferns only.

my happy place and not go broke.

The living room is the space that mellows me out after a long

Recently, I moved a portion of my plant collection indoors,

day. I have a crazy schedule; between working a full time

mostly to my living room. This was one of the best things I

job, running a business, and raising 2 girls, my plate is full. I

could have done—especially since, here in Connecticut, we

created my living room space as my “fun getaway"—a cozy, yet

only get so much accommodating weather, and the extended

vibrant and fun room I can retreat to at night after everyone

winter months can be gloomy.

is asleep.

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T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


Along with my vibrant design aesthetic, the size of the room (it's small) and budget most influenced my design. I love bright, fun colors, so I am always buying bright décor. The color palette is dictated only by the amount of green plants that are in the room! Bold colors I'm drawn to blend right in with them. My favorite things in the room—including my plants, my embroidered footrest, and my candles—are all so rich in color, which brings me much joy and helps me relax. I am also hugely obsessed with candles and that was one of the reasons I added candles to my line of products. Like my plants, each scent takes me back to a special place and I love when those fond memories linger through the air.

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T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


The living room is the room I have the most fun with, Each season I like to switch things up a bit, even if that's just changing my curtains. I have a remarkable sense of freedom when decorating this room. No design or color scheme is set in stone. I decorate based on my vibe at the time.

Space for You

I remember a few years back I had a lot of aqua blue in my décor, and looking back I was very easy going

A retreat doesn't have to be secluded and boring; you can

then, everything was very “chill.” Now I have children, and my life has changed, it’s busier, higher energy,

connect to your own source of energy in a sacred spot that's

fun, and unexpected. Nothing is “as expected,”

full of character, color, and bold design choices!

yet—in its own way—the room is beautiful. Somehow everything comes together.

1

Keep Trying. If you are wanting to add plants to your interior décor, start small and go with a Pothos, a hearty plant that's very hard to kill. Gardening, even indoors, is about trial and error, so don't be afraid to try, try again.

Along with my living room, my kitchen is one of the most used spaces in my home, especially when we have guests. We recently changed our kitchen nook to something slightly bigger to accommodate family or friends who come over. Instead of squishing into a small space, we can now enjoy each other's company

2

in a comfortable area.

Use faux plants if needed. I love and have tried so often to keep a cactus alive for more than 2 months, but I have zero luck. I finally threw my pride to the side and got a faux cactus. Though Grandma would totally judge me, I have no regrets.

In fact, I hosted my very first essential oils party in my living room. I invited a few friends over and we sipped wine, sniffed oils, and made body scrubs all evening—a fun experience that ignited something special—my business, NaturalAnnie Essentials, which has enabled me to touch so many more lives and meet so many

Go Faux.

3

more people.

Colorize. When in doubt, add a pop of color—especially during the winter months when everything is gray, black, and burgundy. Add colorful textiles to spice things up; if you get tired of the color, they're easy to swap out for something new.

It's been four years since that party, and I often nestle in to my cozy living room, surrounded by my wonderful plants, and smile at how the room has positively affected my life. My living room keeps me grounded, calm, and happy—a setting which means I'm at my best and can give back wholeheartedly.

4

Grandma would be proud.

Born and raised on the beautiful island of Jamaica, Annie is a creative soul, with an eye for all things bright 'n' bold. A plant and wine lover, Annie is a certified Aromatherapist who has a passion for taking nature's most scrumptious ingredients and turning them into divine beauty products you just can't live without. In 2014, she channeled her passion and knowledge for natural remedies into developing her unique brand, NaturalAnnie Essentials. Follow her on Instagram @naturalannieessentials. Photos by Allie Dearie, @alliedearie

Lift the Mood. Uplift your space in seconds by using a candle; pick a scent that excites you or makes you think of a certain time or place in your life when you were happy. A candle in a really pretty container always makes me smile.

5

Be You. When creating your space, only your feelings matter. You are doing this for YOU. I found this neat wall décor/ planter made out of a recycled wine bottle – I love wine and I love plants so this was a must have for me.

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Shop the Look Plants bring color, life, and health benefits—in fact, we can't think of any downsides to adding them to your space. Keep them manageable and sustainable by claiming a corner shelf or hanging one of your own. Oh—and did we mention? You get to buy a few new pots, too!

For a similar look, shop the following suggested products via Etsy's marketplace. HANDCR AFTED WOODEN SIGNS ( from $14.99) via Revelation House ∙ BEAUNE WALL PL ANTER ($37.93) via iirnTree ∙ T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU

SUCCULENT PL ANTER + ARR ANGEMENT ( from $14) by The Simply Good Life


Amber Glass corresponds to Benjamin Moore 1120

Pink Anemone corresponds to Benjamin Moore 2079-30

Bright + Breezy corresponds to Benjamin Moore 2059-40

FRES H + F U N

Eco-Chic corresponds to Benjamin Moore 2029-20

Who said nature-inspired palettes have to be beige and sage?! This bright, botanical collection of colors take nature's bounty and turns it up a notch (okay, maybe two notches!). Ground your space with dark furniture and layer on textiles infused with all your favorite colors—the more the merrier! Green living has never felt so fun. Color Palette is from our Dwell Feature: a bright, plant-filled Living Room. If you already love your living room, try this palette in one of these other spaces:

Creative Workspace

Walk-In Closet

Lustrous

Keep the furniture neutral but polished

Turn your spare bedroom into a walk-in

corresponds to Benjamin Moore 2132-10

and sleek, and then get to shopping: desk

closet you'll want to get lost in, with black

accessories come in a variety of colors & metals;

glossy furniture, metallic lights, and plenty of

choose one color for everything or mix it up

mirrors. The bright colors can come from your

with a broader palette. Finish with a colorful

wardrobe, accessories, textiles, and/or your

throw rug and your favorite coffee mug.

fashion-inspired art.

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P H O T O by A L L I E D E A R I E , @ A L L I E D E A R I E

It is the tiny, particular acts of love and joy which are going to swing the balance. – M ADEL I N E L ' EN G L E


to align your life story with your ever-evolving sense of self


A R T W O R K by @ M S D D E S I G N


T H REE Q U ES T I O N S

with

Stefanie

What's one practice of Kindness you

What's one aspect of your physical space

For you, what is the relationship of

enact in your routine life?

(work or home) that encourages or

Kindness to Fun?

allows Fun? Offering my resources. I am very lucky in my life and I try to share that with others. For example, I'm always inviting other small local businesses to share space in the store. I know it's hard when you start out; someone gave me a hand, so I want to lend a hand as well.

Everything I own for work is fun colors. I never use tan folders or boring sticky notes. Sparkles is just something that always makes me feel like I'm at a party. We also have a big colored disco ball for when the story really is a party locale.

Kindness always leads to fun. When doing something kind for others—whether volunteering, giving a gift or just holding a door open—I have a good feeling while doing it, and that usually includes happiness and fun. When I do something nice, it often leads to a laugh, a good story, or a new friend.

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T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


STYLE

your life

featuring Stefanie Johnson of SwapIt, a personal styling service and secondhand boutique

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Kindness, at the most basic level, is seeing a need and filling it. Women around the world excel at this. We take care of each other's kids. We volunteer for the school play or at the community potluck. We build Little Free Libraries in our yard. We give food and spare change to those who ask for it.

How often, though, do we see a need in our own lives and figure out a way to fill it? And—more importantly—what are the ramifications of fulfilling our own needs? And, finally, for those of us true skeptics, why does any of this matter?

By getting to know Stefanie Johnson—owner of the personal styling service and secondhand boutique Swap-It in Somerville, MA—I learned the answers to these questions, and So Much More. I learned that kindness is more than meeting the needs of others. Kindness is ensuring everyone has the tools, knowledge, and access required to be able to meet needs on our own.

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


STYLE YOURSELF FIRST Like many entrepreneurs, Stefanie's business was born out

habits, and she began to learn about the sustainable

of a personal need: she wanted to know how to dress herself.

community. Her two big takeaways from that work were that

A recent college grad working at a nonprofit in New York

people throw away a lot and most of them don't realize the

City, she found herself with more responsibility, including

consequences of that behavior.

presenting to co-workers, and wanted to "dress the part." Living in NYC on an entry level salary, however, didn't afford

After a lifetime of "wanting to start a company," Stefanie, who

her much "spare change for getting dressed."

had always been a lover of thrifted clothing, was inspired

Though she'd never worked with a personal stylist before,

experience with the personal stylist—the long-term results of

Stefanie knew she needed help to update her wardrobe and,

which were disappointing—she realized that "going shopping"

after discussing it with her then-fiance, decided to make the

wasn't the solution. "It wasn't that I didn't have great stuff,"

investment. She ended up paying about $1800 for the services

she says, "I didn't know how to put it together."

and a shopping trip—an expense that was justifiable because of Stefanie's belief that "how you dress has a significant impact on how you feel."

by the "greening" community. When she reflected on her

Thus, the idea for what would eventually become SwapIt was born. Stefanie got all her stylish friends that she trusted in one

Around this same time, Stefanie was assigned to manage a grant-funded program that centered around eco-friendly

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room and bought pizza and brainstormed, listening to their

"Our client is the person that has a hard time getting

insights and workshopping her ideas. After a timely move to

dressed," says Stefanie. She has plenty of clothing but still

Boston, where she grew up and where she and her husband

struggles to "leave the house feeling amazing." This is not a

could live more affordably, Stefanie officially started SwapIt—

problem that's solved by adding more things to one's closet.

an at-home yet affordable styling service.

All that will bring is overwhelm! Which is why the SwapIt motto is "Style more and learn more."

SHARE THE LOVE One of the keys to Stefanie's success is that, in recognizing her own styling needs, she also recognized that she wasn't the only one with this need. "A lot of women love to shop," says Stefanie, so she didn't feel the need to encourage that any more. More so, Stefanie began to observe that women didn't know what to buy and didn't know how to style what they did end up buying.

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU

Stefanie's dream is that—rather buying new clothing on a whim—the "new norm" for women will be to schedule a style session when they need an outfit. When women go shopping for a particular event, they often encounter challenges, whether buying something they'll never wear again or something they have nothing else to wear with, that downgrade the benefit of having that single new outfit.


On the other hand, a stylist helps to "pull it all together," which—at SwapIt—includes everything from trying on your own clothing and getting feedback to creating a "lookbook" of outfits from which you can choose what to wear. Though you're still the one making the style decisions, these tools alleviate closet overwhelm, which Stefanie aptly describes as "wasting energy" on clothing with "sentimental value." Stefanie loves the moments when her clients have style breakthroughs, like a "non-dress" person giving away the 20+ unworn dresses in her closet, or a ladyboss who hates standard office wear getting liberated from black pants and button downs. In essence, getting dressed is about having a

SET UP SHOP After three years of offering at-home styling services and doing several pop-ups, Stefanie opened her SwapIt boutique in Davis Square. Despite knowing that styling can be easier when done in a woman's closet, with her entire wardrobe on display, Stefanie wanted to lower the barriers to entry for the "everywoman," in need of styling services. Several factors play a part in the average woman preferring a store-like atmosphere to at-home styling, from a lower price point to a smaller time commitment to the fact that "you don't have to invite strangers into your home," says Stefanie.

relationship with your closet—which is why Stefanie's stylists stand by the mantra, "Only wear it if you love it."

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In the Boston area? Come to our Group Swap on Wednesday, June 13th. You'll get to meet Stefanie in person AND hang out with all your TPY friends. Look for details on our Facebook page or visit bit.ly/TPYgroupswap.

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


Summer Style Want to refresh your summer wardrobe? Since the goal is for ALL women to be able to style

While Stefanie is quick to point out that there

themselves, providing access to styling tools and

are no "hard and fast rules" on styling—

knowledge is more important than traditional modes

because "everybody's different"—she still

of business.

passed on tons of knowledge that's applicable

Most retailers “just want you to buy more stuff,” says

to anyone who wants a closet full of clothes

Stefanie. “SwapIt is trying to say something different.”

(outfits!) they actually like. Here's some helpful

They encourage their clients to bring in pieces from

tips on swapping your "stuff" for Stuff You're

their own wardrobe to a styling session, because—

Going to Wear:

again—the goal isn't to just accumulate more clothing. Some items will go back home with them—as part of a newly styled outfit—while others will be swapped with clothing at the store.

1

Shop, then Swap. The key to a balanced closet is adding clothing only if you're willing to take away the same amount! There's nothing wrong with wanting a new swimsuit or cover-up AND maybe that means you no longer need the one you wore three years ago. Keep a one-to-one ratio in mind: stuff comes into the closet, stuff comes out of the closet. And, yes, that includes comfy tees.

SwapIt has a few racks of clothing on display; however, the majority of clothing they collect doesn't go on their racks but in a holding area to be brought out at styling sessions. This contributes to the idea that learning how to style one's own outfits is "where you get the most value," says Stefanie. A styling session is "how you learn what you want to wear and how to wear what you like."

2

Feel the Feels. How do we know what to keep and what to swap? Good news! It's based on feelings. Not sentiment (but I really love this old mustard-stained t-shirt from when I was a freshman in college!!) but feelings—as in: How do you want to feel when you get dressed? Also, says Stefanie, "All of your clothes should be comfortable and make you feel confident!" So choose feelings that are a little more specific to your lifestyle and personality.

Stefanie is also a fan of group clothing swaps, which they host at SwapIt often. Women enjoy these parties for all the same reasons they enjoy shopping with friends: the atmosphere is casual and fun; snacks and/ or drinks can be thrown in somewhere; and—best of all—you get new clothes! Better than mere shopping, though, you also get to release clothing you no longer wear.

3

We're all guilty of having items of clothing that still have the tag on them. Sure, maybe the right occasion hasn't come along; but how do you know if you want to keep something, if you haven't even seen yourself in it? Stefanie suggests trying on outfits and taking pictures, then trying on different outfits and taking more pictures. Basically, you want to see yourself wearing it—even if you haven't yet worn it!

SWAP "TRADE SECRETS" FOR KNOWLEDGE Though Stefanie stays abreast of clothing trends—like capsule wardrobes or the latest clothing subscription box—her mission is less about "fashion" and more about feelings. Often, women get dressed based on their intended activity or on the expectations of society. SwapIt stylists, though, “talk a lot less about where you’re going and a lot more about how you need to feel in your clothing.”

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Snap a Pic.

4

Phone a Friend. Stefanie's entire business came out of the fact that she was willing to ask for help. While her first styling experience wasn't all that positive, it led to her building a business that met her own needs along with the needs of others in her situation. The moral of the story? Ask for help when you need it—whether you're phoning a friend to look through wardrobe pictures, or you're hiring a stylist which—you now know—you can totally afford to do!

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opportunity to do something else with it. For example, she currently passes on unwanted clothing to a local designer who makes jewelry out of fabric. While the perceived superficiality of clothing can be a barrier for women who care more about the environment than trends or expectations, her commitment to sustainability offers even the most skeptical woman a chance to stop in and see what swapping is all about. People throw away an “average of 70-80 pounds of textiles a year,” says Stefanie, “We are hoping to be zerowaste and, beyond that, really understand what’s happening to the clothing.” We don’t often think of the width and breadth the practices of kindness can have. Stefanie’s story—and the brand she’s building—remind The challenge, says Stefanie, is that “we’re not often tuned into our feelings.” When asked how she wants to feel in her clothes, a woman typically answers “comfortable, confident”—two ways Stefanie believes all clothes should make you feel! With a little encouragement and “digging,” though, women can figure out whether they want to feel energetic or powerful or smart—or all of the above! While what you wear will always provide clues about who you are, the change

us of just how far one person’s influence can reach. From helping women to treat themselves with more dignity to keeping wasted textiles out of landfills to lowering the barriers for women who need styling help, SwapIt is pushing the boundaries of what it means to be sustainable and what it takes to be kind.

in perspective from “what do I want to wear?” to “how do I want to feel?” is crucial for women who want to move past superficial reasons to be stylish and tap into their core desires. “Your outfit,” says Stefanie, “should move you forward.” And knowing what kind of clothing contributes to your wellbeing is a critical component of this. Along with helping women gain knowledge about this new way to dress, Stefanie has built sustainability into the core of her brand. They accept all clothing—no matter the style or quality—and what isn’t re-sellable becomes an

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU

Lee Lee Thompson is the publisher of this magazine. Her personal style is a mix of thrift store finds, sustainable staples, and small batch jewelry. An accidental trend-setter, she somehow knew mustard yellow was going to be the thing this summer. See her occasional and often accidental outfit posts at @wordsbyleelee on Instagram. Photos by Amanda Luisa, @amandaluisaart


Connect with Stefanie ď…­ @aswappinggoodtime ď‚‚ @aswappinggoodtime swapit.cool/personal-styling-a

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Going green isn't about having less.. just about doing things differently, and a little bit smarter. – S TEFANIE JO H NSO N

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


to align your innermost thoughts with your ever-evolving perspective


A R T W O R K by @ M S D D E S I G N


Peace Lily An immensely popular indoor plant, Peace Lilies grow in low light and less water while absorbing air pollutants and giving off moisture into the atmosphere. A reminder of the resiliency of nature, this white flower with green shiny leaves holds its beauty throughout long summer days.

I L L U S T R AT I O N by ANN MAR IE DR URY @ A N N M A R I E D R U R Y _ A R T I S T

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I am beautiful and everybody loves me. –

LOUISE HAY

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


LIVE

Dear Lady, Summertime is upon us and, as much as we're all looking forward to the warmth and freedom that lies ahead, I know that you are also entering into a season when being kind to your body and feeling good about your image can be a challenge.

Chances are you're struggling with any number of decisions

Lady: these feelings are normal. And yet, I am incensed on

right now.

your behalf because they are not useful (not to You anyway).

• Which bathing suit will I wear? (What bathing suit should I wear?) • Will this be the year I say yes to wearing shorts? • How often do I need to get a pedicure now that flip flops are everyday wear? • Should I wear panty hose to work even though it's 80 degrees? • Why am I retaining so much water?

We live in a culture that profits from our self-doubt and feeds off our body shame. That you have to face this enterprise every day isn't right and it isn't fair. When I think about how often you second guess yourself, I get very angry. When I see you look in that mirror and sigh or frown, I'm sympathetic—but also, I'm angry because I see you, and I see that you're beautiful. Not because your eyes are the perfect shade, or because your smile is contagious, or because you're having a good hair day (though all of this may be true!): just because you are YOU. And I yearn for you to see this beauty, too.

• Why am I always so thirsty? As righteous as my anger feels, anger is not a feeling I choose • Is it okay if I wear last year's summer clothes or do I need to replace my entire wardrobe? • Will last year's summer clothes even fit me? I could go on. The thoughts – the shoulds – and the

to sit with for very long. Anger is basically the opposite of fun for me, nor can I reframe anger as an act of kindness. And so, what I really want you to know is that—more than being angry—I'm filled with compassion for you, as well as for the society of shoulds you're living within.

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My compassion is not of the sympathetic

Compassion overtakes my anger and outrage

or pitiful nature; I feel compassion that is

because I know that you did not choose to

genuine, and affection—the "If I were a hugger,

arrive at this destination. In fact, I know

I'd give you a hug." Kind of compassion. And

that this place you are in isn't actually a

I feel compassion for your body, too which is

destination At All. You have detoured to this

simply doing its part to keep you alive.

place, quite unintentionally, and I would like to kindly invite you to steer away: to move in a different direction: to journey towards confidence, authenticity, and self-love.

T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


In this place, our bodies are recognized as vessels, equal to but not so much more important than our minds. In this place, we are kind and compassionate toward our bodies; we wake up grateful for even the aches and pains and fat and bruises... because we couldn't have had all that fun without them. We wouldn't be who we are without them. Because this journey toward body kindness is different for each of us I can't promise to always have the answer. If, however, you need a listening ear...a shining light...a good book recommendation...or an impromptu glass of wine on a weekday night... Please know that I am here for you, without judgement or impatience. I am here, in the place where we are all beautiful—no matter the season, no matter the style—and I believe you WANT to be here, and will be here. Soon. Love, Lee Lee There's a place where each of us recognizes the differences about our bodies and is enlivened by the fact that there are so many shapes and sizes and colors and they are all beautiful. A place where beauty is not One Size Fits All. A place where sometimes we are hurt or tired, and that doesn't mean we are broken or ugly or have "failed"—only that we're human. Period.

Lee Lee Thompson is the Managing Editor and Publisher of this magazine. She's in love with her freckles, in awe of her muscles, and in cahoots with her slowly graying hair. Photos by Paula Athans, @crash3328

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LIVE

Small Town, Big Love with

Casee Marie

Adopting an optimistic and adventurous attitude can connect you to your community.

G

rowing up in Chicago, I always wanted to be part of a small-town community, the sort of quaint local tribe we’ve seen

depicted on television shows across the generations. Think Stars Hollow, home of the Gilmore Girls, or maybe even Andy Griffith’s beloved Mayberry. Instead, as someone who grew up alongside the turn of the 21st century, community for me was always... well...commercialized. Neighborhoods of cookiecutter homes with perfectly manicured yards; seas of identical new housing developments; big-chain fast food, video rental stores, and supermarkets.

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Soon enough there came cell phones (and with them text

halfway between Hartford and New Haven. The closest I came

messaging), DVDs by mail, fast fashion stores, et cetera.

to Stars Hollow was living down the street from the private

Connection wasn’t exactly a buzzword in those days, and so

prep school that inspired Rory Gilmore’s Chilton Academy.

the idea of "small town" community was left behind. In one town I moved to, I didn’t even know my neighbors’ names.

Eventually I saw my lack of small-town community reflected

When I moved to New England, I figured my hopes for

businesses like family-owned restaurants and tiny shops

community may have an opportunity to be rekindled.

tucked into unsuspecting storefronts abounded. Rather than

Connecticut was, in fact, the home of my longed-for Stars

shopping and dining locally, however, I was locked in my

Hollow, a beautiful hamlet with a quirky but well-meaning

commercialized mindset, blind to a local deli when a Panera

cast of characters around every corner. Never mind the

was on hand.

particularly handsome and brooding diner-owner in the

in my lifestyle choices rather than my surroundings. Local

center of town.

Ironically, I didn’t connect with my community by just

As dreamy as it was, Stars Hollow had one big drawback: the

over chain stores: instead, I took my curiosity to social

town didn't actually exist. Instead of the charming village

media. I read reviews by other locals, followed neighborhood

tucked into Connecticut’s Litchfield County, this fictional

businesses on Instagram, and kept an eye on Facebook events

place was constructed in a California studio to look like a New

going on around me. After much research, I decided to start

England town. Ah, the "magic" of Hollywood.

having some fun.

For the first few years of my "new" life, I continued on with

One of my first stops was a local eatery for lunch over a

my cookie-cutter, Midwest, suburbia lifestyle in a town just

drive-thru or a plate of leftovers at home. I was greeted by

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changing my habits and walking into local establishments


the owner, who was delighted to oblige when I told him it was

hallmark spots in town, from the iconic clock outside Town

my first time visiting. The food was amazing, the staff was

Hall to the street signs less easily identifiable by outsiders but

charming, and the environment was right on track with my

instantly familiar sites to us locals. On one trip to the farmer’s

vibe. I had found my happy place.

market I happened across her table, introduced myself and

The more I explored, the more I began to see all my town

joined her mailing list, and made a lovely new connection.

offered. The knitter in me thrilled at the discovery of the local

These days, driving through the center of town is like taking

yarn shop; the music devotee set her sights on the record

in a breath of fresh air, everywhere I look, there are reminders

store. I found several indie craft shops, and social media

that the community I once dreamed of is just outside my

led me to discover a guided meditation and dreamcatcher

front door. All I had to do was stop living on autopilot and

workshop at the local yoga studio. I threw caution to the

start looking at my world with intention and a playful dose

wind, went on my own, and made wonderful new friends in

of curiosity.

the process. Even regular visits to the local library took on a charming sense of community when I practiced being present and truly engaging with the people I met. Don’t be afraid to gush over Cary Grant with your librarian when you’re checking out some classic films on DVD.

Casee Marie is a motivational writer living in Wallingford, Connecticut with her rescue pup, Blaze. She is the author of the online journal Hope & Harbor where she writes to encourage a deeper relationship with compassion and vulnerability. You can connect with her at caseemarie.com. Photos courtesy of the author

Social media also introduced me to the work of local artists, including a woman whose watercolors depict some of the

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thebravefilespodcast.com

mamanowconversations.com

Uplifting Podcasts to Listen To Le vital corps Salon Sonic comfort + conversation for women who don’t have time for BS or burnout

A podcast about fertility & modern family building.

Hosted by

Kara Martin Snyder

Hosted by Katie Lynch, therapist, modern family builder, & fertility advocate

fertilenest.com T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU

vitalcorpswellness.com


Anyone who takes the time to be kind is beautiful. – RIC HE L L E E. GOOD RICH

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Becoming Kind T H E W AY I W A N T T O B E I N T H E W O R L D

Words by Christy Johnson

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LIVE

I am kind because of all the mistakes I have made hurting others. I’m kind out of selfishness. I love feeling happiness and joy, and, in my experience, these feelings come from making choices that are in line with your values, and make others feel good.

THE TRUTH ABOUT KINDNESS As a kid, kindness didn't come naturally to me. Getting approval and fitting in were far more important goals. I was one of six children so most of my memories involve a desire for attention and judging myself based on how I compared to those around me. However, living our values despite what others think was and continues to be modeled for me by my parents. Additionally, forgiving others and generosity of time and spirit were regularly practiced—both offshoots of kindness. I wish the pursuit of kindness was as simple as "I became a mom and, therefore, became kind." My kids are mirrors to

makes my actions and attitude vastly more important because I know that I'm modeling behavior and value-setting. By watching the reactions of the people I’ve hurt and noticing when I felt guilty, I've realized that discomfort occurs when I make choices that don’t align with my true values. Of course, I remember how it feels to be hurt and made fun of by others too, but this never made me want to be kind. Instead, I wanted others to feel the same pain I felt—but I have learned that kindness lessens the pain.

THE FIRST LESSONS

how I present myself to the world. When I hear something

In grade school, I told a friend’s brother that he didn’t have

from them that irks me, I can reflect on whether or not it’s

any friends and challenged him saying, “I bet you couldn’t

an unconscious habit I’ve taught them; frequently, it is. This

even count them on one hand.” He was sitting on the staircase

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and as his head sunk down I heard loud steps coming towards

Before I turned my head to verify, I knew my locker mate

us. My heart started beating quickly as I saw his mom’s face

was standing there. Seeing tears well up in someone’s eyes

reddened and taut.

and knowing you are the cause of pain—especially pain that

With one hand on her hip and the other pointing straight toward the door, she told me to get out of their house, keeping her eyes on her son as she said the words. My two thoughts as I walked home feeling justifiably ashamed at my behavior were: Why did I do that? and His mom really loves him.

isn’t deserved or even true—is awful. No apology can make it better.

G R O W I N G PA I N S In high school, I remember coming up with a plan to buy a

In middle school, I remember sitting at a table with a group of

good friend a fish just because. She is and always has been the

girls that were complaining about their locker mates. I wanted

kindest person I know. Her response wasn’t happy though.

to get a word in and feel included so I adamantly said. “At least

She was confused. I’ll never forget hearing her sister say “She

you don’t have the person I do!” Instead of getting head nods

didn’t do it because she likes you; she did it because she feels

or a laugh like I’d expected, everyone’s mouths opened and

guilty at how mean she is to you.”

then froze. Their eyes moved away from my face and focused behind me.

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Though I was incredibly sad and felt dejected, those words

was okay because of all the laughter and smiling around me.

made me reflect on my actions. I really was mean to her, but

I didn’t understand that people sometimes laugh because

she (and others) usually laughed so I thought it was all in

they’re uncomfortable. I remember him asking me to stop, and

good fun. I hadn't yet realized that laughter can be a cover up

people laughed louder, which I mistakenly took as a cue not to

for insecurity. I've repeated this mistake many times in my

stop.

life because I enjoy seeing people smile and laugh; it never occurred to me that someone might get hurt in the process.

I disempowered him enough that his friends wrote rapist

I also remember the boy who took me to Homecoming; I was

blushing and sweating as the heat of disgrace came over me.

so excited someone had asked me. He took me to dinner and

That was the hardest lesson: public shame. I don’t think I

the dance and made plans for us afterwards. I decided at the

looked anyone in the eye at school for days after that.

last minute that I wouldn’t join him for the after party because

on the side of one of my school books. I remember instantly

my friends from another school were hanging out.

Years after our graduation I ran into him with his girlfriend.

I mostly remember that he stopped smiling at me after that.

like pain that can’t be taken away. From this, I learned to focus

And he had such a great smile – a real one that didn’t hold

my feedback on the person I’m talking to instead of making

anything back—the kind that provides relief and confidence,

choices based on public approval.

He pointed at me and said she’s the one who did it. Shame is

simply because it’s genuine.

THE HARDEST LESSON

BEING FORGIVEN In college, I remember being confronted by a woman that lived

I remember teasing a boy that liked me because people

in my hall. I had written something mean on the dry erase

around us were entertained. And, I remember thinking that

board that hung on the door to her room. I can’t remember

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Random Habits of Kindness When kindness is a habit you don't have to use willpower to do it, it's just part of you. Here are some things I do to keep my head in the kindness game (which also helps me enjoy life!). Smile at as many people as possible—especially in traffic

what it said or even the situation that provoked it, but I knew she was coming to confront me as I watched her walk down the hall. In that moment, I knew I had made a bad choice. Her hands were on her hips and her feet were moving in such a calculated way, as though they were carrying the rest of her body to an otherwise unwanted confrontation. Her lips were tight across her face, practically a straight line except for the downturned corners. She appeared determined, sad and angry. She didn’t look directly at my face until the last moment. When our eyes met, her words were simple and direct. She told me I had hurt her and asked me why I did it. Our conversation was short, but pivotal for me. I believe she even accepted my timid apology. The truth of why I did it was that I was jealous of her for knowing what she wanted in life and being able to articulate it. What I thought of as her arrogance was actually her superpower. She addressed problems as they were presented to her and dealt with them.

Learn my mail person's name and greet them whenever I see them. Introduce people with a conversation starter that connects them together. Comment on social media posts that move me. Find a way to agree with everyone I talk to. (Agreeing to disagree counts!) Instead of saying "I have to..... (pick up the kids, do the laundry, run errands), say "I get to..." Compliment the person in front of or behind me in line. Ask for help. Encourage others with sentences that being, "I like..." or "I appreciate..." Text or call someone when I'm thinking of them. Learn from disagreement. Be honest. Thank everyone I meet for an entire day. Add the word 'yet' to the end of someone else's "I don't know how to" statement.

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T H E W AY F O R W A R D As an adult, I can see the common denominator in my behavior: All of these choices I made that hurt others and thus, caused me guilt and shame, were impulsive. They were often made because I wanted people to like me or because I was jealous or feeling powerless. They were always made because I was considering my feelings over anyone else’s. I haven’t yet asked forgiveness from the people I’ve hurt in many of these scenarios. Self-forgiveness has been the most difficult part of forging a path to kindness based on a trail of mistakes. Still, I truly believe that we are works in progress. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn to be better in the future. My conclusion? If little decisions are never little and easily lead to hurt… the equal and opposite choices should also work to make people happier. In the words of my favorite Saint, Mother Teresa, “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind.”

Christy M. Johnson is an artist, encourager, and whimsical caretaker of dreams. Her background as an art therapist informs her mission to bring creativity, encouragement, and life-long learning into people's lives. Photo on p. 87 by Amanda Luisa, @amandaluisaart; photo on p. 90/91 by Jessica Heksam, @lemaephotography; artwork by Christy Johnson

Take a Breath.

Are you ready to feel inspired and more alive in your body and soul? Are you ready to step into your true power and free yourself from limiting beliefs? Want to feel whole and complete exactly as you are right now? I help women close the disconnects between mind, body and spirit with Coaching and the profound power of Conscious Connected Breathwork. Schedule a free connection call at lydiamandell.com T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU

MANDELL


LIVE

MA RI T I ME FRI EN D S

Soft sculptures, shaped and curated by Tamar Mogendorff, offer a reminder of the camaraderie and fun that can be found in nature.

Tamar Mogendorff Tamar is an artist and designer residing in Brooklyn, New York, whose one-of-a-kind "soft sculptures" have inspired both children and adults for over thirteen years. Selections are from Tamar's "It's Maritime!" Series Photo Credit: NGOC MINH NGO

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@TESSACHITTLE

@FACEFOODNATURALSKINCARE

@HOPEANDHARBOR

@NICANDTHENEWFIE

@LATOYABURTON_MUSING

@SARAHBACHELDER

@STYLETHROUGHHEREYES

@GETREALFAMILY

@WILD_PLANTS_LOVE_YOU

I NTE NTI O N A L A CT S O F K I N D N ES S

Kindness can be in any form: holding an umbrella over a stranger, spending time with elderly, volunteering time to educate others, buying your coworker lunch, pitching in to keep your community clean, contributing towards increasing social awareness, loving and/or adopting animals and many, many other ways. No matter which act of kindness you choose to engage in, you'll bring cheer to the people around you and be engulfed with happiness of your own. T h e PE R PE T UAL YOU


J U N E MA N T RA

I create ripples of kindness everywhere I go.

M A N T R A b y K R Y S TA L B R A N D T P H O T O b y C AT E C L O T H E R @ C AT E C L O T H E R


P H O T O b y K E L LY P E T E R S O N @ K F P P H O T O G R A P H Y

Unleash Kindness

Profile for The Perpetual You

The Perpetual You_Fun through Kindness  

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