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Better For You Basics by a Green, Non-Toxic, Plant-Based Mama and Yogi

What do you look for in the brands or products you use?
So many things!

1. First and foremost, I am a green, non-toxic, plant-based mama, and any product I use needs to be in line with my beliefs.

2. There are enough toxins in our world, I refuse to invite more into my home, or on/into my body.

3. That said, I need the products to WORK, so if a green, vegan, non-toxic beauty brand doesn’t work, I won’t be using their products, regardless of how much I love their values.

4. Speaking of values, I LOVE brands that GIVE BACK. I will always choose a brand that gives back over another that does not.

5. Price point. I understand that you get what you pay for, but the brands that upcharge based on their name, or charge outrageous amounts just don’t work for me. Everyone needs to pay their bills, and recoup costs of their products, of COURSE! But, when price tags are only in the reaches of the most fortunate, for no real reason other than ridiculous profit, I can’t get on board with those brands.

Why are those things important to you?
In regards to the green / non-toxic: I had a parent die of brain cancer. When you watch a loved one die like that, and see all of the research about carcinogens in our food, and in our beauty and cleaning products, it is impossible to ignore them any longer.

I also had a challenging fertility journey, and part of it was the amount of toxins I had been putting in and on my body for so many years. When I started looking at labels, and seeing ALLLL of the warnings on my moisturizers, face serums, shampoos, etc to not use when pregnant or nursing, I was horrified. If these products are not okay for me in those conditions, why on earth should they be okay for me EVER? The answer? They are not. I refuse to harm my body in this manner now that I am armed with this information.

As for the rest, pretty sure I explained it all in question #1!

What has been the most challenging thing about the stay at home order?
Oof. Definitely not being in OUR home, and, living with some of my husband’s family in a shared house. It is super challenging living with another family whose parenting style is night and day different from your own. Also: running my businesses from home (newly launched yoga app that I shoot two new videos for every week, plus all of the PR and marketing efforts for that, IG, Off the Gram Podcast, AND private yoga clients, among other things), with 3 kids now not in any school or classes, plus my husband working from home (I sure hope our IG live doesn’t get interrupted by my children!). I could totally handle the WFH with kiddos thing if we were in my home in NYC that I designed for our family, with everything we need right there, without someone else's screaming children. Not having our home due to my husband’s fears about our kids being in NYC right now (to be fair, my twins are 4 and my youngest is 2, they touch EVERYTHING), and living with in-laws is EXTREMELY challenging for me. BUT, we are all healthy (knock on wood), so, I am focusing on THAT. AND, focusing on just HOW LUCKY I am to be able to work from anywhere.

What has been helping you to find balance?
Meditating every night, and doing yoga for and on my CrossFlow Yoga app every day. I would be a puddle on the floor without those practices, and the ability to create content that can HELP others right now is keeping me going AND allowing me to thrive, and not just barely survive. I have worked with a psychologist (Dr. Rachel Goldman) to create dr approved yoga content to decrease anxiety, flows for grounding, calming, help with sleep, and so much more that my community has requested. The ability to create (and the process of creating) content that HELPS others, helps ME find balance. At a time when many of us feel helpless and completely not in control of anything, being able to control content creation that is useful is everything.

What will be the one thing that will stay with you that you have learned during this time?

That there is nothing more important to staying strong with my boundaries. I have long struggled with creating and enforcing boundaries, and tend to surround myself with people who thrive on ignoring them. That goes hand in hand with struggling to make my voice heard, another lifelong journey. This whole experience has shown me just HOW vital boundaries AND making myself heard are for my mental and physical health. It is a work in progress for me, but seeing HOW important both of those practices are in this scenario has given me the motivation to keep working on them.

Also, I stink at asking for (and receiving) help. One of my dear friends found a way to create space for me and my family, and give us what we desperately needed during this time, but I was unable to ask for. I am forever indebted to him, and endlessly grateful. I learned that receiving help is not only GOOD, but necessary at times.

(I realize that is technically three things, but they are all tied together for me!)

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