The dynamic duo that founded Countertop Foods, Jamie Kantrowitz (left) and Nicole Rice (right). Learn more below. 

Figuring out how to create food that is both flavorful and healthy can sometimes feel like the ultimate conundrum. We want our food to nurture our body, but we would also like to give our taste buds a treat and enhance our eating experience. Nicole Rice, Co-Founder of Countertop Foods saw this need and embodied it with the support of her business partner Jamie Kantrowitz. What transpired was the birth of a business that helps people create delicious food with maximum health, in minimum time. Their products re-imagine every day staples like butter, sweetener and seasonings into minimally processed, easy to use, insanely delicious, functional blends that turn the foods you already love into superfoods. We spoke with Nicole to get the inside scoop on the benefits of Countertop, and how to make the most out of these phenomenal products. These divine creations are featured in Goop, Vogue, Instyle, Well + Good, mindbodygreen, and Real Simple.

Interview with Nicole Rice, Co-Founder of Countertop Foods.

Living Wholly: How did you and Jenny, the Founder of Living Wholly meet?

Nicole Rice: Jenny and I originally met through her midwife Elizabeth Bachner from GraceFull Birthing. She was looking for postpartum support after her home birth and I worked with her when she was living in Venice.

Living Wholly: What do you remember being significant about this relationship?

Nicole Rice: We talked about so much. We had these deep conversations about spirituality and growth and would process so much. We would cry a lot together. It was a wonderful time of support - I always felt so welcomed and valued by Jenny and Frank. Being a doula means “to serve” and they were so appreciative of that.

Living Wholly: How are you serving the world and contributing your gifts?

Nicole Rice: I love to help people on a very basic level. I have a passion for supporting people to understand their body, and their mind-body connection. So, Countertop was developed from a place of wanting to encourage people to get back in the kitchen and cook. Many of us experience a great amount of self-inflicted guilt that can be greatly minimized by making shifts in our daily lives – I think this can especially happen with food, because food is something that so much of our guilt stems from. I eat pretty healthy, but I often make myself feel guilty about my eating habits, even though I don’t have any reason to.

When I began practicing Ayurveda, so much of the guilt flowed out of my life by realizing that I could do little things, like adding some spices to my meal, to change my palate and triggers. I want to help people feel better about the choices they make.

Living Wholly: What inspired the conception of Countertop?

Nicole Rice: I met my business partner, Jamie Kantrowitz, because I was her postpartum doula. So, when we created Countertop it came from a place of wanting to help women make little choices that could help them recover after delivery. It has blossomed from there.

Living Wholly: Can you talk about how Countertop utilizes the functional power of herbs and spices?

Nicole Rice: It has much of the ethos of Ayurveda – the belief that so much starts in the digestive system. So, adding certain spices to a meal can help with this digestion, or help to slow things down if needed. Some people have digestive systems that are just too hot and fast - many people think that’s great, but this could lead to inflammation.

Ayurveda gave me a knowledge of spices that I just fell in love with. The healing properties of these spices – spices that have been around for such a long time – are just incredible. Spices are like nature’s medicine that you can use at every meal.

Living Wholly: Are there any Countertop products you would recommend for new moms?

Nicole Rice: We developed Mother Honey with new moms in mind. Warm drinks, oatmeal, anything that’s warm and rich is really beneficial for new moms. So, put a spoonful of Mother Honey onto oatmeal, into rice pudding – whatever sounds good. It will give you an energy boost.

It’s really lovely as it’s made from raw avocado honey, which is a really grounding honey that we’ve filled with ingredients like turmeric, moringa, cumin, fenugreek, oat straw and coconut oil that all boost breast milk production and nutrient density.

Living Wholly: What are three of your favorite products that you sell? And why?

Nicole Rice: I love Golden Butter – it’s the new cooking oil. I use it as an olive oil replacement. It’s an easy way to add flavor to any meal and is incredibly versatile.

Golden Honey is another of my favorites - I use it as a daily tonic, where I take a spoonful of it to wake up my digestive system. I also add it to oatmeal and toast. In addition, it can be used on the skin as a facemask or salve. For example, I recently cut my leg and after putting Golden Honey on it, the cut scabbed over in two days. It’s one of those products that’s so handy.

We also launched a product called Cocoa Butter that’s a sweet butter. There are so many spices in it - like cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla bean, and more - that can help you feel and look better.

Living Wholly: Why do you think turmeric has become so popular?

Nicole Rice: It is a superstar. It’s beneficial for almost everyone. But, I’m a little dubious of turmeric capsules, because taking high amounts of turmeric for long periods of time isn’t great. Turmeric loves fat and food and wants to be cooked – so it will be absorbed in your body easier when you cook it into food. I will occasionally use it in high doses if I have a lingering cold, but, I don’t think it’s beneficial to take it in large amounts every day - it’s best in small amounts, with food.

Living Wholly: How has using your products impacted your whole-being wellness?

Nicole Rice: I really don’t get sick – especially for someone who works in the start up world, and sometimes works 14-hour days. Countertop products have allowed me to have a good digestive system, and feel good about what goes into my body. I feel like our products help me empower my food by enhancing them with added nutrients. I love the feeling of cooking something and feeling so good about how it tastes and makes me feel.

Being able to work with spices that are put into really nice easy blends is wonderful - everything that goes into our products has meaning. For example, I wouldn’t only put vanilla bean in a blend because it tastes good - I put it in because it promotes serotonin and is a really feel-good spice. And luckily, a lot of the spices that make us feel good also taste great. Cardamom, for example, helps eliminate gas, soothe stomach conditions, and tastes fantastic. The whole body experience – mind, body, and spirit - is positively impacted when you’re working with Countertop products.

Living Wholly: Why do you feel that it’s important to only use pure and minimally processed ingredients?

Nicole Rice: We’re all pretty educated now on the impact of highly processed foods. You can see and feel how the body has to work harder to process them. It’s amazing that we can get through each day with so many processed foods in our system, because the body has to work so hard to maintain homeostasis. For example, say you have a high sugar and high caffeine drink - you don’t think much of it, but your body might go into some form of toxic shock that you don’t even realize.

So, putting less pressure on your system is going to benefit you now, and later in life. And it’s not even really about the immediate results for me. Even though these spices will help you feel lighter and clearer now, I have a goal of being 80 and not being on a ton of medications, or having a fading mind.

Science has proven that more unprocessed food will reduce inflammation and take pressure off the organs. They also, make it easier for the body to eliminate what’s not needed. Eating seasonally and locally is great because the food doesn’t have to be preserved by chemicals. And, it’s empowering to know what’s in your food, and how your body breaks it down.

Living Wholly: What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate Countertop products into your life?

Nicole Rice: I love rice. It’s a wonderful grain that’s gotten a bad rap. I believe that white basmati rice is the king of rice. But, you do need some help digesting it. So, I make a golden rice by cooking the rice on my stovetop, or in my rice cooker, and throwing in a tablespoon of golden butter. All of the sudden you have this rice that has an incredible golden color and subtle richness. Golden butter makes every home chef look like a professional. If you cover a chicken in golden butter, and stick it in the oven, it’s so delicious that everyone thinks that you’ve been cooking your whole life.

I also put Cocoa Butter in my coffee. You get this creamy, buttery coffee that’s just delicious. You also get a more sustained level of energy.

Our spice blends also, make life so easy. Throw some of our poultry blend onto potatoes and roast them, and you have these amazing aromas coming out of your oven. These blends make cooking from home look like child’s play.

 

Living Wholly: What does your typical food and drink routine look like?

Nicole Rice: I start my morning with a cup of tea. I also have a spoonful of golden honey while my kettle is boiling. I then do some meditation and take my dog for a walk, which is followed by toast when I come home. I love Dave’s Killer Bread, either with Golden Butter, avocado and tomato, or almond butter. I also make my own granola with Countertop spice blends.

I then have a coffee on my way to work, and definitely try to get in my two liters of water throughout the day. I notice that in the summer, when I don’t do this, I get a little high strung. The older I get the more important water is.

Lunch is usually on the go. I work in an area of LA that has a lot of taco trucks and a wonderful Indian market, so I’ll often grab lunch from one of these spots.

Dinner is pretty simple at my house. If I don’t go out to catch up with a friend, I usually eat something easy like eggs, or even French toast! I always have some kitchari on hand and will often mix it with veggies for a quick and healthy meal.

Living Wholly: What are three ways people can begin to transform their health?

Nicole Rice: Not eating on the go is a big one. Take some time to acknowledge what you’re eating by putting your phone away and turning off the television. Even if you’re eating takeout, put it on a plate and focus on the person you’re eating with. It’s all about enhancing that mind-body connection, which can help to shift your perspective of food. This connection helps you recognize that you’re fueling your body, instead of just fulfilling cravings.

Water is also super important. We should all be drinking more water - it can help to eliminate headaches and major digestive issues, and can support the health of your organs.

Rest is crucial. I think most people are tired. After being a doula for twelve years I embrace rest in so many ways. Even resting your food for a moment before you eat it, and catching your breath, can be incredibly helpful. We use the excuse “I’m just too busy” all the time, so, I make sure to avoid that excuse by taking time out to take a bath, do a facemask, and listen to my favorite podcast. My doula clients really helped to educate me on self-care.

Living Wholly: What does living wholly mean to you?

Nicole Rice: There is something about living in truth, and looking at yourself in the mirror and saying, “yup, I am who I am, and I honor every part of me” that is so powerful. Living in the here and now, and loving who I am is crucial. Learning how to live in that truth and love has been a journey, but a great one.

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In a world where optimal health can often feel like an impossible state to reach, Countertop is offering products that make the enhancement of our health as easy as mixing some health-potent honey in a cup of tea, sprinkling nutrient-dense spices onto rice and veggies, or spreading mega-nourishing butter on a piece of toast. Yes, please!!!

We’re EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE the launch of Countertop in our online shop. And as an added bonus, the first TEN orders will receive FREE SHIPPING on us! Use promo code: welovecountertop. Click here to explore the wonderland of Countertop products and elevate your whole being. Enjoy the flavors, function and nourishment!

to optimum health, 

p.s. want new recipes to inspire you to easily integrate Countertop's medicinal collection of spices, honeys and butters? Click here for a plethora of options. 

Nature as a Teacher

October 05, 2018

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Who is feeling the change of seasons? Not only when you walk outside and feel the brisk air or the peaking colors of the leaves, but also, the inner shifts that are occurring when we slow down and honor what is truly present within. Nature is incredibly reflective of what’s happening in the inner and outer worlds for many people. Change is happening to most everyone I know. It can be very exciting yet it can also, feel terrifying and awkward. The questions that continue coming up for me are “how do you want to show up, move forward, shift the landscape and how do you want to transform your life to better serve you and the planet?” Now is the time.  

Recently, I took a 10 day journey of self care + healing to inspire significant lifestyle changes. Because of a health opportunity, I consciously chose to take this time for myself to get out of the matrix. The journey began with a retreat at Esalen, immediately followed by a week at the Optimum Health Institute. My time at these health oases unleashed seemingly endless opportunities for exquisite awarenesses, synchronicities, connection, cleansing my body and mind, physical + emotional detox and a full reset on every level. I was reminded how powerful we are and the self healing organism that is our human body. I witnessed miraculous testimonials and experienced heroes/heroines taking a stand for their health and shifting diagnoses to utter and complete healing. I slowed everything down and gave myself permission to tune in and honor what feels most aligned for me and my journey.

During this time, I reexamined what slowing down and presence really meant to me especially in the modern world. To me, getting into a space of true presence means I have a revitalized capacity to make inspired choices and changes, as I’m allowing myself to slow down for a long enough period of time to truly listen to what’s calling me. I ask the questions, “Who am I? Why am I here? Am I empowered? What choices do I really feel connected with? What do I really want to create and experience? How can I serve and make a greater impact?” From a place of quietude, I’m able to tap into what feels most aligned and authentically make those self-honoring choices.

I really feel that these insights and my heightened awareness came forward during my time at Esalen and OHI, as they required I step outside of my daily life and routines. I needed a pattern interrupter to have these revelations.

But, when I returned home, I could feel the intentions and commitments moving further away and self sabotage rearing its ugly head. Because I refused to lose what I had gained during this transformational time, I got down to business, and committed to a plan to confidently implement my agreements at home. Once this felt clear, I  began to integrate these practices which continue to be the woven web of my upgraded life. Here are a few that you may borrow or decide to implement forever.

Ways of Integrating:

  • Significantly slowing down my schedule. I’m taking the time to get present and wisely choose how I spend my day. I’m saying yes to less over committing and creating more spaciousness. This offers me time to be with myself, take care of my body + mind, and feel the lightness that comes forward when I have time and freedom to flow.
  • Adjusting my work schedule to support my healing process. I’m currently transitioning from working five days per week to four. Being gentle with myself while deeply knowing this is important for me!!!
  • Going into Alpha (meditation state) at least once per day for 10 minutes.

  • Recommitting to my Gratitude Journal, which consists of writing five things I am grateful for after each day.
  • Journaling every day if possible. For me, this looks like free form writing where I let it all come up and out. Sometimes, I then burn the paper to encourage emotional release and liberation.
  • Making self honoring choices and saying yes to activities that feel expansive, nourishing and supportive for my healing process. On the flip side, I’m saying NO to activities that feel draining, low vibrational and out of alignment.

  • Diving into my emotional work and looking at challenges from the lens of, “What is my soul attempting to teach me? What is unresolved within me that is ready to heal?”
  • Consciously breathing to oxygenate my cells and support them in alkalizing.
  • More SLEEP!!! Going to bed by midnight. I’m then going to shift that goal to going to bed by 11pm. What can I say - I am a night owl!
  • Eliminating alcohol, coffee, gluten, corn, eggs, animal protein, kombucha, carbonated drinks (sparkling water) and dairy for 40 days. Not easy. But so worth it.
  • Drinking 16 ounces of celery juice per day. A bonus of this commitment is how fun it is to juice the celery with my daughter. Giving her the freedom to juice the celery, learn about the benefits of juicing, then make dehydrated crackers from the celery pulp has instilled more joy and fun into our relationship.

Trust me, this is a journey. Like I say to myself often “progress not perfection”. I have my goal of staying on the detox program for at least 40 days possibly 3 months. I acknowledge my commitment to optimum health, clarity and service. This comes when I am on my purest path devoted to myself and the Divine. As my dear friend and teacher, Jeff Patterson, shared with me, as I get closer to my “Big Thing” and living in greater alignment, I am required to transform and grow. I know this and have experienced epic growth over the years. However, I am reminded again and again. In order to accomplish that big thing, I must be the person that I am required to be to embody that deeper calling and vast vision. I am ready and willing. Are you?

Happy Fall season!

With great love + respect,



My body very often serves as my compass. When I am seeking answers and trying to find the direction towards alignment, in whatever I’m facing in life, my body’s wisdom provides the answer. Our body memory is exquisite and stores every single thing we've ever experienced which feels intricate and daunting at the same time. However, it is true. The body knows. If you are open to having it as you best ally, it will serve you ten fold. For example, I’ve recently been searching for a western doctor that I trust and connect with to give me the allopathic perspective for the health opportunity I’m navigating. I wasn’t having much luck with with the other two doctors that had similar approaches and very little willingness to listen to my needs and desires for my body. I tuned into this and was bummed because I knew these weren't the ones. I knew there was someone aligned out there. A dear friend recommended I see a 3rd doctor which felt excessive but necessary. He came highly recommended by many respected friends. I finally spoke to his assistant and immediately my body was lit up and circulating yes. So, I booked the appointment. The moment I walked into the office my body gave me a clear yes. Everything in the office was visually stunning, but more importantly, my body felt the super high vibes in the space. The staff, nurses and the doctor enhanced this experience, making me feel safe and heard.  

In the offices of the other doctors I visited, I had sensed my intuition whispering to my body that I hadn’t found the right fit yet. By listening to my body and trusting myself, I found my way to a fresh medical perspective, and someone that was more aligned with what I was intuitively feeling about my health. The answers I received from him resonated so deeply and I trust him. To bridge the western model and the holistic path has been a tricky journey for me. It has taken great courage, clarity, acceptance, follow through and acknowledgment of MY soul’s unique journey. Both perspectives are valuable and necessary, in my opinion. For me, I need it all to land inside of myself so that I feel a HELL YES not just a “maybe this could work” kinda feeling.

Sensations in our body do an incredible job of guiding us through this journey if we cultivate specific ways to tune in and listen while interpreting those signals. For me, when I feel good in my body when making a decision, I know that I’m being led towards the most aligned choice. When I feel that my body is being pulled towards joy or peace, I do my best to move in that direction. When I am feeling low or dark energy or the situation seems chaotic, I question the experience and the choice. The word that embodies all of this is discernment. It is so crucial that we discern in everything that we do. That we slow down long enough to get quiet and listen to our inner knowing. From there, we can discern every decision...even the food we eat, the music we listen to, the people we work with, friends + family we spend time with, the work we do and the list goes on. It is all interconnected and it either elevates us or drains our energy.

To make it as easy as possible for my body to talk to me in this way, I’ve begun adopting certain practices to ensure I’m able to receive these potent visceral messages.

  • Asking the question. When in doubt, I ask my Higher Self a question and slow down, listening and feeling into what is present in my body.
  • Decoding the answer. The sensations that begin blooming in my body and mind after asking the question are often very light or noticeably heavy. If I feel the heaviness and jitteriness of anxiety, that often means I need to press pause on whatever action or decision I was asking about. If I feel nothing, I will slow down and ask again. I take this as a sign to hold steady and just wait for more clarity. It will come. When I feel lightness, peace, excitement, tingling, and joy inside - it is a HELL YES!!!

  • Being patient while I listen. When I’m not immediately given a clear yes, and instead feel the sense that I need to pause and listen, I often need to deepen to give myself that time and not make a rash decision. Sometimes, this waiting and listening period reveals a fear that is holding me back from saying yes to something that will really serve me – maybe the fear is blocking growth and expansion. To clarify whether I’m experiencing fear that I need to move past, or a clear no - free form writing supports me in accessing my heart’s truth and that almost always gets the words on the page including the conscious, subconscious and unconscious layers. By doing the writing, I clear the feeling of fogginess aka confusion. I create space and the truth can reveal itself.
  • Becoming present. If I find it tricky to connect to my body and intuition as I’m moving through this process, I start to connect with my senses. Tuning into what I’m seeing, smelling, feeling, hearing, and tasting grounds me into the present moment which can then unlock my sixth sense, where so much of my innate wisdom lives.

  • Releasing what’s not serving me. When I notice that the signals from my body have slowed, I check in about blocks that might be present. Maybe I’m replaying an old fear or story in my mind that’s distracting me from the whispers of wisdom my body is trying to relay. If I sense this is happening, I write. I tune in and begin writing on whatever is present. This could be vary from limiting beliefs, old programming, stories, illusions, fears, etc. I set my timer for 11 minutes and I write without stopping. No editing, contemplating, just writing pen to paper. The alarm goes off, I am done and then I burn the paper. Burn baby burn. Let it go, release it!!!! I allow it to clear and move up and out of my body. I promptly move into self forgiveness and the forgiveness of others which shifts my inner experience and allows for compassion. This also, redirects the focus as I let go and open my heart to the deeper levels of connection available to me.
  • Paying attention to serendipity. Miracles happen to us all the time, but we’re often too distracted by what’s not going right to notice them. Or on our phones or social media. So, to make sure I don’t miss an opportunity to relish the beautifully serendipitous moments, which serve as affirmations that my body and intuition are indeed leading me down the path I am meant to walk, I intentionally get present, stay open, stay curious and aware. This curiosity and awareness allows me to notice and relish those wonderful moments that fuel me with courage, faith, joy and greater levels of connection.

The “cherry on top” of these practices is my nightly ritual. Every night, I go outside before bed and look up at the stars. I allow myself to connect inside, look up at the stars and the greater Universe. I put my hands on my heart and feel the pulsations of life. During this time, I engage with God and say thank you. This is a time of gratitude for my gifts, all of the blessings of the day and for my family. This is also, a nice time to ask for clarity if there is a specific area that I am seeking support with. I ask one to two specific questions, and then request that the answers be sent in a way that I can interpret - in a way that I will not miss. And then, when I wake up the next morning the answers are often waiting - I write them down before putting my feet on the ground. If I wait, the experience and answers dissipate and they are gone. I have my journey next to my bed with a pen and a flashlight. I write immediately upon awakening. I interpret later. This is where the magic is captured. Give it a whirl! See how it feels and unfolds for you.

It can be easy to get locked into the matrix or drift into the cosmos – to forget about our bodies in favor of connecting with our spirit. But, when we remember that it is all connected - that our Higher Power and Intuition often find the sensations of the body to be the easiest way to communicate with us - our lives might just experience a blissful flow of grace, joy, and trust for this radical, mysterious journey.

with great love and humility,

 

 

Meet Nikki Sharp

September 14, 2018

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When most people think about improving their health, their mind immediately goes to diet and exercise. But, awakening our full health potential requires more than a gym membership and a plate filled with fruits and veggies – it requires a deep dive into the inner workings of our mind and emotions. This might sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be with the an aligned ally and the support that sees through this lens. Enter Nikki Sharp. Nikki is a wellness coach, yoga teacher, vegan-trained chef and best selling author who found her way to all-things wellness via international modeling. After striving to be “skinny” for many years Nikki decided that she would rather be healthy and began supporting others in this worthy pursuit.

Nikki helps individuals look beyond diet and exercise and into the subconscious behaviors, coping mechanisms and more that can block many of us from realizing our full health potential. We were able to chat with Nikki about how to overcome these blocks, transform our whole-being health and so much more.

Interview with Nikki Sharp.

Living Wholly: In your words, how are you serving the world and contributing your gifts?

Nikki Sharp: I believe that I’m helping people to understand that health is sexy, and also very approachable and maintainable. I do this through sharing my knowledge in various formats such as my website, Instagram, published books, e-books, my app, and podcast. I am passionate about helping others achieve their best lives, whether it’s through health, losing weight, landing a dream job, or finding more happiness. I think that the recipes, workouts, and real life stories I share help people feel empowered in their own lives - this is where I feel I’m of the most service in the world.

Living Wholly: How did your experience in the modeling industry inspire you to work in wellness?

Nikki Sharp: I had two eating disorders while modeling and I realized that I was in a losing battle of me against myself, so I began to learn about nutrition because nothing else I had tried worked. I would eat healthy but then binge at night, not understanding how the emotions of loneliness and low value to myself were causing this. After I began eating foods that nourished my body and made me feel amazing, it was like a light bulb went off in my head that I needed to study as much as I could. I was able to stop looking at exercise as a punishment and found that the more I focused on the emotional side of my actions, the less I wanted to be in the modeling industry.

I had no idea that I would have a career in the wellness industry; I just knew that I wanted to share my journey with others who felt like they were alone in their battles. I remember binging day after day and needing to know that someone like Giselle or Miranda Kerr (my modeling idols) had a bad day like me and got over it; but they never shared this type of thing. So my motto for my brand simply became to help others feel that there was hope. While having the eating disorders, insomnia for years, terrible acne, yo-yo dieting, and hardcore depression and anxiety were not fun (all during my modeling years), they have helped me to empathize with others and to have compassion for the struggles we all go through.

Living Wholly: What does radiant health mean to you?

Nikki Sharp: Radiant health is when your mind, body, and soul are in alignment. It’s when you eat foods that nourish you, but also, don’t feel guilty about eating things that you love. It’s when you do exercise that you enjoy or makes you feel great, rather than doing it as punishment. It’s when you focus on your happiness and making others feel good each and every day. Simply put, this means that you have found balance that works for you in all areas, which will look different for all of us.

Living Wholly: How do our emotions impact our health? How can we improve this relationship within?

Nikki Sharp: Emotions are one of the leading factors of how our health is, or if we are seeing the results we want. Too often we think we’re doing all the right things to lose weight or to get better health, yet we forget to look at how stressed we are over these ‘perfect’ meals and workouts we do. We sabotage ourselves when we start seeing results because we subconsciously don’t believe we deserve success. The subconscious mind forms ideas from events all throughout our life and we don’t take time to look into why we do certain behaviors, or have emotions around things. When we are too scared to face our demons and these deep-rooted fears of failure, some can end up binge eating, or restricting, being rude to others, or getting into a deep depression.

Food and exercise are incredibly important for our health, but we need to look into our emotions first, otherwise we will keep repeating the same mistakes and wondering why we’re not seeing results. When I work with clients, we go over their happiness levels, how their relationships are, if they enjoy their job, how close they are with friends, etc. before we even look at their food journal. When you face your (unconscious) fears, you will THEN see the results you want!

Living Wholly: In your experience, what is one of the most common reasons that women feel disempowered in their body and health?

Nikki Sharp: They listen to advice of others instead of tuning in to their own internal guide. There are so many trainers, wellness experts, doctors and even influencers sharing their opinions on health that it becomes hard to know which diet, exercise or meditation is the right one for you. There is conflicting advice - such as being vegan is best, or that paleo will save your life - that it’s no wonder we get confused and feel disempowered.

The other big causes are that we compare ourselves to other women and try to portray our best selves on social media. This creates a constant cycle of not feeling good enough and so we do things to make us look better and we get out of alignment with the things we know bring us true happiness.

Living Wholly: How can one relate to health in a way that will support weight loss with the understanding that it goes beyond food and exercise?

Nikki Sharp: By focusing on yourself and what works for you. I am all for taking advice or inspiration from others, but you have to take it and formulate it to work in your life. Just because some people say eating raw foods is the pinnacle of health, it doesn’t mean your personal digestive system will thrive with them. This is similar to doing hardcore fitness classes - they might work for some, but others will enjoy hiking and find this to be more beneficial to their weight loss and health.

The key here is to find joy and happiness in the process. It sounds cliche, yet when you focus on things that make you happy, you will see the results you want - long term. No one likes to be on a super restrictive diet; it will affect your mood, your sleep, how you interact with others, and most likely will cause you to put the weight back on when you stop it. Instead, find foods and recipes that are fun to make, that make you feel energized and go with that. It’s a longer term approach, but one that will make you  never have to worry about weight, dieting or being out of balance again.

 

Living Wholly: What are three tips for awakening our full health potential?

Nikki Sharp: Write a list of all the things that make you happy. Next, write a list of all the things you are currently doing in life. Compare these lists and see where you are spending time that is not bringing you joy/happiness and adjust as necessary.

Write a gratitude journal each morning for 21 days, with at least 5 things. This helps to keep your mind focused on the positive, which has tremendous results in other areas of your life.

Unfollow anyone on social media that you get triggered by, compare yourself to, or makes you feel bad about yourself. You’ll free up time and mental space for positive actions, instead of wasting your valuable time.

Living Wholly: What are your most common daily health practices?

Nikki Sharp: 20-minute meditation in the morning (if I miss it then I’ll find time later in the day), drinking 1-2L of water a day, and eating three different (plant-based) colors at each of my meals. I also send a text to friends or my parents to see how they are or wish them a beautiful day (I do this every single day without fail, as it takes you out of your own problems and helps you to nurture your relationships. I’ve found that if I’m going through a hard time and I speak with my friends, it immediately makes me realize that my issues are not as bad as I thought. I put my phone away about an hour before bed, and outside of my room, which helps me sleep better.

Living Wholly: What teachers have you worked with and/or currently work with to inspire and support your evolution in wellness?

Nikki Sharp: I’ve worked with Jennifer Schaefer who is an amazing healer in Los Angeles, who helped me in countless ways! Currently, I am not working with anyone, but I’m always on the look out for mentors, guides, and teachers. I find they come into your life when you are ready, which always happens as it’s meant to.

Living Wholly: What does living wholly mean to you?

Nikki Sharp: Living a life of balance with a mind, body, spirit connection. It’s doing things each day that bring happiness to myself, like nourishing myself through eating well, doing exercises that make me feel good, and meditating to keep my mind calm. It means doing things that put me in a state of harmony so that I can share that with others and inspire those around me. And for me, it is also a state of making those around me, such as my friends, family, or people I meet, feel special and loved.

Living Wholly: How can people learn more about your offerings, and work with you?

Nikki Sharp: I am taking on a select few new clients for life and health coaching (only for those serious in seeing real results in their life). This program is unique because it’s tailored to the individual and we work on all the aspects I’ve mentioned, such as finding harmony in your food and exercise to see the results you want. It also entails working with the individual in their career and romantic relationships to create the life they want. For this or other enquiries, my personal email is nikki@nikkisharp.com.

You can also follow me on Instagram at @nikkisharp and find recipes, workouts, and other offerings at www.nikkisharp.com

If you would like to learn more about the connection between your emotions, subconscious patterns, and health, tune in to our live call with Nikki Sharp on Wednesday, September 26, 6.00 pm pst on our "Virtual Speaker Series" LIVE via Zoom. With support from Nikki, we can transform our wellbeing – mind, body, and soul.

Nikki will be giving away ONE 50 minute health coaching session. She will also, give away one signed copy of her book “Meal Prep Your Way to Weight Loss”. Register here to confirm your complimentary spot on the webinar and receive the pre-worksheet to receive the most value from this virtual workshop. We look forward to seeing you on the Zoom!

with love + gratitude,



How often do adults really allow themselves to play? To dream? To dance? To rest? Not enough. Because of this, I have chills of excitement as I announce a magical retreat that Living Wholly is co-curating + producing with Nicola Behrman from 7-OM. This will be a delicious + luxurious 4-day retreat for those wanting to dive into real rest, revelry and stillness at the majestic Ojai Valley Inn, October 10-13, 2018. Nicola is the Resident Energy Alchemist + Shamanic Healer at the Ojai Valley Inn. She is a world-renowned and highly sought-after Spiritual Sage, Energy Alchemist & Guided Meditation Teacher who inspires individuals and communities to bring forward their most authentic and luminous selves, while helping them to remember their own inner magic. She hosts an annual retreat at Miraval International where she has hosted the most oversubscribed and popular events in their history. To be in her presence, is a vibrational attunement and upgrade. This is an amazing opportunity to connect to the heavenly realms through her. Nicola believes that when we release our need to prove ourselves, or “force” our lives, and instead, allow ourselves to just Be, everything in our external realm becomes simpler and more graceful. She supports individuals in remembering this truth in the most loving and light-filled manner. She is a true gift to this world.

Nicola aptly named her event “The Most Delicious Retreat There Ever Was”, as attendees will dance, dream, journal + rest in transformative locations such as Mary Magdalene’s Pergola + Garden at the Ojai Valley Inn, adventure to a secret location in Ojai called Rose Valley, and immerse into Hanuman Gardens while savoring luscious meals and experiences along the way. This is the epitome of a life-changing opportunity, as it will help to restore the body, awaken the creative forces in the mind, and light the spirit with a radiance so bright you’ll revel in your newfound glow. One of Nicola’s dreams for this experience is that in the days, weeks, and months that follow, participants will begin to notice their dreams manifesting, and serendipity kissing their lives in the most extraordinary ways. And of course, their hearts will be more willing and able to dance in endless joy and fun.

The curation + production of event experiences such as this, is a unique offering from Living Wholly that we are deeply excited to embody. We work with private clients to offer our expertise and extensive experience crafting the most exquisite gatherings such as this. With 15 years in event production and partnership management experience, we've curated highly intentional and thoughtful events for many private clients that have supported their brand development and increased their follower engagement.

Nicola Behrman, from 7-OM, is an ideal model of the clients we support – clients who have a vision to inspire and elevate the planet – as they value the magic that occurs during collaboration. Because there are a profound amount of details and logistics that go into the process of curating a meaningful event, we support our clients with insider tips, templates and tools that simplify and facilitate the extraordinary journey of fulfilling their vision. The events we help these clients manifest - experiences such as The Most Delicious Retreat There Ever Was –support to foster human connection and upliftment, while filling attendees with much needed inspiration, vibrancy, and empowerment.

To learn more about The Most Delicious Retreat There Ever Was and join us in October 2018, please send us a message or visit here for more details.

To inquire about Living Wholly’s event consulting services, start here. Feel free to message us for more details.

Come see us in Ojai in October! We'd love to spark magic with you!!!

with joy + inspiration, 

What kisses your skin on the daily? Take notice as it truly has the power to either harm or heal. Skin is the body’s largest organ and it’s essential that we honor our skin as the sacred covering that it is. One of the best ways to engage in this honoring is to utilize high-quality and medicinal essential oils that not only nourish our skin and please our sense of smell, but are absorbed into the body’s bloodstream where they can create miraculous transformations in other areas of the body. Fern Olivia, founder of Ajai Alchemy, has tapped into these numerous potentials for miracles by creating a line of all organic, therapeutic apothecary blends based on the healing power of essential oils.

Fern’s blends can evoke everything from profound self-love, healing, and exploration, to abundant vitality, creativity, and courage. My life has been deeply touched by the extraordinary powers of these oils. We had some time to interview Fern Olivia and dive into the magic of her wisdom. Enjoy hearing about her journey and the Ajai alchemy that she creates with exquisite intention.

 

Interview with Fern Olivia.

Living Wholly: In your words, how are you serving the world and contributing your gifts?

Fern Olivia: During my spiritual awakening, I realized my purpose is to help people embody their most vibrant, healthy, radiant selves so that they may serve the world with confidence! My own journey in healing from a Hashimoto’s hypothyroid condition was my initiation into being inspired to serve others and contribute my wisdom to elevate the collective.

I believe that what you hold back from in life, life will hold back from you. So if you’re not speaking up, sharing your talents with the world, and honoring your truth, your life will likely be a reflection of that. In fact, it’s likely that you’ll be kept small by certain situations, relationships and scenarios. Perhaps you’re being paralyzed by doubts and ‘what-if’ thoughts, or maybe your health isn’t good, your body is rebelling, and you’re struggling to get through each day. It may feel that things are crashing down all around you… but don’t worry - everything is fine. Out of that crash, the phoenix can rise up from the ashes.

Each of us has our own unique gifts to give to the world, and in turn, the world will reciprocate and gift us with a life that loves us back. In terms of health, we’ll have a body that loves us, and serves as a finely-tuned vehicle that we can use as a resource to serve the world and others.  

Through my Thyroid Yoga® program, and my newest passion project Nosara Wellness Guide and Buena Vibra Cleanses - which have been birthed as a result of years of my own personal experiments, research and intimate journey - I have created retreats and experiences through which thousands of women and men have been able to tap into their own self-healing by adapting holistic rituals to support their vitality, and becoming their own intuitive healers.

Living Wholly: What inspired you to create Ajai?

Fern Olivia: When I started to become attuned to the incredible healing potential of nature's medicine cabinet, I became intrigued. I started experimenting with essential oils and was astounded by how effectively they brought me back into balance and cleared up the symptoms I had been struggling with for so long. Every morning, I began applying essential oils to my thyroid (base of neck) and adrenals (lower back) as well as the thyroid and adrenal reflexology points on my feet. In the evenings, I began applying the oils to the bottoms of my feet by massaging them with essential oils and coconut oil on the thyroid and parathyroid points. I experienced colossal changes in how I was feeling.

The simple self-care ritual of rolling a seductive fragrance on my throat and heart chakra every day, while repeating affirmations, has radically changed my life - I knew I had to share this with the world. Inspired by my own practice, my first creation was Grace Alchemy - a rose, sandalwood and patchouli blend that makes you fall in love with yourself over and over again.



Living Wholly: What are the primary intentions behind your products?

Fern Olivia: Ajai Alchemy is an all organic, therapeutic apothecary line based around the healing power of essential oils. Each product is alchemized with a specific intention and created with an intuitive, playful approach, while being determined by and cemented in the science and healing properties of each ingredient.

Essential oils are potent! They can be utilized to enhance each and every moment, and are a direct way to regulate our stress or calming responses. Within a minute, our skin absorbs whatever we put on and delivers it to the bloodstream. Because of this, all the healing wisdom of the plants and botanicals from which the essential oils are derived, are acclimated by our bodies on all levels.

Ajai is all about being our own alchemist… because we know exactly what we need.

I love to play with essential oils, reaching out for whichever ones spark my interest in that particular moment - and this is what I want to encourage every Ajai customer to do. But, we live busy lives and so I have put together the most enticing and synergistic blends for easy on-the-go use.

Our bodies are not ignorant or deceitful - all they need is a pause, some love, and for their needs to be heard. Tuning in to that frequency is an incredible act of love. Ajai is built around ritual. I start every yoga practice by applying Grace Alchemy to my thyroid gland, tracing the infinity sign horizontally and massaging my lymph nodes - it serves as a luxurious reminder that treating ourselves with love is important.

Living Wholly: What is the process of creating each new alchemy? How do you choose the combinations?

Fern Olivia: My process is completely intuitive and based on creating products I use on myself every day. In forming each blend, I ask myself, “What would serve me in this moment?” Sometimes, the answer is geared towards finding energy and mental clarity during the times I have brain fog, or giving myself luxurious love and surrendering into my feminine. The essential oil combinations are inspired by the self-taught knowledge of essential oils I accumulated through curiosity. I’ve always had an attuned nose for fragrances, and I think this gift has served me well.

Living Wholly: Can you explain some of the key benefits of plant medicine?

Fern Olivia: Since ancient times, the plant kingdom has provided rare and powerful extracts and essences that have been prized for their beauty enhancing, medicinal, spiritual, aromatic and therapeutic value.

Aromatic plants, essences and oils have been used for ages in ceremony, religious observances, beauty care, food preparation and preservation, as incense, and for perfumes. Aromatic plants have also been the basis for herbal and botanical medicines and remedies for thousands of years. In fact, they’re the root of today’s pharmaceuticals.

Many new clinical studies and publications have documented the efficacy and benefits of plant medicine, including essential oils. A living plant is a complex system with thousands of interacting chemicals, and many of them work together in synergy – creating a greater impact than the effect of consuming isolated components in single molecule pharmaceuticals.

Living Wholly: How can essential oils support those with autoimmune conditions?

Fern Olivia: After years of struggling against my body and trying a combination of pharmaceutical drugs to cope with Hashimoto’s hypothyroid condition, an autoimmune condition that affects the thyroid, I began experimenting with essential oils. I was intrigued when I became attuned to their incredible healing potential.

At the worst of my symptoms—sluggishness, constant bloating and all-over puffiness, digestive pain, and mental fogginess—I was on a significant dose of thyroid medication, taking up to 175 mcg of Synthroid daily. I had already said farewell to processed foods, gluten, refined sugars, and any ingredients made in a laboratory. But even with this healthy lifestyle and high dosage of thyroid hormone, I still felt awful - even though my tests "looked fine."

To wean off the high dosage of Synthroid, I decided to give essential oils a try. I was astounded by how effectively they brought me back into balance and cleared up the symptoms I had been struggling with.

Using certified organic and therapeutic grade essential oils on a daily basis has the power to provide tremendous healing benefits. These high-quality essential oils are gently distilled from plants that have been patiently harvested at the perfect moment by experienced growers from around the world.

There are hundreds of powerful essential oils that can heal conditions ranging from thyroid disease to chronic congestion, fatigue, weight gain, hormonal imbalances, to autoimmune and chronic inflammatory conditions.

Living Wholly: What are your top three essential oils? And what are their benefits?

Rose

Rose is the highest vibration flower and essential oil, and is a signature scent for love. It immediately carries you to a place of heart-centered awareness and helps you focus on love, which is the ultimate healer. Everything that comes from a place of love is healing, and all healing encompasses love. For this reason, the more love you adorn yourself with, the more healing energy you’ll attract. Rose oil brings peace and tranquility through its delicate aroma.

Sandalwood

Sandalwood is a sacred oil with an allure that invokes high spiritual wisdom and knowledge. It passes on the secrets of the Universe to you, and unlocks the mysteries held within. It can be an excellent oil to use when working with clients, as you’ll reach new depths of insight and uncover the true source of their concerns. It will work this way with you, too. Sandalwood balances physical and mental desires, enhances creativity, and helps you become comfortable with who you are. It is a wonderful aphrodisiac and calms the body and mind.

Patchouli

Patchouli is grounding and brings you back into your body. When you’re cleansing, you may begin to feel ungrounded, and Patchouli will help you get back into your heart, as your thoughts will come from a compassionate, heart-centered space. When you wear Patchouli oil, you’ll feel more stable and balanced.

You’ll find these essential oils in my Grace Alchemy and Grace Hair, Face and Body Oil.

Living Wholly: Why do you feel that it’s important to use organic ingredients?

Fern Olivia: Purity matters—the market is saturated with all kinds of essential oils, so it can be difficult to tell what’s actually pure, organic, and free from harsh chemicals—especially important if you're putting these oils on your skin.

Essential oils are also 50 – 75% more powerful than the herb or plant itself, so a little goes a long way. However, that also means that any pesticides and insecticides from non-organic sources will be rapidly absorbed into your body in concentrated amounts - so choosing organic and/or wildcrafted is essential.

Living Wholly: Where do you source your ingredients from?

Fern Olivia: I source my essential oils from a Certified Master Aromatherapist and Herbalist based in California. She embraces sustainable, organic farming practices that honor farms and their communities, sourcing from the finest oil distilleries and selecting farms from all over the world.

I use all certified organic, sustainably harvested, therapeutic-grade essential oils, and it was important for me to source them from ethical suppliers. When I was creating my brand, I wanted to know exactly what people would be putting on their bodies, and that it was harvested in a sustainable, eco-friendly way. Using sustainably sourced oils means using plants that have been patiently harvested at the perfect moment to be mindful of our precious eco-system.  

Living Wholly: What are some of your favorite rituals that come with your products?

Fern Olivia: Morning face massage with jade roller and a botanical avocado and honey face mask recipe, for radiant skin.

Massaging the face and neck in the morning is an excellent way to de-puff and clear any fluid congestion that may have built up overnight. A jade roller is the ultimate holistic answer to lymphatic drainage for the face. The magic lies within the semi-precious jade itself, since jade remains cold while in contact with the skin, allowing the pores to close and tighten. Jade also naturally emits infrared rays, which warm and increase blood circulation and thin the lymph - the layer of fluid beneath the skin's surface. The physical movement and pressure on the skin also gets the lymph moving and thus, a smooth, serene-looking complexion for yourself.

How-to:

  • Apply a few drops of Radiance Hair, Body, and Face Oil to your face and massage in gently.
  • Use a jade roller on your face, applying minimal pressure. This will help the healing properties of the botanicals in the oil to penetrate the skin for extra smoothing, firming, and pore-reducing results.
  • Next, apply a soothing and hydrating face mask: Smash up a quarter of a ripe avocado with a blob of raw honey and add a few extra drops of coconut and Grace Body Oil for a lovely, sultry fragrance that will last all day.

 

Living Wholly: What are three tips for people who would like to experience radical self-love and luxurious self-care?

One: Put yourself first every morning. Sadhana - or daily practice - is a must for me, and it's a pillar that I talk about in my Thyroid Yoga course. It's a nonnegotiable holy practice that reminds me that I am worthy before I go out into the world — and yes, that means before I turn on my phone and check email or my Instagram feed. This ritual may be the most revolutionary and holy gift you give yourself.

Two: Ask yourself each morning, “How am I choosing to be free today?” Self-love doesn't sing to the tune of how much kale you ate this week, or how many times you had your workout clothes on. Self-love is about how we can relax into ourselves and make space for the freedom to feel, think, and do as we want. If something gives you a kick in your step, puts a cheeky grin on your face, a twinkle in your eye, or gives you a bit more zeal, then please do it! We need more vibrant and alive human beings in the world.

Three: Bow in devotion to the abundance you attract. If you catch yourself using excuses like, “It’s too expensive” or, “I don’t have it in my budget” when you pass on getting a massage or spa treatment, or say no to the retreat you know would be good for your body, soul, and relationships, notice this scarcity mindset with compassion. Then, change the way you give to yourself and say a wholehearted yes to the next beautiful opportunity to take care of yourself. You’ll be surprised at how abundance is welcomed into your life when you decide to fully give yourself the love and adoration you truly deserve.

These daily experiences can provide a deep feeling of stability, warmth, and comfort. I like to view it as cloaking myself with a blanket of love before I step out into the world.

Living Wholly: Is Ajai Alai a mantra that supports your journey? Is this a practice you integrate into your day?

Fern Olivia: In Kundalini yoga, chanting the Ajai Alai mantra for 40 days in your daily sadhana will give you great strength to overcome any obstacle, lifting you from negativity and re-aligning you with the Divine Vortex. It’s something I’ve devoted to chanting and playing every day. During a time when I was feeling stuck and heavy, this mantra lifted me and inspired a major moment of creativity and expansion. When I first created the essential oil blends, I received the divine download to call the brand “Ajai Alchemy” with the intention that my creations would also help you to feel invincible.

Ajai Alai Mantra Meaning:

Ajai Alai – Invincible. Indestructible

Abhai Abai – Fearless. Unchanging

Abhoo Ajoo – Unformed. Unborn

Anaas Akaas – Imperishable. Etheric

Aganj Abhanj – Unbreakable. Impenetrable

Alakkh Abhakkh – Unseen. Unaffected

Akaal Dy-aal – Undying. Merciful

Alaykh Abhaykh – Indescribable. Uncostumed

Anaam Akaam – Nameless. Desireless

Agaah Adhaah – Unfathomable. Incorruptible

Anaa-thay Pramaa-thay – Unmastered. Destroyer

Ajonee Amonee – Beyond birth. Beyond silence

Na Raagay Na Rangay – Beyond love. Beyond color

Na Roopay Na Raykhay – Beyond form. Beyond shape

Akarmang Abharmang – Beyond karma. Beyond doubt

Aganjay Alaykhay – Unconquerable. Indescribable

“Memorize this mantra by heart and start chanting it, and see the situation solved and the opposition dissolved right in your presence. Rather than arguing, questioning, answering and talking, just start chanting mentally. See what happens. I am not telling you that you will not face difficulties, because it’s the faculty of the moon to wax and wane; but whenever you are waxing and waning, and you are being attacked in one way or the other, start chanting it. You will excel. Accepting this is the beauty of every woman.”

— Yogi Bhajan


Living Wholly: What does living wholly mean to you?

Fern Olivia: To me, living wholly is fully embracing the healing food I nourish myself with, the sensual alchemy that kisses my skin, the gorgeous friends I choose to enjoy time with, the sacred home I have created, and the healing experiences I treat myself with every day. Living wholly is taking care of myself in the most loving and kind-hearted way.

Living wholly means living a life which embodies our truest, most authentic self, and helps you feel nourished and fulfilled. Through that fulfillment, you begin to perspire radiance and you become a magnet for beauty. Your life becomes a mirror of everything you nourish yourself with. Your work, your relationships, and your own personal rituals become a holistic retreat that you crave to come home to, again and again. Ultimately, your gift to the world becomes your natural, liberated self-expression, which inspires everyone around you to live fearlessly as well. This has become my mission and my gift, and it is so easy to give fully from my heart when I am living wholly in my jungle home in Nosara, Costa Rica.

Living Wholly: How can we connect with you?

Fern Olivia: I’m on instagram @fernolivia and Facebook and I love making new connections and sharing stories. Ajai is curated in Living Wholly's e-commerce collection. Peruse our line of alchemy and experience the beauty of essential oils.

You can learn more about me at www.fernolivia.com and explore retreats, cleanses, and teacher trainings with me in Nosara, Costa Rica at www.nosarawellnessguide.com

Fern’s insights into the power of utilizing nature’s medicine cabinet and also, living a life that is enhanced by presence, endless waves of love, and healing rituals consistently inspires me to notice and course correct as I wax and wane. Devotion to self love and freedom emanates from Fern when I see her in Los Angeles, Nosara, Aspen and everywhere our paths cross. This is one of her gifts.

Click here to explore the life-changing line of Ajai blends. Enjoy rolling these heavenly oils onto your skin and relishing in the incredible healing, transformation, and revelations they offer you.

with humility and love,



*This interview has been edited and condensed.

Tenacity.

August 22, 2018

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Tenacity: The quality or state of being persistent. Strength of purpose, resolve, staying power, and patience. (Merriam-Webster definition.)

A dear friend once told me that being an entrepreneur takes unwavering tenacity. That was the one word she encouraged me to hold in my heart as I continued on the journey. Thank Goddess. Over the years, I’ve called that superpower forth not just once but multiple times daily.

I used to think tenacity was primarily related to work and there were subtle layers of resistance in there. The truth is that tenacity is staying power, persistence and strength of purpose defined in the dictionary. A recent “health opportunity” aka health issue has shifted my personal definition of tenacity. Most recently, I forgot about applying that translation to my wellbeing...my ENTIRE  being. It was like the true sense of the word, tenacity, for the crevices and depths of my well-being could only be applied after all the work boxes had been checked off. Well, that’s changing.

I’m currently navigating a health situation that is still filled with unknowns. But, one thing that is certain is that I will be tenacious in my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. I have a whole-being resolve to step into vibrant health and wellness and will do whatever I need to do to get there. It may look like resting more than usual versus getting up and going on a super early hike. It may mean drinking lots of wheatgrass and juicing my own juice versus complaining that we don’t have a Moon Juice in Ojai. It may look like slower walks in the Nature Preserve versus trail runs. It may include more time swimming in the watering holes, going to the hot springs, playing guitar, posting up at the beach and more picnics in the park. I might even bike more often to fulfill that sense of child-like joy smelling the fragrant of citrus. I am slowing down. I dream of enjoying the quietude, immersing into Nature and presencing myself to the flow that wafted me into this vortex of Ojai in the first place.

Oh and did I mention giving myself permission to say no to personal and professional obligations that don’t feel in alignment. This one is key to fully embracing the present moment trusting that this curve ball could end up being a home run if I allow it to be. This is tenacity.

I’ve made the commitment to continue putting one foot in front of the other with my health, work, and relationships. But, these steps will be slower. They won’t be hurried or rushed through as I often experienced in the past. I will tenaciously slow down and create clear boundaries, I will tenaciously honor my intuition, and I will tenaciously take a stand for myself.

This realization – that tenacity and slowing down could go hand in hand – kind of blew my mind. It awakened my awareness of the magic that occurs when a gentle and balanced tenacity is applied to life.

Here are some ways I’m going to work on bringing more of this magnificence into my life. Thank you, Heidi Stevens, our featured guest on the “Virtual Speaker Series" on Monday for a few of these reminders.

  • Taking 3 deep breaths to tune into inspiration before I engage in any task.
  • Getting quiet and listening to what would be most supportive for me when I have the urge to bail on something.
  • Trusting my body when it tells me to put work aside and rest.
  • Letting go of perfectionism and trusting divine timing.
  • Remembering that the slower I go, the more I get done. When I’m moving too fast, I miss details, I am not as intentional which means the less I get done.
  • Becoming really clear on my intentions with other people and myself.
  • Create + state affirmations that rewire my neuro pathways
  • Standing up for myself and creating clear boundaries.
  • Having the courage to honor who I authentically am and being okay with that - even if I experience occasional backlash.
  • Surrounding myself with people who see me, honor me and inspire me. They have tenacity and I am inspired by them.
  • Being unapologetic about my deepest desires.
  • Remembering that my value is not based on how much I achieve. I’m valuable just by showing up.

And I will. I will continue to show up. I will continue to be tenacious in stepping into the practice of living a whole, vibrant, and grace filled life. And for now, my steps will be slow, because that’s what I need and deeply desire.

I have an exciting sense that this slow tenacity is going to help me answer the questions, “Who do I want to be remembered as?”, “Do I want to thrive or suffer” and “How do I want to experience my life?” then live a life that reveals my answers. Join me for the journey? We are all in this together.

With humility + trust,

all photography by Kelley Raye.

It’s all too easy to forget about the heart + soul of business. Many of us get hung up on the nuts and bolts and lose sight of the bigger picture – we get disconnected from our deeper intention and the essence of what we are creating. But, Heidi Stevens, Business + Mindset Coach, helps entrepreneurs reconnect with the soul of business, and learn how to blend strategy with spirituality.

Heidi has an invaluable gift for taking entrepreneurs on a journey where they discover spiritual alignment and business savvy strategies. This journey helps entrepreneurs shift their business mindset, overcome obstacles, build powerful teams, and attract abundance in all areas of life. We were fortunate to interview Heidi and dive deeper into the magic that lays at the intersection of spirituality and strategy, and how to use both to create the life you most desire.

Interview with Heidi Stevens:

Living Wholly: In your words, how are you serving the world and contributing your gifts?

Heidi Stevens: I’ve always had a knack for business and have been driven to have a successful business. It’s something that’s always come fairly easily to me, and I wanted to help other women build successful businesses, make money, and be empowered. I also help them do this in a way that’s in alignment with who they are. This work is like a dream come true for me.

Living Wholly: What inspired you to start coaching Creative Women Entrepreneurs?

Heidi Stevens: My background is in real estate, so working with creative women entrepreneurs might seem like an odd niche, but what I’ve found is that creative women need my support. These women are so good at what they do, whether they’re stylists, architects, artists, etc. but they often lack a thriving business mindset. So, they need my support and are very open to my holistic approach, specifically around spirituality and shifting that business mindset.

Living Wholly: What is the intention with your recently launched podcast, The Soul of Business?

Heidi Stevens: The podcast is a way for me to share my message, support my community, and grow my audience. I have so much to say and while I love Facebook live, and other mediums like it, a podcast feels like something that everyone is on. It’s a great way for me to get out more of the content I have to offer.

 

Living Wholly: What teachers have you worked with and/or currently work with to inspire and support your evolution in consciousness?

Heidi Stevens: I’ve been a lifelong learner and have had so many healers, gurus, teachers, mentors, etc. You name it, I’ve done it. My husband used to joke that I had Team Heidi as I’ve had so many people who have supported me in different ways. But, over the years, as I’ve gotten healthier and more in tune with my decisions, I don’t necessarily need Team Heidi anymore.

Although I no longer have Team Heidi, I’m still constantly working with teachers and mentors and specifically seek out people that have a spiritual, personal development mindset background. That’s not always easy to find but I’m dedicated to seeking them out and working with them.

I’ve learned that every relationship is different and that I can’t expect everything from one person. Because of this I invest in a few different people, depending on what I'm needing at any given time. For example, I’m currently in two different mastermind groups. I feel like a relationship with a mentor is very unique and personal and its all about finding the person that best resonates with you.

Living Wholly: In your experience, what is one of the most common reasons that women feel disempowered in business?

Heidi Stevens: At the core, it’s a lack of self-worth and self-confidence. We’re in a time where everything is possible, but it hasn’t been that long that we’ve been encouraged to be entrepreneurs. If our mothers worked, they often worked in the corporate world and weren’t starting their own businesses.

So for many of us, we don’t have anyone showing us the way - we don’t have a roadmap. It can be easy to get stuck in the way things were, and minimize our sense of self-worth by wondering if what we have to say and share really matters, and if we can charge people for that. I think that because [the current landscape of business] is all fairly new we have to be willing to write our own stories and rules - that takes a lot of courage and strength, and can be scary.

 

Living Wholly: What are three of the biggest blocks people commonly have when birthing a business, and your thoughts on how to work through them?

  • A lack of self worth and self-confidence. A great way to move past this block is to surround yourself with people that believe in what you’re doing and will support and encourage you along the way. Set yourself up for success by the people you surround yourself with.
  • Don’t try and do everything yourself. If you want to start a business it’s going to take some outsourcing and investing in support. It takes a lot to learn how to manage all the moving parts of a new business, which is why every new business requires some start up capital to use for this professional support.
  • Don’t treat your business like a hobby. If you’re only working on your new business on the side, your mindset isn’t going to be 100% dedicated to its success. You need to be dedicated.

Living Wholly: What is one key practice that women can implement to shift their money mindset?

Heidi Stevens: Get clear on what you desire and where you want to go. Answer the questions, “What is the money that I want to make? What is the vibration that I want to feel? Where is the home that I want to live in? Etc.”

Then, spend as much time as possible in that energy field. Ask yourself, “How would I feel if this was already done?” and feel that in every cell of your body. This starts to shift your mind into what’s possible and new ideas for how to make money start to come in because you’re living in a different vibration.

 

Living Wholly: What are tips for tapping into the energy of receiving?

Heidi Stevens: Everything starts with an intention. So, set an intention of learning to receive and of receiving more often. Receiving is a very feminine, intuitive, and spiritual place to be in, so the more you start to open yourself to the things that you love and the things that make you feel good, and spend more time in your feminine, you enhance your receiving energy.

You should also visualize the things you want coming to you with ease, and be willing to take the action that will get you there.

Living Wholly: What is one recommendation for those wanting to break through limiting beliefs in regards to their business?

Heidi Stevens: When it comes to limiting beliefs half of the process of overcoming them is having the awareness of what they are. We’re often unclear on the content of our limiting beliefs because we’re always pushing them down. Instead, allow these limiting thoughts to come forward and recognize them - let them have a voice and start developing a loving relationship with them. Love on those parts of yourself so they can begin to heal.

Living Wholly: What is a daily practice that supports you with coming back to your center, personally and professionally?

Heidi Stevens: I have four-year-old and a one-month-old so I give myself full permission to not have any set practice that I do every day! That being said, I have a toolbox that I can pull from at any given time. If I find myself feeling off center, I have to remind myself to pull out that toolbox. Then, its up to me to figure out which tool I need to use at any given point, instead of trying to use every single one of them, every day.

My list of tools includes things like exercise, being in nature, mediation, visualization, a bath, journaling, writing affirmations, reading, and spending time with my husband. All these things fill my tank.

 

Living Wholly: What does living wholly mean to you?

Heidi Stevens: To me, living wholly means living with intention. It’s about bringing awareness to what you’re doing. It’s not about living a perfect life or always being balanced, but making a conscious choice about how you want to live your life.

So, for example, if you’re in a season of being really motivated and inspired and are wanting to put in 70-80 hours per week to get something off the ground, then awesome. But, if you’re in a season of being completely burnt out and need to take a day or a week to unplug, that’s also great. It’s about being in touch with what you need and owning it. Just do you and own it.

Living Wholly: How can people learn more about your offerings, and work with you?

Heidi Stevens: Visit HeidiStevensInc.com, or connect with me on Instagram at @HeidiStevensInc and on Facebook at @HeidiStevensInc

If you would like to learn more about the magic that occurs when business strategy meets spirituality, and transform your business mindset, tune in to our live call with Heidi Stevens on Monday, August 20, 6.00 pm pst on our "Virtual Speaker Series" LIVE via Zoom. With support from Heidi, we can open our world to an inspiring new realm of possibilities.

Register here to confirm your complimentary spot and receive the pre-worksheet to receive the most value from this virtual workshop. We look forward to seeing you on the Zoom.

with gratitude,

p.s. On the webinar, Heidi is giving away two of her bundles!!! The Money Bundle (a $399 value) includes 16 videos ranging from 5-20 minutes to help you uplevel your vibration around money. In these videos, Heidi takes you through the practical strategies she uses as well as meditations and visualizations to help you get clarity around your money story, let go of limiting beliefs, leave overwhelm and anxiety behind, and attract abundance into your life! 

The Bosslady Backend Bundle ( a $449 value) is a collection of tutorials that will walk you through the exact steps for setting up the “musts” to get your business foundation up and running. This includes graphics for social media, email list tools, funnels end more! No more guessing, no more spending time trying to figure out how to work these applications, no more paying someone else to train themselves. 

 You don't want to miss this one!!! Xoxo



I recently made a commitment. I committed to taking off numerous days at a time, during my vacation to the southeast coast, to unplug, connect with my daughter + family, and practice the much-coveted skill of being in the present moment. And then, I promptly broke that commitment.

As an entrepreneur, I’m responsible for keeping the momentum going for numerous manifestations of ideas, visions + intentions, and fully unplugging for more than 24-hours just wasn’t happening. But, the desire was still there – the desire to let myself be on vacation, in the truest sense of the word. One that seems to be a rarity for most entrepreneurs.

So, as I write this enjoying the summer, I am playing around with the fine art of balance - the fine art of honoring both my personal and familial needs, and the needs of my business. And it isn’t easy, y’all – but it’s worth it.

One of my biggest breakthroughs during this journey into vacationing (real vacationing!) is realizing that it’s not “all or nothing.” I can commit to shorter bouts of time to fully be in the present moment, to hang with my daughter, to play in the ocean – even if it’s just for four hours. I can do that.

And that’s a truth for so many of us, isn’t it? No matter how much we want to drift off into a blissful work-free zone for days at a time, there are often some essential to-dos that just won’t go away – they must be seen and honored. But, in between those essential to-dos you can totally give yourself permission to turn off your phone for a few hours, say yes to an afternoon at the spa, or go for a drive with no destination. As Anne Lamott says so truthfully "Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes including you." Personally, I need more than a few minutes but sometimes even that pause to get quiet is exactly what we all need at the very least.

We deserve these mini-vacations - we need them - especially as summer prepares to fade into fall. And, these mini-vacations can range from a few minutes sipping chilled tea and sitting in nature, to exploring a new land over a long weekend. Don’t let this fun and liberating season of summer pass you by without actually experiencing fun and liberation. Here are a few ideas to inspire you...


Sitting in silence. It’s often tricky to switch from work-mode to play-mode, and vice versa. To support these transitions, sit in silence for a few minutes and visualize your mind shifting into the space that is best aligned with your next endeavor. It supports me to chant a mantra which allows the mind to quiet. Mine is Sat Nam. Another great mantra is So Hum. Repeat a mantra that resonates for you over and over and experience the thoughts dissolving.


Breathing in essential oils. Essential oils are like magical wands that can tap you with rejuvenation, inspiration, creativity, physical relief, passion, and so much more. Make a “magical toolkit” by purchasing your favorite essential oils. Then, when you’re in need of whatever it is that a certain oil promotes, put a drop or two on your pulse points, or in an essential oil diffuser, close your eyes, and allow the scent to transport you to where you need to go. I often use the Radiance Alchemy Activated Roll on Essential Oil Fragrance and it never fails to balance my emotions and fortify peace in my body.


Watching a candle. I often find that one of the surest ways to awaken awareness and connection to my soul is by lighting a candle and simply watching the flame. This has become an especially transformative ritual since I started using the clean + lovely Pure Plant Home candles. They are deeply healing + medicinal while applying this highly meditative process.

 

Treating yourself to a picnic. Take advantage of the fresh foods, warm air, and vibrant foliage of the summer by packing up an assortment of delicious treats and heading to your favorite nook in nature – even if that’s a rooftop garden in the city! Invite a few loved ones, or use this as an opportunity to take yourself on a date.


Cooling down with iced tea. Heat often ignites the fire within, and my my has it been hot this summer. So, to cool off all your layers, brew some tea, let it cool for half an hour, mix with ice, and sit back to enjoy. Naked Sage Tea (especially the Tulsi Ginger Om blend) is my go-to when I’m craving some cooling and divine ingredients.


Getting away for a few nights. Kick your vacation-mode up a notch by selecting a somewhat-nearby destination you’d love to explore, and going there. Even if you just have two nights to get away, a change in scenery can open your mind to fresh ideas, your heart to deeper wells of love, and your body to the blissful feels that accompany relaxation and exploration.

 

I recently saw a holistic doctor that reminded me that these types of choices – choices that allow us to honor our need for self-care – take us into the feminine. Awakening our feminine, whether we’re male or female, makes it easier to unplug and enjoy the true essence of summer vacation because it allows us to live from our heart, awakens our creativity and offers the ideal space to receive grace, healing, and a lovely sense of flow.

I’m feeling a tingle of knowingness that allowing myself to take these mini-vacations while I’m on my big vacation, and fully embracing my feminine energy, will prevent me from returning home feeling like I need another vacation. Can anyone relate or desire to give this a try with me?

with permission + love,

p.s. If you want to learn more about this topic, join us on Monday, August 20 for the Virtual Speaker Series with Heidi Stevens, Business + Mindset Coach. The topic is "The Soul of Business: Where Strategy meets Spirituality". Heidi will take you on a journey inside the spiritually aligned, business savvy strategies that she's used over and over to shift her mindset into shape, overcome obstacles, build powerful teams for businesses and attract abundance in all areas of life. She has found that the magic lies at the intersection of spirituality and strategy. Heidi will share ways to use both to create the life you most desire. This call will support you with the art of unplugging and cultivating more balance. You don't want to miss this one! Register to confirm your spot here. 

When I dove deep on my health journey in 2012 - 2013, I became acutely aware of the products + ingredients I was putting on my body daily. With the skin being the largest organ, the truth is that our skin absorbs everything we put onto it and it goes directly into the bloodstream. Through the Optimum Health Institute, I was educated + learned how significantly this effects my health + wellbeing. The result: total shock. As the old saying goes "Ignorance is Bliss". Well, I find myself saying that often. Once you know information, there is no turning back. The facts are facts. My intention is to thrive and live at radiant health - inside + out. In order to achieve that deep desire, choosing products consciously is key. Since my health journey began, my shopping includes looking at ingredients more closely and tuning into my intuition more often. I have to say, it is quite a rich and rewarding experience as I often discover artisanal creations and learn about makers that are so deeply committed to supporting us on this journey of optimum health. It is quite the gift. Am I perfect with the products I use? Of course, not. Although I am someone who is highly conscious about my health, I am constantly seeking inspiration and meeting people that take it to the next level. Meet Tina Rocca, Founder of Pure Plant Home. We met years ago and she continues to remind me, educate me and fully wake me up to the toxins that sneak their way in through seemingly harmless products.



Tina Rocca is not just a wellspring of knowledge for the ingredients we do and do not want to put on our skin, but has done a total immersion into the ingredients we’re breathing in, specifically through candles. Her answer to the endless brands touting “clean, natural, and pure” candles that are actually dripping with toxins, was to create her own products – an extraordinary + medicinal line of candles that are truly clean, and fill our homes with heavenly, therapeutic scents. We had the honor of chatting with Tina to discover how we can all live a healthier, more vibrant life by making simple shifts in the products we use.

Living Wholly: In your words, tell us about Pure Plant Home.

Tina Rocca: One of the most important aspects of Pure Plant Home is that I make my own wax using coconut oil - the same oil you can buy at the store and eat. I don’t buy my wax from a wax manufacturer because I don’t know what’s in it. Often, wax that manufactures claim is “coconut wax” only has a small percentage of coconut in it. So, I decided to make my own formulas. I’ve been an aroma therapist for 25 years and I do it all myself to ensure I know what’s in the products. Because of this, my customers trust me, knowing that I only offer high quality and natural products.

Living Wholly: What inspires you every day to get up and do your work?

Tina Rocca: My children. We all have sensitive skin and my daughter had asthma, which I cured through getting her on good health and exercise programs – and not using fragrance. My kids have never used any products that use fake fragrances.

Living Wholly: Tell us about your experience with ingredients and how you are educated on this topic.

Tina Rocca: I have my Bachelors degree in Kinesiology from California State University, Northridge and I have my Masters degree in Exercise Science. So, I've always been very involved in health and fitness. I’ve been involved in the candle and essential oil industry for over 25 years and used to give my custom-made essential oil blends to my clients, who always asked to buy more.

From there, I started my first candle company, which I sold when I decided to stay home for a few years when my children were young. During this time, I developed a bath and body line, which included candles made out of coconut wax. These products led to the founding of Pure Plant Home.

Living Wholly: What is the difference between fake fragrance and essential oils?

Tina Rocca: Essential oils are concentrates of plants. They’re extracted from the aromatic parts of raw plant material such as flowers, leaves, wood, bark, roots, seeds, or citrus rind, through steam distillation. They’re live materials that have phytohormones, in addition to anti-viral, antiseptic, and other really good qualities.

Fake fragrance, on the other hand, is synthetic because it’s made in a lab. It’s created to mimic the smell of a rose, for example. It’s just a copy – it’s not real and has no medicinal value. These synthetic fragrances are made with hundreds of chemicals and are often petro-chemically based, which isn’t healthy. And, these fragrances are not regulated.

There was a bill passed a long time ago that says that the term “fragrance” can be used on a label without the company having to specify what that fragrance is composed of, because it’s a “trade secret.” Plus, there are so many things in the fragrance they don’t have room on the label to divulge what’s actually in it.

Living Wholly: What is the difference between essential oils and plant extracts?

Plant extracts are an infusion of plant matter and water, or plant matter and oil. To make plant extract you take the plant matter and steep it in water or oil for a couple of weeks. Essential oils are more concentrated. So, plant extract has no medicinal or therapeutic value, but it’s better than a fake fragrance because it isn’t composed of a bunch of harsh chemicals.  

Living Wholly: What should we avoid when trying to buy healthier products?

Tina Rocca: Always avoid products with petrochemicals, anything with the term “fragrance” in the ingredients, and products that contain aluminum.

Living Wholly: What is really in the average candle?

Tina Rocca: Most candles that say they’re made with soy wax are usually a combination of soy, palm, and paraffin. The better a candle burns, the more additives it has in it. Numerous candle manufactures put chemicals in their wax to make it last longer, and put fake coloring in to enhance the color. Many of the most expensive candles have the worst chemicals in them, including synthetic fragrances.

Something else that candle manufacturers often use in their products is something called “sludge” that comes from China. [Sludge is a by-product of petroleum.]


Living Wholly: How can a person create a more wellness centered, healthy lifestyle?

Tina Rocca: Pay attention to the ingredients you use on a daily basis. Look at things like deodorant and body lotion. These are both products that are slathered on your largest organ [your skin] many times a day and enter your body through your pores. You have to check out what’s in the products that you’re using and switch them out for healthier alternatives. You want to make sure the products that you’re using are non-toxic, and free of petrochemicals and synthetic fragrances.

Another product to pay attention to is lipstick. You can ingest a significant amount of lead through lipstick – if you apply lipstick throughout the day you’re getting about 20% of the daily amount of lead that’s considered safe. It’s important to look for a mineral based lipstick that doesn’t have FD&C colors, or fragrant ingredients.

In addition, perfume, laundry detergent, diapers, and other products that often contain fragrances should be swapped out for fragrant-free options.   

Living Wholly: What are three simple tips for healthy, holistic living?

Tina Rocca: Eat well, rest, and exercise. But, if you’re doing these things and still feel like you’re lagging, that’s a sign that you have some toxins in your body – toxins that are preventing your from experiencing optimal health.

Pay attention to what goes in your body, what goes on your body, how you move your body, and the thoughts you have going through your mind - the narrative you have with your inner voice make a big difference. These things are all imperative to living a healthier, longer life.

Tina’s expertise has inspired me to take my time when investigating the ingredients in the products I use, and put my money where my health is by only purchasing products that truly honor the wellbeing of their clients, by only using ingredients that enhance, instead of hinder, their vitality.

Click here to explore the incredible line of Pure Plant Home candles. Enjoy lighting a candle even more knowing you are promoting healing with these divine ingredients! 

in radiant health,

 

*This interview has been edited and condensed.
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