Introducing: Orange County Happsters Squad Leader, Jenna Stahnke

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The first Orange County Happsters Squad has officially launched with Jenna Stahnke as its fearless leader!

If you’re new to the party and haven’t heard about Happsters Squads, here’s a little bit about them:

Happsters Squads bring together women who live in the same city to practice the 4 G’s of happiness together: Gathering, Gratitude, Growth and Giving. You can learn all about it and join one near you here.

Here’s a Q&A with our Orange County Leader, Jenna, so you can get to know her a bit:

1. What are 3 things that make you happy?
I’m a pretty simple and laid back person so the 3 things that make me the happiest are my fiancé, the beach, and puppies! We don’t have a dog yet but if there’s one in sight, I will be petting it!

2. What is your favorite book or podcast right now?
I just finished reading “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero (I highly recommend that one) and I’m now reading “Resilient” by Rick Hanson. I love reading books that lift me up and pattern interrupt the everyday stuff going on! Also, Jordan Younger’s, aka The Balanced Blonde on Instagram, “Soul on Fire” podcast is AMAZING. She’s constantly trying new wellness tips + tricks, sharing other’s experiences, and is pro at keeping it real.

3. What is your dream job or are you currently doing it?
My dream job is something I’m already doing actually! I’ve always wanted my own time + freedom to be on my terms and be able to explore whatever passions I want; so right after college I jumped into the freelance marketing world and have been loving it! I currently work remote for an amazing startup in San Francisco. We are building a tool that integrates into Instagram and helps influencers build their business. It’s been such a creative passion of mine to work in the Instagram space and help others as well. This type of work allows me to travel with my fiancé, who is an entrepreneur, speaker, and author. We are always on-the-go and I love it!
I’m really big into fitness and nutrition so I think eventually I will move more into that space. It would be amazing to become a health coach one day and help others!

4. What’s your go-to show on Netflix right now?
I’m a really diverse Netflix watcher! I’m either binging on mystery / murder shows or Say Yes to the Dress. I’m a sucker for really bad tv too lol.

5. What are your favorite things to do in Orange County?
Since moving to OC about a year ago, I’ve been obsessed with trying out all the new fitness and wellness places! That is such a popping trend right now and I’m loving it. From finding new juice places and cryotherapy spots to sweating at a new studio, there is endless spots for me to try!

6. What is a secret special talent you have?
I secretly do calligraphy for fun / sometimes for business. I taught myself a few years ago and find it so fascinating. I created an Etsy shop just for fun and have even sold a few pieces on there! I plan to do all my wedding with DIY calligraphy pieces that I create.

7. What is your favorite affirmation/quote?
“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.” – Tony Robbins
I love this quote because it embodies everything that is important. The only way to impact more people and give back is by becoming more, becoming the best version of ourselves.

8. Where do you find you are most at peace?
I just moved into a new home with my fiancé and it is my favorite place to relax and find peace. We call it our sanctuary! We have held many family gatherings, game nights, and out-of-towners. It truly holds so many memories and I’m excited to make more in it with the OC Happsters Squad!

Check out some of the photos from the first OC event:

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Interested in joining a Happsters Squad near you? Click here.

You can find Jenna on Instagram at @jennastahnke

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Harpreet Dayal on Creativity, Writing a Children’s Book & Self Love

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Today, I’m excited to share with you an interview with the lovely Harpreet Dayal. I came across her poetry on Instagram a few months ago and love the way she mixes meaningful quotes with flowers in her photos. Enjoy ♥

  1. Tell us a little about yourself!

My name is Harpreet M Dayal and I was born and raised in London, England. I have lived in London for the majority of my life until I got married and moved to Canada. In my previous life, I worked in the world of finance. Shifting my life to a new country gave me the opportunity to explore my creative side. So while I waited for my immigration to be approved, I wrote, and wrote, and wrote.

  1. What does a typical day look like for you?

I wake up as early as I can but I will wholeheartedly admit that I’m not a morning person! I am trying to instill mindfulness exercises into my daily routine as they help me de-stress when life gets busy. Currently, I work for a non-profit organization called the Asian Heritage Foundation as the project coordinator for the “Missing Chapters” project. This job entails many different elements so I am not stuck at a desk all day. I reach out to a lot of the local community and I collect and write stories from pan Asian Canadians who have or are making a significant impact in southern Alberta. Most days I go where a story takes me. This means every day is different, which is great because it keeps things interesting but I also like to keep myself grounded and have a better routine. I spend time working out, meditating or practicing yoga in the evening. I love cooking and spending time with my husband and dog Coco after a busy day.

  1. How did you get involved in writing children’s books?

One day, an idea came to me for a story. It was about a shy little worm named Wilbert. There was a strong feeling inside of me to explore this story and start writing. It was right around the time when I knew that I would be moving to Canada and the story began to mirror my own journey of leaving what was familiar and starting life in a new country. However, since childhood, reading was of the utmost importance to me. To this day, authors like Roald Dahl still hold a very special place in my heart.

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  1. I love how you pair your quotes with flowers on your Instagram. How did you come up with that concept?

I started my Instagram page over two years ago but before I started it I wanted to make sure I post something unique. After talking to some creative friends for inspiration the idea for pressed flowers came up. This was perfect because flowers symbolise growth and that is exactly what I was doing at the time. The big changes in my life were opening up a new world to me, I was out of my comfort zone and I was growing. I still am. At the time I didn’t see many Instagrammers using flowers and I thought it was unique unlike now, where it has become very popular.

  1. Do you ever get writer’s block and if so, how do you overcome it?

This is something that definitely I experience and so do many other writers. What helps me get through this is the use of “writing prompts”. I will jot down whatever comes to mind pertaining to an idea, or a picture or even a memory. Sometimes I will just step away from the writing desk and take a walk or listen to music. For me, the best ideas come to when I’m not writing.

  1. Where do you find you are the most at peace?

There is a profound sense of tranquility when I immerse myself in nature. Perhaps growing up in a busy city like London has something to do with it, but when I take in a breath of crisp mountain air, a sense of calm comes over me like no other. I’m really grateful to be living in Alberta, where we are so close to the mountains. The natural beauty in the part of the world is enthralling. In light of this, I try to spend as much time in nature as I can. Whether it’s hanging out in the park with my dog Coco or going for hikes in the mountains.

  1. Are there any mantras that are speaking to you right now that you say to yourself?

I feel that even though it has been two years now since my move to another country, I am still transitioning. Change isn’t easy and sometimes it is a longer process than you imagined. I am still finding my purpose or calling. I am still trying to settle into what the universe is presenting me with. I do believe that things tend to fall into place and I am just where I need to be as difficult it may be to accept sometimes.

I am going through some personal changes in my life. I don’t have particular mantras but I have instilled practices into my life to help me with this phase. I try to practice a lot of self-love and self- belief and confidence in myself that everything will turn out okay. With the help of my husband, I spend time meditating and visualizing where I want to be, I remember my successes and how far I have come and I write down three things I am grateful for before bed.

  1. How do you unwind and relax at the end of the day?

I realize this might be a bit of a cliché, but I’m also somewhat of a homebody who loves to curl up on the couch with a blanket and watch something on Netflix. I mean, who doesn’t?

I also love to cook, sing and dance; sometimes all at once!

  1. What’s next for you?

I don’t want to say too much but there are some exciting projects on hold that I would like to explore next year when things settle a little in my personal life.

  1. How can people find you online?

The best place to find me would be on my Instagram page: @harpreet.m.dayal and Facebook page: www.facebook.com/harpreetmdayal

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This interview is part of Happsters Happy Questions, an ongoing series of interviews that take a peek inside the lives of inspiring women around the world.

Ladies: Are you looking for like-minded, positive friends? Apply to join a Happsters Squad in your city! New squads are opening up in 2018 ❤

Elissa Goodman on Holistic Nutrition, Healing & Wellness Trends

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I had the pleasure of meeting Elissa Goodman at a recent wellness event I attended and knew I had to interview her from the moment I met her. She is a holistic nutritionist and lifestyle cleanse expert and has an incredible story to share. Enjoy ♥

1. Were you interested in holistic nutrition before you became diagnosed with cancer?

My interest was piqued from visiting the Rancho La Puerta health ranch with my mom in my teen years (she was asthmatic and these yearly visits transformed her life). In the 70’s, my mom took sugar out of the house and she was a bit ahead of her time. Although, I hated it, these things certainly stuck with me. You don’t want to have to think about those things, but ultimately they come back to you when you need it and that’s really what it was for me. This foundation was laid in my youth and came back into my life when I was ready to receive it.

2. Once you received your diagnosis, what steps did you take to explore holistic alternatives that you thought might help you?

My diagnosis really changed the course of my life. Up until that point, I was living a fast-paced life, existing on takeout, sushi, and stress was the daily norm. It didn’t take a lot of time after I was diagnosed with cancer to get into juicing, plant-based diet, therapy, yoga, colonics, and acupuncture. These felt more natural and healing then chemo and radiation (I opted out of chemo and did a shorter version of radiation). I went full speed ahead with these practices and continue to do so to this day. I was lucky to have a fresh juice shop in my area which is still is there today. I started drinking straight carrot juice and in time, gradually expanded to adding greens and other nutrients to my juices. I loved how I felt after yoga and getting into therapy for the first time in my life was a hard process, but really changed my life.

3. What was your biggest takeaway after beating cancer?

You can heal anything. Cancer was a tap on my shoulder telling me that the way I was living wasn’t working. If you provide the right environment, the body CAN heal and wants to heal. I became a seeker of knowledge and still commit myself to getting to the root cause of any health issue so I help others to do so the same.

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4. What do you eat in a typical day now?

I start my day with a Bulletproof Matcha or Coffee (depending on the day and the amount of caffeine I want!), next is a green juice (with no fruit) and flax seeds. Lunch is typically a raw salad with leafy greens lots of veggies, seeds and a vegan protein. I like to eat dinner with my family and have something warm and seasonal with either another vegan protein (tempeh is a big hit in my house), lots of green veggies, and a gluten free whole grain or 5 oz. piece of wild salmon. I stick to the rule of adding fats, greens, lean proteins, and complex carbs to make a complete dinner.

5. What is your favorite wellness trend right now?

Mindfulness. We’re all moving a million miles an hour. I’m continuously reminded how much I need to slow down and I think we all need to be a little more mindful. It shouldn’t be a trend, it should be a timeless habit, but I’m happy to see a focus on it!

6. What podcast or book are you loving lately?

I like Mind Body Green’s Podcast, That’s So Retrograde, and Lewis Howes’ “The School of Greatness”. I go through phases of reading, looking forward to The Medical Medium’s next book release on Thyroid Disease and just finished Dr. Aviva Romm’s book on Thyroid Health and it was fascinating!

7. What is your favorite mantra right now and why?

Everything happens for a reason.

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8. Do you have any morning rituals you consistently stick to?

I wake up and drink 16 ounces of water religiously (I keep it by my bedside to make it really easy to do so). I like to read my friend, Ryan Weiss’s “Waking Up with Ryan” emails to set my intention for the day.

9. How can people work with you to cleanse their own bodies and lives?

I want information on to be accessible to everyone, if you can’t come in and see me in-person for a session or don’t live in Los Angeles and can’t participate in my cleanse program, I post endless healthy recipes on my website www.elissagoodman.com as well as all the latest wellness topics. I also use my Instagram as a platform to share all my favorite products, recipes, health tips, supplement recommendations. You can also find my show The Elissa Goodman Show on YouTube, this is where I interview “wellness warriors” about how they’ve healed (lots of great tips for everyone in these interviews!).

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You can follow along on Elissa’s journey on Instagram at @elissagoodman and visit her website at http://www.elissagoodman.com.

This interview is part of Happsters Happy Questions, an ongoing series of interviews that take a peek inside the lives of inspiring women around the world.

Sophie Jaffe from Philosophie Superfoods on Standing up for Your Beliefs, Sacred Morning Quiet Time & Waffles

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I’m honored to share with you an interview that I did with raw food chef, Sophie Jaffe. I first heard her on one of my favorite podcasts, Almost 30 and have loved her ever since. Enjoy ♥

1. How did you decide to start your brand Philosophie and what is it?

I decided to start my brand, Philosophie Superfoods, one day while on vacation in I Israel, when I was floating in the dead sea with my husband Adi. I had been a private chef and created cleanses for many clients. It would drive me crazy to be in the middle of a making a smoothie, or about to prepare a meal, and realize I was out of just ONE of my superfoods. I was tired of depending so much time driving all over LA searching for Maca, or Cacao, or Reishi, and wanted the ease and convenience of having a nourishing blend of superfoods all rolled into one package!

2. When you picture your happiest life, what do you see?

I’m so lucky to say my happiest life isn’t far from what I experience now, tons of support, beautiful humans, lots of laughter and joy. When I walk myself through my “dream” scenario, I actually laugh because it’s very much similar to what my reality is now. I suppose feeling more financially stable would be nice and also traveling more as a family. Otherwise, I’m beyond blissed out most of the time! So grateful.

3. What attracted you to being a raw food chef?

I loved the science behind being a raw food chef and know what a tremendous impact it makes on our bodies and overall wellness! Plants are so powerful and learning to create nourishing dishes was such a delicious thrill!

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4. Is it important to have a morning routine? What does your morning routine consist of?

I love my sacred morning quiet time before the kiddos are up. The first 30 minutes is when I try to get my meditation on to start my day off on the right foot. I try to find some beautiful morning light and get some stretching done as well.

Then, I head down to my kitchen to make a Philosophie Superfood Coffee. So easy, I throw these ingredients into my Blendtec Blender:

*1 cup brewed coffee

*Splash of Califia Farms Coconut Creamer

*2 tbsp Philosophie Coconut Butter

*Cinnamon, to taste

*1 tsp Cacao Magic

*1 tsp Solstice Canyon Almond Butter

5. What does a typical day look like for you?

Every day is different! Time with my kiddos before school is a must, we always make a high vibrational breakfast together, either Green Dream Waffles or our home favorite Cacao Smoothie.

Then, I get my fitness on! That could be a HIIT workout out front in my yard, or a sweaty hot8 class to stretch it out! I also love the occasional spin class at Soulcycle! After that, WORK TIME, whether I’m at home answering emails for my company Philosophie Superfoods or out in LA at a fun event with other awesome influencers, I’m always maximizing my “work time” for the day! Next, I’m able to pick the boys up from their darling Waldorf School and take them to get their flow on at our favorite yoga studio for mini’s, Soul Play Yoga, followed by picking up fresh fruits+veggies at the Culver City Farmers market! We head home in time to cook a delicious meal for dinner, normally that’s roasted veggies, hummus, lentils, salmon, tons of greens or a Cauliflower Crust pizza! I’m a big believer in balance, so great quality dark chocolate dipped in a yummy nut butter like Solstice Canyon, is always dessert!

My bedtime routine is found here.

6. What is your favorite mantra that continues to be relevant in your life?

Saying no to others is saying yes to myself.

7. How do you balance being a mom with your job?

It’s always a juggle balancing being a mama and owning my own company. I have a great support system, from my amazing hubby Adi, to loving nannies and employees who all band together to keep this thing afloat! It’s not always easy but totally worth it, and wouldn’t have it any other way! I also love getting together with our mamas and seeing what works and what doesn’t work for them, and providing an outlet for each other!

8. If you could tell your past self something 10 years ago, what would it be?

If I could tell my past self anything, I would say stand up for your beliefs and stay authentic to your needs. Don’t try and please others in sacrificing your own well being. It will always catch up to you.

9. Do you have any retreats or courses coming up that readers may be interested in?

I have tons of retreats coming up! I lead women’s only retreats, as well as couples retreats! They are so moving and life changing, please come grow with me! You can find more info here: http://www.wildwellnesstravel.com/igntd-couples-vail/

Thank you so much for hanging with me!

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You can follow along on Sophie’s journey on Instagram at @sophie.jaffe and visit her website at https://www.thephilosophie.com/.

This interview is part of Happsters Happy Questions, an ongoing series of interviews that take a peek inside the lives of inspiring women around the world.

 

Tanya from Embrace the Light on Reiki, Photography and Getting Through Loss

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I happened to come across Tanya’s work a few weeks ago and was hooked in an instant. I wondered “how does she take such amazing photos with the light coming through like that?! I need to learn her ways!” The more I looked at her aura photography, the more I wanted to know about her. I love how unique her work is and that she infuses reiki into her photography. Enjoy ♥♥♥

1. Tell us a little about yourself!

I have lived in Los Angeles for the past 13 years, though traveling is becoming more and more a part of my life lately. I currently share my love of photography with the beautiful souls that I am fortunate enough to call friends, and clients, all over the world. I teach yoga ridiculously early in the morning at Yogala Studio in Echo Park (an eastside enclave of Los Angeles) and I am a certified Reiki Master. I may have a small obsession with healing crystals.

2. What does a typical day look like for you?
At the moment, I am incredibly grateful to have a life that allows for me to take the time to nurture my soul. At the moment, a typical day can look like waking up early to write morning pages, meditate and/or run reiki on myself. I have some incredibly supportive and loving oracle and tarot decks that I may pull cards from to gain extra insight for my day. Then I’ll jump into work. That may be a photo shoot or waiting for film scans from my lab or the always fun paperwork. Yoga. If I can end the day seeing friends, it’s been a good day.

3. What has been the biggest learning experience in your life?
Loss. I’ve lost a lot of people I love very dearly. I came to the realization that these losses could either break me open or break me apart. I chose to open myself up and this choice helped me heal myself, forgive myself and others, and love myself more. Even though this cycle of loss began three years ago, I continue to learn knew ways of seeing the world on what feels like a daily basis.

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4. What did you want to be when you were young?
A photographer. But I was always scared that I wasn’t good enough, so I went into film/movies for a while, but I never stopped loving photography, and eventually, I let go of my fear and focused on my love of pausing time, of creating images that express the way I see the world.

5. For those unfamiliar, how would you define what Reiki is?
The thing I love the most about Reiki is that it is channeled directly from the source, so it can do no harm. You are either open to receiving it, in which case you can receive it or if you are not open to receiving it…you won’t.

Paula Horan gives a beautiful description of Reiki in her book, Empowerment through Reiki. It is an excellent read for anyone interested in learning more about this healing energy. I have pieced together a few lines from her description. Reiki is the Japanese word for Universal Life Force Energy. Reiki is a wonderful tool to help one develop conscious awareness.

6. Why did you decide to get Reiki certified?
It was a part of my choice to open up and heal myself. I decided to get certified so that I could run Reiki on myself, so that I could tranform some very deep pain into something… else.

7. What has Reiki changed you?
Regularly running Reiki on myself or having others run it on me has been a game changer. It allows me to be more at peace and more balanced in every day life. It has helped me open and heal old wounds, release old energy that no longer serves me, plus my cat cuddles with me more because she LOVES reiki energy.

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8. I love your aura photos that you take! Can you tell us why you started taking these kinds of photos?

The more I heal myself the more I have begun to feel a pull towards helping others as the embrace who they truly are…the person they have always been. One year after my partner passed, I went to the place we spread his ashes, to pay my respects, to take photographs, to grieve. The next day when I went to drop the film off at my lab, I opened the bottom of the camera thinking the film was rolled up. It wasn’t. I quickly closed the bottom, heartbroken that the images were going to be ruined; they weren’t. Instead, I discovered something new to me, a way to create beautiful effects that expressed how I felt.

It would take another year before I did this intentionally. I was photographing a dear friend who happens to be a healer in Los Angeles. I felt compelled…my intuition strongly suggested…to expose some of her film to light, to see if I could mix her energy visually onto the film. It created some incredibly powerful images, and I knew I wanted to create more images like this, but I didn’t know how to make it work as a session.

About 9 months later, I photographed another incredibly powerful Los Angeles Healer. This time, I wasn’t worried I was going to ruin the film. I just went for it, and after I saw her images – even thought my belly was filled with butterflies – I knew it was time for me to create a way to share this experience with others. It was time to encourage others to see their beauty, their strength, their abilities, and to help them share those aspects of themselves with others.
What is your process for creating these aura photos?

The aura adventure begins at a location where you are your most authentic self: in your home, at the ocean, in the woods… anywhere you feel joy! We will find a quiet spot and you will spend 15 to 20 minutes receiving Reiki (a healing energy) channeled through me.

After your healing session, we will spend the next 40 minutes photographing you at your most peaceful, at your most joyful – meditating, dancing, twirling, moving your body in any freeing manner that makes sense to you in that moment. During this time, I will shoot 36 frames of film.

Following the session, you and I will sit together while I rewind the film, holding an intention of authenticity and love. When the time is right, I will open the bottom of the camera to let the light in, to let your light in.

One to two weeks following our session, you will receive 3 to 7 beautiful color photographs*. They will be yours to keep as a reminder of who you are, your vibrant spirit.

*These photographs are not photoshopped. They are purely a mixture of film, you, me, and light.

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You can follow along on Tanya’s journey on Instagram at @lightleakauras and email her at lightleakauras@gmail.com. She is currently booking in Embrace the Light Sessions in Los Angeles and building wait lists for sessions in NYC and London and everywhere.

This interview is part of Happsters Happy Questions, an ongoing series of interviews that take a peek inside the lives of inspiring women around the world.

Marie Coté on Gratitude, Coaching & Loving Yourself

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Happy Friday, friends! Today I’m excited to introduce you to Marie Coté, an inspiring holistic coach who uses her natural intuition to help others transform their lives for the better. I’m so excited to share her interview with you today – I think you’ll see her genuine soul shine through! Enjoy ♥♥♥

1. What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day for me would be to wake up feeling grateful for another day of life! I did not always feel this way, but I truly do now. It is not because my life has gotten so much better, it is more about my perspective being changed on life. I wake up early to meditate most mornings because I have two young boys, a dog and a husband. A quiet house for my morning meditation is amazing! I try to always get exercise and eat a healthy, protein rich breakfast with lots of water. I choose to take excellent care of myself everyday because I believe I am worth it. That does not mean I do not have indulgences like chocolate, bread and wine, but it means I try to have balance. Typically I am then busy getting my boys to school and working on my business. The day ends with a simple dinner and some tv or reading. Unless I have fun plans, I typically enjoy relaxing at night!

2. How did you decide to become a holistic coach and how do you describe what a holistic coach is?

The call to do the work I do came to me at a very young age. I observed so much suffering around me and within myself that I knew deep down there had to be a better way to live. Through much of my studies over the years, I have grown and changed so much, but the lasting changes came when I saw my own anxiety and depression leave my life completely. I came to discover that my suffering came from my thoughts and beliefs about life. Once my perspective changed my whole life changed. My mission with holistic coaching is to help guide others to find their own freedom from suffering as well. Holistic coaching is a powerful form of life coaching that approaches every aspect of a person’s life – body, mind, and spirit – in relation to the whole. It can help you access your full potential and make transformational changes.

 
3. What book have you suggested the most to friends and why do you love it?

Loving What Is by Byron Katie and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle would be my two favorite books of all time. They both teach you to love and accept this moment as it is. If you can love life as it is in each moment, you can do anything!

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4. What has been the biggest learning experience in your life?

Becoming a mother made me feel more vulnerable than ever before. It was terrifying to love someone so much and know you could not ultimately control their future or keep them always safe. It really opened up some big questions for me and helped me learn how to trust life on a deeper level than ever before.

5. It’s often said that life is about enjoying the little things. What are the little things that you appreciate?

I really appreciate laughter, sunshine, exercise, good food and good company simply because I didn’t always appreciate these things. To say that I do now, feels really good.

6. What gives you energy? What depletes your energy?

It gives me energy when I do something positive for myself and others. I am depleted of energy when I am being negative towards myself or others and when I say “yes” to something that I wanted to say “no” to.

7. What is your favorite mantra right now and why?

“I love myself.”  If I love myself, I can truly love others. Life also finds a way to love you when you love yourself. It is simple, yet it can be so challenging. It just takes consistent practice!

8. Do you have any upcoming retreats or courses coming up that you’d like to share?

You can go to www.miraculouslyyou.com to find more about what I do and how to work with me! : )
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You can follow along on Marie’s journey on Instagram at @miraculouslyyou and at her website http://miraculouslyyou.com/.

This interview is part of Happsters Happy Questions, an ongoing series of interviews that take a peek inside the lives of inspiring women around the world.

Carey from YYoga on Joy, Curiosity & Adventure

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I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Carey Dillen, the President of YYoga in Canada. She is so committed to her work and you can tell she truly loves what she does. I hope you enjoy! ♥♥♥

  1. Do you have a favorite style of yoga that you generally gravitate to?

I enjoy all kinds of yoga – it depends on my day and my mood. During the week, I gravitate to Hatha, Flow or Power.   On weekends I love do take a YHot yoga class in the morning.   If I am feeling like I need a good slow stretch and go inward, then I go to Yin or treat myself to a Sage Aromatherapy Yin class.

  1. What does your typical day look like?

I don’t think there is a typical day! I get to work with so many amazing people in different areas of YYoga and I get to tackle different challenges and opportunities every day. One day I could be meeting with external retail vendors; the next day working on solving facility issues; the next day looking at potential new locations; the next day bringing our management team together to talk strategy.

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  1. What has brought you the most joy during your time working with YYoga?

Joy for me is a choice and created in each moment. It’s our people and our product that make me proud and fill me with joy each day. At YYoga, the majority of our team are women. Every day they get to see women in decision making roles, being authentic, and making a difference. I love being a leader and hope I inspire them as a role model to be fearless and happy!

  1. What book have you recommended to friends the most?

First Break all the Rules – Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman

  1. What do you think is the key to a happy, joyful life?

I approach the world through curiosity and adventure. I am happiest when my body and mind are strong; I am fully engaged in my relationships with others; I am exploring and learning new things; I am smiling and laughing; I am being fearless and going for it!

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  1. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Do something that scares you – it’s called growth.

  1. What is your vision for where you want to take YYoga? 

The dream is to take YYoga across Canada, in every major city and suburb, so that we can touch as many Canadians as possible! It’s about making people healthier and happier in their daily lives because I believe we can all benefit from what physical movement and mindfulness can do for our body, mind and spirit. It’s about empowering the people around me to grow in their careers, to learn about themselves, to collaborate as part of a team, to support each other along the journey and to embrace a big vision that brings YYoga to all of Canada.

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You can follow along on Carey’s journey on Twitter and Instagram at @cld604 and LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/careydillen.

This interview is part of Happsters Happy Questions, an ongoing series of interviews that take a peek inside the lives of inspiring women around the world.

 

Kristy Malone on Nutritional Therapy, Mental Health & Using Your Intuition

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I’m so excited to share this interview with you today that I did with my new friend, Kristy. She has such an interesting background with experience as a mental health therapist and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and I loved how she shared practical and helpful advice about happiness, intuition and so much more. Enjoy! ♥♥♥

1. What has your journey been to becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and mental health therapist?

I first received my Master’s in counseling, and I had been working with military sexual assault victims for several years when the stress of my job took a massive toll on my health. Doctors offered me diagnoses like PCOS, hypothyroidism, and autoimmune disease, and while they were quick to prescribe medications to manage my symptoms, they weren’t interested in getting at the root cause of these conditions. My intuition told me that I needed to dig deeper and I suspected that nutrition was a big piece of the puzzle. This led me to study nutritional therapy, and from there everything clicked for me. I was able to heal my body, reverse all diagnoses, and most of all I gained a deeper understanding of the powerful connection between physical and emotional health. I now combine these two skillsets to help my clients find optimal wellness and happiness!

2. Do you have any tips on tuning into your intuition?

Absolutely! Our intuition always tells us what we need, but oftentimes we forget to listen, or we rationalize it away. Sometimes intuition manifests as something you just “have a hunch” about; but I have found that intuition more frequently speaks through emotions as opposed to profound epiphanies. For example, anxiety shows up to let us know that something isn’t right in our environment or in our life balance. Conversely, we feel peace and happiness when things are in balance. Sometimes you just have a certain “feeling” about someone or something… start to pay attention to how you feel around specific people and in your daily situations.

If you feel insecure in a relationship or in your workplace, something is off and needs further investigation. You feel that way for a reason. If your romantic relationship is creating more stress than happiness, then something has to change no matter how desirable that person is or how perfect they “could” be. If you are filled with dread every Sunday night in anticipation of going back to your job on Monday, you need to ask yourself if that job is truly serving you, no matter how great the pay is or how good it looks on paper. These emotional cues, if we pay attention to them, can connect us to our intuition and guide us towards that which is good for us, and away from that which does not serve us. Ultimately, listening to your intuition is the blueprint for happiness.

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3. What are you looking forward to most in the next month, personally or professionally?

So much! This season of my life has been one of tremendous growth in all possible ways. Professionally, I have just been invited to join a private therapy practice in Carlsbad with an amazing group of people, and I couldn’t be more excited about that. Personally, I am finding that new people continue to come into my life who bring positive energy, inspiring ideas, and new experiences. I greatly look forward to deepening these relationships and opening myself up to more meaningful connection.

4. What is your go-to breakfast?

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and it’s also truly the most important one in many ways! My go-to breakfast is sweet potato ribbons sautéed in coconut oil, two fried eggs, sliced avocado, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. It is SO tasty, well-balanced, and keeps me full without weighing me down!

5. What daily rituals do you have that help you stay positive and happy?

  1. Nourishing food. Eating right for my body as well as treating myself is a huge key to my happiness. The foods we eat can impact our mood and wellbeing tremendously, so I feel my best when I’m giving my body what it needs and avoiding foods that trigger a negative response.
  2. Positive self-talk. Anxiety shows up for me from time to time, and I have learned that the content of my thoughts has a huge impact on how severe it is and how long it stays. Rather than letting my thoughts run away with me (“Things are falling apart”, “I can’t do this,” etc), I intentionally keep my thoughts positive (“Everything will be ok”, “I can handle this”). Thoughts have power, so what you say to yourself is really important!
  3. Human connection. Connecting with the people I love is a daily practice that keeps me grounded and optimistic even during challenging times. I have a wonderful support system and knowing that there are people who truly know me, and who will be there to celebrate the high points and have my back through the low points is more valuable than anything money can buy.

6. What has been your biggest learning experience in life?

There have been MANY, but the common thread in my most profound learning experiences has been finding the courage to let go of things that don’t serve me, and trusting that better things will follow. It is so hard to risk leaving a job, a relationship, or even a belief system without knowing what the next step will be. Sometimes even when things aren’t making us happy, mediocrity can be a comfortable place to stay because things will almost certainly get harder before they get better. However, it is SO worth it to take the risks, and to pursue a truly fulfilling life as opposed to a tolerable one. I suppose I could sum it up as “NEVER SETTLE!”

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7. What do you think is the key to a happy, joyful life?

I subscribe to the idea that happiness is more about the journey than the destination. Goals are extremely important, but ultimately, a joyful life comes from the people and experiences you have along the way. Genuine connection with other human beings, to show your soul to someone and have them show you theirs, to love and to be loved… to me, that is the essence of a happy life. We are all in this together, and that is a beautiful thing.

8. What is your favorite mantra?

I tend to adopt different mantras based on what’s going on in my life, but recently my mantra has been “Everything is figureoutable” (by Marie Forleo). It’s true- it is! It’s the limiting belief that we cannot overcome challenges that is the true obstacle.

9. Do you have any courses or retreats coming up you’d like readers to know about?

Yes! My business partner and I have a group for women called “Cravings & Connections” which focuses on un-complicating the nutritional and emotional elements of wellness. We talk about the emotional components of eating, why we have cravings and how to respond to them, exploring our relationship with ourselves and with food, and we also break down some complicated topics like blood sugar balance and digestion in a way that’s fun, actually makes sense, and provides tools for better health. More than just a group, we have created a community where profound growth, connection, and transformation occur. The feedback has been tremendous, and our next group starts Thursday June 29th, followed by another group starting Tuesday July 18th, and we are now taking reservations for both! Space is limited, but we do run these groups on a rotating basis. You can find more information about the group at www.paleotherapists.com, or reserve your spot by emailing paleotherapists@gmail.com.


You can follow along with Kristy’s journey on Instagram @uncommonwellness and visit her blog at https://www.uncommon-wellness.com/.

This interview is part of Happsters Happy Questions, an ongoing series of interviews that take a peek inside the lives of inspiring women around the world.

Bri on Creativity, Self Care & Following Your Heart

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Bri is a truly amazing woman who juggles motherhood, blogging, and self care so gracefully. She opens up in this interview about if she believes in “having it all,” how she takes time to enjoy the little things, her favorite self care practices and so much more. Enjoy ♥♥♥

1. You’re a creative director, lifestyle blogger, wife and mom. Do you think it’s possible to have a perfect balance in life and “have it all”?

I’m not too sure I believe in balance. I believe people need to make time to take care of themselves, pursue their passions and determine what is working in their lives and what is not. When people are fully in tuned with who they are than I believe they are able to create “balance” in their lives. I think when people do things for the wrong reasons than they do not feel balanced. I believe we should love our jobs and all aspects of our lives. If there is something that we don’t love than that’s when we need to stop and take the time to figure out what needs to change.

2. When you feel overwhelmed, how do you practice self care?

I practice self care by doing things I love. Self care for me usually includes one of the following: painting my nails, coloring, painting, going to the beach, stepping outside for fresh air, mindful breathing, yoga or a brisk walk.

3. I love the concept of your painting and wellness workshops! Can you tell us a little bit about how those came about and what they entail?

Thank you! The Painting + Wellness Workshops came about from a few different aspects. I wanted to try something new while also creating an event that could help women thrive. My regular workload typically consists of a lot of computer time and I want to be more in person with people. I have also attended so many events as a blogger where we are treated so well that I wanted to bring this style of event to any woman who wants to take a little time out for themselves. Each workshop includes information about self care and following your heart. I’m working on figuring out the details for the next workshop but I’d like them all to include an activity, a learning aspect and relaxation time. My purpose is to follow my heart and to encourage others to do the same. I want people to love their lives. I want people to take care of themselves, figure out what they love and do it! I have a lot of passions and I believe the workshops tie together all the things I love to do while encouraging others to thrive.

4. It’s often said that life is about enjoying the little things. What are the little things you try to take the time to enjoy?

I take time to enjoy nature. A lot of people seem to take it for granted. I will sit in my backyard sometimes and just watch the birds, the trees and the clouds. I also take time to enjoy little moments in my kids lives and try to be as present with people as possible.

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5. What is your favorite mantra right now and why?

I have a lot! I often say Follow Your Heart. I believe we can get stuck in our heads when trying to make decisions but I think we really need to listen to our gut, our heart or our intuition more. We usually immediately know what we want to do when we follow our hearts. It’s our thoughts (or ego) that sometimes make us think we can’t do something or try to hold us back from what we really want.

One of my other favorites is She believes she can, so she does! I believe we have the ability to create our own reality. Many people hold themselves back because they don’t really believe in themselves. I think the first step into believing in yourself is loving yourself, faults and all. I know this can be hard but not loving yourself is so much harder. I want people to embrace who they are and love who they are so they can fully thrive. When you fully believe you can do something than you will. This mantra keeps me going because if I don’t believe in myself, nobody else will either.

6. What does a typical day look like for you?

During the week I get up with my kiddos, eat breakfast and take my daughter to school. Then my babysitter will come over for 2 hours in the morning to watch the little guy while I work. After she leaves I play with him than he takes a nap and I finish working for the day. When he wakes up we have lunch and play. Then we pick up my daughter from school. Typically we come home or on half days we go play with friends. We do household chores and play than make dinner. I usually take some downtime once the kiddos go to bed. Occasionally I will attend an event for work in the evenings or catch up on any projects with deadlines. Weekends we usually spend with friends and family or exploring San Diego.

7. Do you have a book or podcast you’ve recommended to friends the most in the last year?

I’ve enjoyed “You can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay. I also watch Gary Vee videos often.

8. Finally, are there any courses or workshops you’d like readers to know about?

I will have the next workshop date available on BriGeeski.com within the next week or so. I am also finalizing some plans for painting classes coming soon!

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You can follow along with Bri’s journey on Instagram @brigeeski and visit her blog at http://www.brigeeski.com.

This interview is part of Happsters Happy Questions, an ongoing series of interviews that take a peek inside the lives of inspiring women around the world.

Zen Girl Mandy on Community, Purpose & the Power of Laughter

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Mandy Burnstein thinks of herself as a “yoga teacher, writer, event planner, part-time mermaid, and full-time zen girl.” That’s quite the list of jobs she juggles, not to mention that she’s also a wife and mother! Her beautiful Instagram account filled with yoga poses, fun with friends and family, and lots of beaches is what initially drew me to her and I’m thrilled to get to share her story with you today. Enjoy ♥♥♥

1. Do you have a favorite style of yoga that you generally gravitate to?
I’m a Vinyasa girl, through and through. Coming from a dance and movement background, my body craves the creative free flow of the Vinyasa style. I was trained in Vinyasa in 2010 and that is definitely my roots and foundation, but as of the last year and a half, I’ve embraced Kundalini yoga and also Bhakti yoga. I have fallen in love with the concept of healing yourself from the inside out, using your breath, chakras, energy lines, and sound medicine. There are many paths to healing and growth, and I’m open and down for all of them!

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2. What does your typical day look like?
Well, I have a 10 month old baby girl named Luna Wild, so life these days is free flowing and quite unpredictable. There is always something exciting going on! Mornings now start around 7am with big smiles, cuddle fests and sing-a-longs. We make green smoothies and breakfast, then around 10am, our Nanny comes over and I start my “Mandy” part of the day. I take a yoga class, run errands, catch up on emails, then teach yoga either in the studio, on the beach, or at the home of my clients depending on the day.

I allocate time each day to plant seeds for the future: my next workshop, goddess gathering, and my next yoga retreat. When it comes to work, I’m a big planner! I love to have my next 6-9 months of events mapped out so I can continually have new and creative offerings for my students.

As the day winds down, my husband comes home from work, we take a beach walk and catch sunset together to decompress from the day. Then we make dinner, put little Luna to bed and have a few hours together to connect.

Weekends are all about fun adventures! We usually explore around San Diego or hop down to Mexico for a few nights of being off-the-grid and more present with each other.

3. What gives you energy?
Community. Passion. My purpose.
A few years ago, I felt lost and a little confused about my purpose on this planet. I did a lot of deep healing work and learned a great deal of useful information about myself and my journey. I now know that I need a strong sense of community, with positive friends and family around me, as well as passion and purpose (and lots of delicious food in my life!) to feel energized and function at my highest.

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4. What book have you recommended to friends the most?
Modern: May Cause Miracles by Gabby Bernstein. This 40 day meditation and journaling “workbook” changed my life.
Ancient: Tao Te Ching — a classic.

5. What do you think is the key to a happy, joyful life?
Laughter. Authenticity. Purpose.
You must laugh every single day. You must feel comfortable and loved/loving in your own skin. You must identify your purpose and pursue it passionately. These are my 3 non-negotiables and have helped me create a sense of deep happiness and daily joy.

6. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
You are your own Medicine Woman. Quiet the outside noise, tune into your soul. Listen and all the answers will be revealed from within.

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7. What is your vision for where you want to be in 10 years?
I just turned 31 years old, so in 10 years I’ll be 41. My dream life would be to continue being happily married to my husband Devin, with 3 kind, loving children. We split our time between our home in San Diego and our home in Mexico. We work hard and are passionate about what we do, but we balance it out with lots of time for play and taking care of ourselves. We surf, swim, eat lots of veggies and laugh often. I’m still teaching yoga and working intimately with women. I offer three yoga retreats each year which evolve and grow as I do. Perhaps there is a boutique hotel or yoga retreat center in the jungle that I am the creator of. My heart remains nourished by my tight-knit family and an amazing tribe of friends around the globe. This is my dream life. Simple and sweet 🙂

8. What is your favorite way to give back?
Corazon de Vida Foundation. This organization is amazing! They oversee 13 orphanages in Baja Mexico, which is only 30 minutes away from San Diego. I’ve been involved with them for years. From the first orphanage visits where I fell head over heels in love with these children, to helping throw the annual fundraising Galas, I love every aspect of what they do and how efficiently and effectively they use the donations. If this type of service speaks to you, please join us!


You can follow along with Mandy’s journey on Instagram @zengirlmandy, and for more in depth life lessons, travel stories, and yoga tips, visit her blog, Zen Girl — www.zengirlchronicles.com

This interview is part of Happsters Happy Questions, an ongoing series of interviews that take a peek inside the lives of inspiring women around the world.