In which I recap my mind-blowing trip to California with Biossance

Friday, November 3

So this last week, I got really lucky. Somehow I got to go on the most luxurious trip with a skincare brand that I've been using and loving for years. And after meeting the women behind the brand, I'm even more in love with them now. Biossance has been a crucial part of my daily korean-style skin care regimen that I posted about earlier this year -- they provide truly skin changing products, so it was honestly like winning a lottery ticket for them to ask me to come to their headquarters to learn about the science, and observe the behind-the-scenes of a line I've been a fan of since I started paying attention to my skin.

Come with me on a journey of luxury, good skin, and badass female chemists.
(no I didn't climb on the roof of the hotel, but I also didn't get a chance to take any photos during the daytime, so here's one from Simone Anne)

When I got to San Francisco, I checked into the Claremont Hotel, which is a very beautiful, very old hotel in Berkeley. I got in a bit earlier than everyone else, so I started googling how far the hotel was from some of the food recommendations that you guys provided on insta (the Cheese Board was amazing btw). Turns out, when you google the Claremont location, you get several results about how it's haunted. Not the entire hotel, just the fourth floor, with several stories being reported in various rooms on the fourth floor and in the hallways. I was in room 429. This was thrilling for me as you can imagine. Typically I am a major chicken with these kinds of things, but in the moment that I was debating about whether or not to switch rooms, I got a knock on the door and these lovely flowers were delivered. I took it as a sign of good faith from the universe and decided not to be THAT person at the concierge desk. And it was a lovely stay. The only weird thing that happened was a door that slammed very loudly in the hallway at 2:30am and then right afterward the music I'd fallen asleep to started skipping. But no children yelling mama, no imprints on my bed, and no footsteps in the hallway. So I win.  

The next morning, in the land of the living, we headed off to visit the Biossance Headquarters. Before taking a tour of the facility, we donned our very own customized lab coats and safety goggles, and I instantly wondered why I decided not to pursue a PhD in chemistry.

Here's the cool thing about Biossance, and just one of the reasons I love supporting them. Biossance's parent company is Amyris, which is the biotech company who is responsible for the development of an anti-malarial drug. Before its development, the treatment for malaria was extremely time consuming and extremely expensive, so ever since harnessing the microbial engineering it took to develop this drug, they've literally saved millions of lives by making treatment extremely accessible.

This sustainable, reduced environmental-impact, biotechnical mindset is the same mindset that went into producing Squalane, which is the foundational ingredient in Biossance's skincare. (More about Squalane in a second, but your body naturally produces it in large quantities when you're younger, and you need to replace it in your skin as you age) I sat at the dinner table with Amyris's CEO and listened to how they discovered that Squalane could be 100% plant derived instead of the old way of harvesting it from shark liver. The trick is sugarcane. All of their beautiful packaging is also made of sugarcane, which is great because it's one of the most environmentally clean and sustainable plants for product creation. Sugarcane is like grass. You cut it down and it just grows right back, unlike the trees that are used to create most packaging.

We were given a tour of the facility by one of the 20 female chemists who are behind the development of the products, and then tested them straight out of the beaker. Their team is small, but their passion is great, and their standards are high. It really made me want to come home and re-evaluate every product that I'm using on the largest organ of my body. Here's the scary thing. In Europe, there are over 1300 banned ingredients that are not allowed to be used in beauty products. In the U.S.? There are only 11. 
And up until a little while ago, I wasn't even thinking twice about it. 
At Biossance, they've personally blacklisted over 2,000 potentially harmful ingredients for their products. They truly care and are so passionate about creating products that will be both safe for your body and also give you the results you want to see. 

Here we are with our personalized essential oil + squalane blends. #legit
Before dinner that night, we headed over to the SF Sephora, where they gave us Biossance facials. Which by the way, if you live near a Sephora, I would highly recommend trying the product this way.


The next day, we loaded up in a literal party bus and headed off to Half Moon Bay. But first, we stopped at one of the local pumpkin patches. This was slightly entertaining for me to watch a bunch of city girls go gaga over a pumpkin patch (for some of them, it was their first!) while I'm over here with no less than 5 within walking distance of my house. Didn't stop me from taking 200 pictures though. When in Rome.
 Shoes: Madewell, Jeans: ASOS, Sweater: Madewell, Jacket: H&M (old, sadly), Earrings: ASOS (old), Sunglasses: Amazon, Bag: Sole Society

THEN we got to the Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay.
No offense to the ghosts of the Claremont, but they picked the wrong hotel to haunt.

This is where I'll be in the afterlife if you need me.

P.S. This Squalane Probiotic Gel is a new product that I was introduced to on this trip, and after using it, I literally saw results the next morning. One of my biggest complaints is uneven redness in my skin tone and this gel reduces that shockingly fast. Definitely adding it to my routine.

While we were there, we we got makeovers from green-beauty celebrity make-up artist Katey Denno, who's gotten to touch the faces of Gwyneth Paltrow, Amber Heard, Natasha Lyonne, Felicity Jones, and now me. My face wast humbled.

It was validating to learn that she does base just like I do - with a few drops of Biossance Rose Oil mixed into my BB cream and the Peptide Eye Gel mixed in with under-eye concealer. My only goal is glow. I want the orbiting satellites to look down on earth and be like, woah, check out the glow on that one. I don't think it's too much to ask.

Now here's some photos of me by the fireplace contemplating the benefits of Squalane. 
Speaking of Squalane, let me tell you about why you need it in your life, and why I've been using it daily for a couple years. 

Squalane is a molecule that is naturally already found in us, and it's a big contributor to why our skin looks so supple and pretty when we're younger - that's when we're producing a lot of it. Then something really depressing happens when you enter your 30's, and your squalane production drastically drops off, by like half. This continues for the remainder of your life. Welcome to aging. 

So that's what Biossance pioneered: a plant-based solution to replacing the squalane that your body decreases in over time. It's your body's moisturizer in its purest form. And it's in every one of their products. 

What I've been thrilled with is getting to share their products with you guys in the past and then getting to hear how much you love them. Yes, this is a brand partnership, but I GENUINELY love this company, and recommend them to friends/family offline too. Do your skin a favor and try a free sample of the pure Squalane oil and Vitamin C Rose oil HERE.

Thank you so much to Biossance for an amazing week, and for the good you're doing for our faces and for the world. 

me in a perfume ad basically

Monday, October 23

Dress: ASOS (it's on sale too!)

No not really a perfume ad. But closely resembling something that I would very much like bottled. Ralph Lauren, call me.

Shot in Half Moon Bay, CA.
Please do your souls a favor and visit there. And maybe look into buying a house, if the mood strikes you. I'll split it with you.

an outfit, an essay, and an invite

Tuesday, October 10

 Boots: Target, Jeans: Levi 501s, Top: ASOS (old), Sunglasses: Amazon, Hat: Free People, Earrings: ASOS, Purse: Sole Society

I hope you like berets, cause this one is gonna be here for a minute.
But that's not what I'm here to talk about.
I'm here to talk about self-acceptance.
Specifically an essay that I was asked to write for a course entitled, The Truth About Beauty, about when I accidentally started studying about body acceptance.
So, if you'd like to read it, you can FIND IT HERE.

The next thing I need to mention is about the Inside Out: 7-day self-care challenge, because we're only on day 2 over there, and HOLY MOSES. You guys. I have never been so moved as I have been by the trust and vulnerability that this community of women has shown in our group sharing. If you are in need of upliftment, of courage, of finding a truer sense of self, please join us. It IS a 7-day challenge, but can be worked on at your own pace and shared as you go, so if you'd like to join, don't worry about being behind. Plenty have signed up later.
I'm so grateful to have you, and these magnificent women in my life.
My goodness.

can you see me?

Thursday, October 5

So I was working with a friend on defining her personal style today. One of the questions I asked her was, "when you get dressed in the morning and leave your house, do you want your clothes to help you blend into the crowd or do you want people to notice you?"
And her answer, although on the apologetic side, was, "Well ... I don't know ... I like to be noticed."
And I thought, yes.
Courageous honesty. I want to be seen. I want to be recognized. Even in the the seemingly inconsequential: Yes I do want others to see my style and connect with what I'm wearing.

So why is that so scary to admit? Why is it scary for even me to admit?? I mean I have a public blog about wearing clothes for goodness sakes, and it still feels vulnerable for me to say, "yeah girl, I want to be noticed." Why do we, the females of this earth, the predominant players on social media, have the hardest time admitting that we want to be seen. And not in the way that we're used to. Not in the way that involves being desired. But being seen in the way that requires us to own having desire.

It's the game we play amongst ourselves on the internet all day, behind our instagram accounts and our blogs, hoping to be noticed and heard and acknowledged and validated, all the while perpetually down-playing the efforts we make in order to do so. What if we just gave ourselves permission to mutually acknowledge each other's honest human need for significance. Permission for ourselves and for others to say, judgement free, "Here I am. Look at me for a minute. I want to take up space." We post beautiful pictures of our lives, of our families, of our homes, of ourselves, and we shrug it off as frivolous and silly and even disconnective, when truly, the only underlying question beneath all of it is, "can you see me?" But we don't admit that. Because no one wants to look like they're trying to be seen, and yet we're all trying our flipping asses off.

This has been such a part of the blogger/influencer game in particular. When people first started to ask how online platforms could be grown, I feel like everyone was just shrugging and saying, "man I don't even know! It just happened!" No one admitted to wanting it. No one admitted to implementing strategy. Heaven forbid you'd admit to wanting to make a living off of it. The truth is, when I first started writing, way waaay back in the day, I would comment and connect with others who were starting their blogs like it was my job. I wanted my words to be read. My life to be known. And I made the effort to make it happen. And then I remember other bloggers being made fun of and shamed when they referred to what they were doing as their "job", so I quickly learned, "Oh! So that's how we do it here. We don't try. We just happen." And the pretending began. In fact, the appearance of not trying was such a part of my psyche for years, that I held myself back from altering my status quo and going after what I wanted, because it would've meant making a very public effort of trying. And that felt way too risky to admit I wanted something different, and then maybe fail at getting it.

I want to stop those patterns. I want to want. I want to be known - and own that. I want to belong to myself more deeply and take responsibility for being a whole person. I have seen what it looks like when a woman side-steps knowing herself and owning her desires until she literally breaks, and then triggers a ripple effect in those who surround her. Which is why when I heard this thought once, it was like a gong being smashed into my head: "If you don't take the time to know yourself, honor yourself, and express yourself, you require everyone else around you to manage your sense of self. It's selfishness in the name of selflessness."

*can we take a moment of silence*

Our goodness as women, is expressed in many ways, but sacrificing ourselves to the point of self-betrayal is never one of them. Own what you do. Own what you want. Be seen. Be known. And kick some ass.

an outfit + my resource guide for greater self-care

Tuesday, October 3

 Shoes: Born Jeans: ASOS, Button-Up: Urban Outfitters, Sweater: Madewell, Bag: Sole Society, Sunglasses: Amazon, Hat: Free People

Ok guys. First of all, I feel like I have to thank you. For allowing me the freedom to be many things in this online space and pretty much talk about whatever floats my boat at the moment. It may seem strange to speak of clothes and personal style, universal energy, and emotions at the same time, but the more I learn, the more I understand how seamlessly they mesh together. Mainly in the sense that I've given myself permission to step out of my self-imposed blogger box and start discovering and honoring all the various passions and interests that make up who I am. All of them are part of me. And for that reason alone, they compliment each other.
So here I am with my #OOTD, also sharing the guide I just put together of everything my hippie-ish heart has been studying and implementing lately. If you've listened to any of my instagram stories about my ectopic pregnancy and how I've begun recovering from that physically and emotionally, THIS guide is basically everything that's been in my tool box. Since then, I've made a more dedicated and concentrated effort in self care, and started to gain a brand-spanking-new understanding of the bidirectional nature of our bodies, and also quantum mechanics. God is the ultimate artist and the ultimate scientist and I've loved getting to learn a little bit more about how He designed the function of this body I live in.

So! If you think it might help you, or if it interests you at all, you can find the (free) guide HERE!

Happy Reading! Oh and happy Fall too. OMG SWEATERS.

Let's spend 4 whole weeks together! One on one

Friday, September 8

 Hey, guess what. I'M DOING A GIVEAWAY!! And the prize is me!! lol.

Specifically, it's you and me. One on one. Over Skype, throughout the course of a month. Diving deep into who you are, and what you want, and how those answers are directly correlated with having insane confidence in your personal style and ability to build your wardrobe with purpose and intention. 
We're gonna get to the bottom of all of it! 

It's definitely out of my comfort zone to be throwing something out there that has the potential to seem a LIIIITLE diva-y, but I'm also in the thick of learning that my best life only exists outside my comfort zone, so here I am. Running a giveaway that is basically screaming, "I'm worth something!"

Which I am, dammit. And so are you. And we are capable of adding huge value to each other's lives.

So let's do it! Here's how you enter. Just fill out this survey, RIGHT HERE.
Thanks you guys, I can't wait! 

P.S. If you missed it yesterday! I made a quick guide to living more intuitively, with a list of all my top favorite podcasts, books, and videos that have flipped my world on its head lately. Download it HERE!

my top favorite podcasts, books, and videos - in a guide!

Thursday, September 7

You guys, I feel so official right now. I made a guide! It's downloadable! And I'm not tech savvy and it's 3 in the morning right now, so I'm feeling mighty victorious about all of it. I guess this will be the first unofficial announcement I've made to say that I'm in the middle of building a brand new site that will be launching alongside my also new podcast (hosted with one of my closest friends, Taylor).  Lots of exciting! Lots of fun! I can't wait! And I am so tired. 

But! Back to why you're here. 
My top favorite podcasts, books and videos that are totally going to change your life
Unless they've already changed your life, in which case, hi, do you cry from shock and awe behind your laptop too?

I know I've talked quite a bit on my social media about the podcasts and books that I've been into, but I decided to finally make something concrete, that you can have, and keep, and come back to, and reference. 

And do let me know when you start listening and having those aha moments, so we can high-five each other across the internet. WE GOT THIS!

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