The Lakshmi Series: Genevieve Yam from Gratitude & Greens

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I was quite literally en route to Bali, waiting in line to check in for the first flight in the leg of my journey, when Genevieve and I struck up a conversation. She asked me something about the check in time, and we just got to talking. Turned out that she is a vegan enthusiast and has her own amazing blog at Gratitude & Greens where she takes seriously drool-worthy food porn pictures (go to her site. Now!) of all the delicious plant-based foods she loves to make. When I met her, I was thinking to myself, “There are no coincidences – her and I were meant to meet!”

We chatted through the crazy long check-in line and ended up changing out seats to sit next to each other so we could talk more. Needless to say, the super long, 15-hour flight from Chicago to Hong Kong where I was connecting and where Gen was arriving to visit family, went by very fast with the amazing conversation!

Below are the questions Gen answered on this month’s Lakshmi Series – love her answers and I’ve learned some fun tidbits about here through this as well! She has great tips on how to stay healthy and look glowing from the inside out while being a jet-setting gypsy!

Favourite city… I love the vibe of Amsterdam. I’ve been three times, and the first time I went, we stayed in a houseboat on the Prinsengracht, which quickly became my favourite neighborhood. Amsterdam has all my favourite things: great markets, health food stores, juice bars, cozy living, museums, and is bike friendly! I really loved biking along the canals while I was there.

Current obsession… I don’t have many obsessions, but matcha is a serious contender. I love drinking it, baking with it, and eating desserts made with it.

Can’t travel without… I always travel with melatonin when I know I’ll be switching time zones. Sleep is crucial for both health and beauty, and melatonin helps me quickly get over jet lag.

Always in my carry on… Lip balm and moisturizer, because you never know when your skin will be feeling dry! I also keep my glasses on me in case my eyes get dry from wearing contact lenses.

For an instant pick-me-up… In the summer, a smoothie, and in the winter, a big cup of tea.

Strangest beauty habit… I use a 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water toner, and put raw honey on any zits that pop up. I will also wash my face with oats from time to time. I don’t know if those are strange beauty habits, but that’s as strange as my beauty habits go!

In the shower I keep… Oats, shampoo and conditioner, a good bar of soap, and homemade sugar scrub. I’m trying to phase out shampoo usage, but my shampoo right now is from Andalou Naturals. My friend Rachael makes all her soaps and I’m currently using a lemon and olive oil bar she made. Otherwise, I usually opt for Dr. Bronner’s lavender castile bar soap.

Always on my bedside table… A glass of water, lip balm, coconut oil, and a good book.

Once a month… I like to treat myself to a massage or a spa day. It’s important to recharge your mind and body! I love visiting the Body Blitz Spa in Toronto for their therapeutic water circuit, infrared sauna, and steam room scented with eucalyptus oil. It’s on the pricier side, but so worth it! It’s a good once-a-month treat, and I get a few blissful hours of peace and quiet.

On little sleep, I reach for… Food, water, and coffee.

To stay healthy and beautiful while traveling… Stay hydrated. I keep a water bottle on me at all times.

To glow from the inside out… Eat well, sleep well, and stay positive. It’s amazing what positive energy can do for you!

My favourite detoxifying snack… Cucumbers and hummus.

My favourite detoxifying drink… Water and lemon. It’s delicious warm or cold, and will help your body hydrate and alkalize. It’s refreshing on a hot summer day, and warming on a cold winter day.

Best healthy “fast food” recipe… Quinoa with olive oil, parsley, and sea salt with massaged kale and avocado, and a sprinkle of hemp seeds. This was my go-to lunch when I was still in school and had barely enough time to eat! Otherwise it’s fruit or hummus and veggies.

My travel DIY beauty treatment… As of now, none. My beauty routine stays the same when I travel!

To look glam in a pinch… Lipstick. I use Burt’s Bees lip shimmer in plum, but am thinking of exploring other natural brands, too.

Game-changing beauty product… I was recently introduced to facial oil, and I love it! Thanks to the beauty industry, we’ve been conditioned to think that oil is bad for our skin, but that isn’t necessarily true. Many facial oils are derived from essential, botanical oils, which are antioxidant rich and help to protect our skin from free-radical damage. Facial oils also help to maintain moisture, and can even help people with oily skin restore balance. I’m a huge fan of the rehydrating rose facial oil from Neal’s Yard Remedies, which is 99% organic. It smells great, too!

Underrated beauty practice… I’ve found that eating well, getting enough shut-eye, and staying hydrated are the most effective and underrated beauty practices. You could use every single beauty product on the planet, but nothing is as effective as what I like to think of as the holy trinity!

If I could travel anywhere in the world, I’d go… Oh, what a hard question! Probably the Punjab region in India, for all the amazing vegetarian food; Edinburgh for the beauty of the city; and Bali for recharging my batteries.

Thanks so much Genevieve for participating in this month’s Lakshmi Series! Stay tuned for the next one guys and be sure to check out Gen’s site. Beware: drooling will occur!

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My new home in Bali

 

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Well hello there! It’s certainly been a long time since I’ve posted (longer than I care to admit!) It has been a busy past year and a busy and fulfilling past month! At the beginning of this month, I moved to Ubud, Bali to intern for Lydia Lee of Screw the Cubicle. The two of us were exchanging services for almost a year already, and the interesting thing is that we hadn’t actually met in person until I got to Bali. Last year, I had my heart and mind dead set on going to teach abroad in Thailand or Taiwan. I have worked, studied and volunteered abroad, but never taught abroad and thought it would be an amazing experience. I ended up finding a boutique teacher placement agency called Get the Edge Up, and I had set up a to video chat with Lydia to get more information. We ended up talking for nearly an hour about our love of travel, and she mentioned Screw the Cubicle to me. Lydia left the corporate world in Vancouver a few years ago to create her own business coaching website. She helps people find and focus their passions, as well as learn how to be location independent and live life on their own terms. She is inspiring, tenacious and has amazing insights on life, work and everything in between. I was so grateful to have “met” her online. The next month after I video chatted with her, she sent me a message asking me if I happened to know anyone who might be able to do a bit of social media work for her virtually or in person. I told her that social media was my #1 love and that I had years of experience in it already after graduating in 2010. I helped her and she in exchange gave me coaching to help with my time management (I have major FOMO! lol) and also brainstorming what I really wanted to do with my life. I was teaching for my local school district for the past two years, while doing social media freelancing on the side as well as some PR and events work.

I think I always wanted to do my own thing with social media and be location independent but didn’t have any idea how or where to start. Lydia invited me to come to Ubud and live at her bungalow while I work for her on a complete social media strategy for Screw the Cubicle, and she also introduced and set me up with her friend Oliver Lucas, who runs the website I am the Best Man UK. She proposed that I focus 200% on not only working on both of their social media strategies for the entire year, but also using this as a case study and opportunity to beta test on them. They get my help with social media, and I get to learn what works and doesn’t work along the way, so that in the next 3 months (the goal!), when my social media packages are out, I know exactly what clients want and don’t want and how to have a process in place which runs like a well-oiled machine.

Sometimes, when we want something (or something we think we want) so badly, the universe doesn’t give it to us. It gives us what we wanted deep down but thought we couldn’t have or accomplish, and challenges us by saying, “Okay, Aditi – I’m giving you this opportunity on a platter. What are you going to do with it now?” It’s a huge kick in the ass to get moving. Being here for the past month has already shown me that I don’t know as much as I thought I knew about myself or social media. This is an amazing thing because I am out of my comfort zone and can challenge myself to constantly keep learning more and making changes towards the life I want.

I’m thrilled to be in Bali to be working on myself and my soon-to-be online business. Along with my personal and professional growth, I have also gone out of my comfort zone and learned how to ride a scooter! I’ve gone bungy jumping and sky diving and I’m a major adrenaline junkie, but I was honestly reluctant to learn how to ride a motorbike here. Olly and Lydia taught me how to ride and I was on the main road within 2 weeks of being here! (Wooo!) I’ve gone to a sacred waterfall temple, scootered my way up to the Elephant Safari Park, and met tons of amazing people from all over the world. One word: grateful.

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The Lakshmi Series: Ru-chan from Short, Small & Sweet

RuTLSpicImage courtesy of Ru-chan 

Welcome to my brand new Lakshmi Series! Over the past two years, I have changed my health dramatically. I had a ton of health issues and I finally decided enough was enough! I went vegan, I did 5 detoxes every other month starting in January of last year through Karyn Calabrese in Chicago, lost 50lbs in 6 months, have maintained my new lifestyle as well as a minimum of 4 detoxes per year, rid myself of all my ailments and have inspired (to my surprise!) and been able to help family and friends in the process. My mom lost 23lbs and my little sister lost 7lbs! It’s been an incredible experience! Through my journey, I started to get more and more into green beauty products and was reading a lot on green beauty and health blogs. Health is just as much about what we put ON our bodies as it is about what we put in them.  I battled eczema my whole life (which is now gone, yay!) and so my dermatologist always used to tell me not to use anything with artificial fragrance in it – even my laundry detergent was free and clear. I was already very familiar with what to watch out for in beauty and skincare products, but I decided to delve even deeper. I threw out all my old lotions and makeup that had any traces of chemicals or were not cruelty free. I use coconut or sesame oil now as a body moisturizer and different holistic oils and serums on my face. I’m always switching it up and love to keep it simple but at the same time try new raw, vegan, holistic, organic and ayurvedic products. I wanted to make sure my eczema never came back. Besides battling eczema previously, I know that our skin is our largest organ, and what we put on it is just the same as ingesting it, just like food or drink. Changing my health over these past two years is the best thing I have ever done in my entire life and it definitely effects how I travel now too!

So why have a green beauty series on a travel blog? This is something that I am absolutely obsessed with!  I also think that health and travel go hand in hand, and especially for us female travelers, who like to look glowing and beautiful at all times! We want to shine from the inside out! If we are feeling strong, beautiful and healthy, then we will enjoy traveling even more. We all know there’s nothing worse than not looking our best for photos, or having to battle a migraine or digestive issue while on the road or jet-setting. My new series will introduce you to a new green beauty brand or blogger each month and pick their brains on travel, health and beauty!

For my very first series this month, I’m introducing you to Ru-chan. Ru is originally from Singapore, but came to the U.S. on The Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. She met her husband here and just moved to Boston last fall. Her blog was originally about her experience in the program, but slowly evolved into the topic of green beauty. Green beauty brands are much more widely available here than they are in Singapore as they haven’t really caught on there yet. She was overcoming some issues she had with breakouts, and turned to green beauty to alleviate the problem. That’s when she started reading different green beauty blogs herself to get an idea of what products might be best for her. She then started to post her own reviews and experiences on the products so others might be able to use her blog as a resource. She also loves to contribute to the blogging world and give back. She has beautiful photos and honest, detailed reviews on all the products she uses on her site over at Short, Small & Sweet!

Below are some fun and light questions I came up with for Ru and for all the upcoming guests on my series! Enjoy!

Favorite city in the world: Kyoto. It’s my favorite prefecture in Japan, and every time I visit it I see a different section of its culture and history.

Current obsession: Beauty product wise, hydrating clay masks; otherwise I’m always head down knitting something!

Can’t travel without: My travel pillow from MUJI, MacBook, and One Love Organics Skin Savior balm.

Always in my carry on: A lip tint/balm, a nut snack, and a good book.

For an instant pick-me-up: a spritz of The Jasmine Garden toner (will be released soon!) from May Lindstrom Skin.

Strangest beauty habit: (can’t think of any, maybe I’m not as strange as I think I am, haha)

In the shower I keep: raw honey for face cleansing and masks, and coconut oil for hair treatment

Always on my bedside table: Weleda Skin Food, Deep Steep hand cream, Osmia Organics spot treatment, Badger Balm sleep balm and body oil, Beautycounter peppermint lip conditioner

Once a week: I do a May Lindstrom Skin facial treatment using The Problem Solver, Jasmine Garden toner, and The Youth Dew. I also make sure I use a body scrub at least once a week, and I love the sugar scrubs from Deep Steep and Organic Bath Co.

Once a month: A hair mask using organic coconut oil, and getting my hair trimmed by my husband!

On little sleep, I reach for: (I get a lot of sleep, LOL so I’m gonna skip this)

To stay healthy and beautiful while traveling: Enjoy the moment and when you have no worries, you will be beautiful.

To glow from the inside out: A green smoothie a day packed with superfoods, and Kahina Giving Beauty argan oil.

My favorite detoxifying snack: (Still have not found one!)

My favorite detoxifying drink: Green tea or lemon water

My travel DIY beauty treatment: I think the oil cleansing method is a great, simple deep cleanse treatment for the skin. All you need is a wash cloth and and your favorite cleansing oil at hand.

To look glam in a pinch: A subtle highlighter or a glowy blush like Alima Pure’s. I also like playing up my eyes with a strong eyeliner and mascara.

Game-changing beauty product: One Love Organics Skin Savior is a high-performing multi-tasker, it has stolen my heart. It is a cleanser, moisturizer, and facial mask all in one. Also works great on your hands, nails, and hair!

Underrated beauty practice: My secret to glowing from the inside out…

If I could travel anywhere in the world, I’d go: To the African Safari, thanks to years of watching National Geographic.

Thanks so much Ru for participating in my series which I’m super proud to have launched! Really loved learning about some new brands that I can try and  also stick into my quart-sized bag for my next flight! I look forward to featuring new and amazing people in the coming months on this series. If you’re interested in being featured, you can send me a message through my Contact tab.