3 Lessons From My Husband

Today is my husband’s birthday. I’m up at 5am to write while Kanan sleeps so we’ll have the day to spend together once he wakes up. I know that I haven’t given much history about our relationship, and rarely divulge details about his life specifically, focusing mainly on relevant information for our topic at hand. So today, in an attempt to shine light on the person that my husband is, I’m going to share three big lessons that my husband has taught me about life in our last (almost) six years together.

If there’s one thing about Kanan’s personality that has always perplexed and fascinated me, it’s his ability to consistently be one step ahead of the rest of us when it comes to matters of “zen.” I use that term loosely and metaphorically to mean calm, collected, and unchanged by his surroundings. When we first met I mistook his disinterest in most things as aloofness, dismissiveness, and an overall indifference or dispassion, but I know now that my husband cares more deeply than anyone I’ve met, he’s just remarkably good at choosing what few things he cares about.

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Lesson #1: “Structure Your Life Differently.”

If I had a dollar for every time this phrase exited my husband’s mouth or came through to me via text message, I’d be rich, and I wouldn’t need to structure my life differently.

Over the years Kanan has seen me grow from a mid-twenties employee with undefined dreams to an early thirties small business owner with fairly clear goals for our future.

I’ve discovered that when I have an end goal in mind I will work relentlessly toward it regardless of the time and energy that it takes to get there, even if it means depleting every resource I have in the process. Sometimes this takes years to complete. Sometimes the “end goal” is so obscure and far off in the distance that it’s almost impossible for anyone else to see, let alone support. But I see it.

Kanan may not notice what I’m able to predict. He observes my chaotic life, chalk full of work and stress. I see myself lay one more brick down each day I wake up with intention. It may not look like much now, but someday I’ll build my castle, revel in it, then move on to something new. I thrive on accomplishment and projects. I find happiness in the process of building, not necessarily the “finished” result – consequently this means I’m never really done and I’m almost never satisfied.

He watches me struggle and sometimes doesn’t realize that I share his same vision. Laying a brick a day will get us there, I promise, but you need to trust me. A decade later, and the foundation is complete. Still a lot of castle to build, but it’s got something solid to stand on. Structuring your life differently takes time. Great things aren’t built overnight. Strategies take trial and error to perfect; systems take years to run smoothly. I’d work seven days a week, and teeter on the precipice of burnout – he’d say “structure your life differently.” I’d be at the end of my rope spending every “personal” moment on my phone working. What should I do? Structure my life differently. To him, its easy. A simple answer to any of those parts of my life I am not satisfied with.

His point: When I’m “done” I’m never done. So I may as well create a life I love to live in the process of building. Structure my life differently. 

It’s not that I didn’t understand this concept before – I feel like I have quite a clear understanding of what it takes to create a life you actually want, basically full of work I enjoy, people I enjoy, and activities that give me joy, purpose, and meaning. But for me it will take years to even define what that looks like, and I imagine it will be fluid and constantly in flux. But I feel like when he emphasizes that point to me, it’s his subtle and effective way to reiterate that I am the creator of my life and I do have the power to change it, and make it however I dream. It’s up to me, and he knows I can do it. After all, if I’m not happy with something in my life, all I need to do is do it differently.

Lesson #2: Leveling up is hard, but a great partnership will force you to level up constantly, and forever.

I resist what my husband tells me to do. My husband resists what I tell him to do. Together we end up stubbornly encouraging each other to become better people.

What I’ve discovered is that my husband and I chose each other for big reasons, and each one of us has greatly valuable qualities to bring to our table. So when we resist each other because of our strength and stubbornness, eventually one of us will rise to join the other. And when we really clash, it’s because one of us just hasn’t quite figured out how to get up to that next level yet. But with enough encouragement, we will.

This happens in small ways, like snoozing my alarm. I used to be that person. Snooze the alarm every single day for however long it takes to get out of bed in the morning. Kanan explicitly hated this behavior because it disrupts his sleep, and we had many arguments about it, until stubbornly and angrily I made it a point to get out of bed immediately, every single day as soon as my alarm went off. Annoyed and stubborn, I now am a more productive person who loves the morning and looks forward to quiet time alone with my coffee, my books, and my computer. Why would I want to waste that wonderful peaceful time snoozing?

This also happens in big ways, like eating more plant foods, a significant and long-term lifestyle change. Over the years Kanan has resisted my dietary choices being “pushed on him” and has explicitly made it clear to not tell him what to eat. It turns out, the squeaky vegan wheel gets the grease. When I see my husband packing his mostly (if not entirely) raw, plant based lunches for work everyday, coming home for his post-work kale, ginger, celery smoothie it does two things. It instantly makes me happy that we’re headed down this healthy, long path together, but also makes me realize that I can do better too. I don’t eat kale everyday; there’s always room to improve and grow.

When my husband and I seem to disagree, I now try to step back and look for the lesson inside the clashing of two stubborn individuals. We both want what’s best for us, so who needs the boost up to the next rung? The other one of us will be more that happy to provide it.

Lesson #3: Protect Your Time.

This last lesson I’ll share with you wraps back around to the initial idea of my husband as the “zen master.” Kanan is not a meditation expert. He doesn’t do yoga. He’s certainly not Buddhist. He has fairly liberal beliefs but is in no way carefree or someone I’d call a free spirit. He has not reached enlightenment. Nor is he wearing a poncho and selling beads in the park. My point: he’s neither a true zen master, or a wannabe zen master. He’s just himself.

He is an adamant nonconformist in his own way. He’s so punk rock about his time that it fascinates me and encourages me on my digital minimalism journey. Simply put, Kanan understands with no degree of uncertainty that his time is his own, and he is allowed to selfishly protect it. He can exist amongst the chaos and remain himself, a calm center.

Social media? Not worth the time or energy. Texting? Only if absolutely necessary, or to appease his text-happy wife. Facetime is a solid no. Calling is a sometimes and only for the most important in his life. He refuses to make plans if he even has an inkling he may not want to participate in something or may want to just relax and do what he wants. He doesn’t feel the need to answer to anyone about how he spends his personal time, and most of the time that philosophy does apply to me. And while this can frustrate me sometimes as his behavior can appear to be noncommittal or selfish (which it is), he generally encourages me to live the same way. Selfishly with my time, even when it pertains to matters involving him.

This has taught me that being selfish with my time is okay, and that respecting each other’s time is important. It’s taught me not to dole it out indiscriminately, and to really decide if something or someone is worth letting into my life and space. My husband is basically a minimalist at heart, and someone so confident in himself that he can live his life from his own center, allowing in only the things that mean most to him. That is a skill most of us have to actively cultivate with things like exercise, meditation, learning – strategies. I joke that Kanan has had it figured out since I met him. I thought he was antisocial and afraid to commit. It turns out he just wanted to make sure I was someone he wanted to give his most precious resource to before he decided to marry me. What a way to live.

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Wedding Photos:

https://www.hennygraphy.com

Women In Business Series:  Kelly Lende Owner Pawsitive Experience

1) Explain what your business and professional background is.

My name is Kelly Lende and I own Pawsitive Experience – a full service professional dog grooming salon in Eureka, California. I have been grooming since 2012 when I completed a month-long intensive training and then an additional 100 grooms to receive my Professional Pet Stylist Certification. After working in different types of grooming salons for a few years I rented a booth and started to build up private clientele. I took everything I learned and turned it into my ideal groom shop for pet safety and comfort, opening Pawsitive Experience in January of 2017.

2) Tell us about your personal background/growing up around animals. Do you have any Pets now?

When I was born my family lived on a small ranch where I grew up with the sweetest yellow lab, Maggie, and an appaloosa quarter horse named Clipper. They were the best. My sister and I would dress Maggie up in different outfits, and I remember sneaking down to the field where, with the tap of a rock against a metal fence panel, Clipper would let us climb onto her back with no saddle or even a halter, and she would walk us around the five-acre field. I was in love, and it didn’t take me long to realize that I wanted to work with animals – I remember wanting to become a veterinarian.

Over the years I’ve owned bunnies, sheep, birds, dogs, cats, horses, rats, hamsters, fish, and even a steer. Each one held a special place in my heart, but there has always been something about dogs that I love the most! My husband and I now own the sweetest little terrier mix, Scruffy, and my beautiful blue standard poodle, Lincoln. We like to do everything with our fur babies, from camping and hiking to trips to our favorite vacation rental in Carmel, CA. My life wouldn’t feel complete without them!

3) What led you to a full-time career working with animals?

Shortly after I graduated from Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo I decided to become a registered veterinarian technician like my older sister. I was so jealous of her mentally stimulating career which allowed her to work with animals, so I moved to attend Yuba College and before I had even packed up my apartment I applied and was offered a job at Petsmart as a bather in the groom shop. I never really liked the job. It was so fast paced that I didn’t even remember most of the names of the dogs I bathed, but I was in college and it was paying the bills. After just a few months they asked if I would like to attend academy to become a groomer. At the time, good pay and full-time flexible employment was my priority, so I agreed. I headed off to Sacramento for a month-long training and I fell in love with it. I spent more time with every dog and I got to connect with them as well as use my artistic talent. I quickly began to excel and when I got back to my store, I built up regular clients quickly.

After a few months the semester was ending and it was time to apply and start the two-year vet tech program when I realized, I wanted to do this job forever. I was working with animals, getting to be creative and artistic, and doing something that made me smile every day. 

4) Do you think that your business has allowed you to understand and connect with animals better?

I do. I can usually immediately tell how an animal is feeling when they come in, and am aware of their emotional changes during the grooming process. For instance, I may be told a dog is aggressive but realize they’re actually just scared. I feel like I am very in-tune with small signals and behaviors, and I can tell that the animals are also in tune with mine. If I am stressed or upset they know that, therefore, being aware and in control of my own emotions is also a key part of my job. My business is successful if my dogs are safe and feel as comfortable as possible while in my care. Making money is nice, but the emotional and physical well being of my clients is my number one priority.

5) What is one valuable lesson animals have taught you about yourself?

My work with animals has showed me the importance of patience and compassion. Grooming is something that can frighten many dogs, but with unending patience and compassion for their sweet little souls I can help ease them through every process. Dogs are so innocent. Ninety-nine percent of the time the seemingly naughty dogs are just scared and need to build more trust with me. I love having the patience to slow down and understand what they are really going through. 

6) What is one valuable lesson animals have taught you about themselves?

Animals have shown me the happiness and unconditional love that comes from living in the moment. I think that is why we all love animals. They never hold a grudge. They never accuse, blame, or expect anything from us, and are filled with joy at the smallest act of kindness. If you pay attention, they can show you how to love, and how to live if you want a happy life.

7) What is one valuable lesson animals have taught you about other people/the world as a whole?

When I first started my grooming career I thought it would be perfect for me because I got to work with dogs and not with people. I thought people were the source of every problem in this world, and I would be happier avoiding them, but in fact it showed me the opposite. In a sense I learned to see people through the eyes of their dogs, who can look past all our quirks and just appreciate us. I found that there are so many more people out there who treat their dogs as a part of the family and couldn’t imagine a life without the love and laughter they bring. Dogs have taught me there is something good and kind inside every person. 

General Questions:

8) What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

I’d have to say when my husband told me I was capable of opening my own business. I’ve never had self-confidence, and opening up your own business, no matter how small, is scary. Without his belief in me I probably wouldn’t have my cute little shop, or the opportunity to bring a little happiness to our furry, four-legged friends. 

Additionally, I grew up watching my dad run his tire shop, Mulkey and Kovacovich, which helped instill in me a strong work ethic straight from childhood. Even though he closed the business when I was still a preteen I remember thinking that I wanted to run it when I grew up. Throughout my life I learned, as many of us do, that I had to work hard to succeed. I learned the value of integrity and the importance of clocking countless behind-the-scenes hours. These lessons have helped me so much along my professional journey.

9) What has been the biggest challenge/biggest reward from owning your own business?

All of it is a challenge! Owning my own business has been so much harder than I thought it would be. When you become your own boss, suddenly the work day doesn’t stop at 5pm, but instead continues around the clock. Finding the balance between giving it my all at work and keeping my sanity is something I’m still in the process of perfecting. I now make sure to silence my phone after work, take time for myself and my health, and take good vacations every now and then. 

The greatest reward has been to create the exact type of business I’ve always wanted and watch it succeed. I worked in several places before opening my own shop, learned from all of my experiences, and then dreamed up the ideal grooming scenario. Watching it come to life has been amazing.

10) What is one book that changed your life? Briefly describe why.

If I only get to pick one book, it has to be Loving What Is, by Bryon Katie. This book taught me how to find my own truth and to stop believing everyone else’s. I learned to recognize and notice the thoughts in my own head and then how to question if they are actually true for me. It taught me to how to have a relationship of love and honesty with myself, and therefore with every person I meet. I am still working on this process every chance I get, and for me it has been completely life-changing.

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4044 Broadway Street, Eureka CA

707-497-8279

https://m.facebook.com/pawsitivepetstyling/

Women In Business Series: Angela Boults Co-Owner Escape Salon & Skin Studio

Today’s blog edition is a special interview dedicated to one of my closest friends, Angela Boults. Angie has played a major role in mentoring and supporting me personally and professionally throughout the last decade, during half of which we worked together. Her kindness, honesty, non-judgmental guidance, and intellectual incite has proven invaluable to me during times of abundance and growth, but more importantly, during the lonely and challenging moments in my life. I call her a mentor because I believe she leads with a vulnerable and open heart and in doing so has helped create a community of strong female cooperation and empowerment. So much can be learned from her success doing so.

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1) Explain what your business is, and your role in the company.

Escape Salon & Skin Studio is a full-service salon established in February of 2012. I am a co-owner with my business partner Amy Kolshinski. We are both licensed estheticians (skin care therapists). 

2) Tell us a little about yourself, your professional background, and why you chose to get into the beauty service industry. 

I am a Humboldt County native. I was a dental assistant for seven years before discovering the world of esthetics. I have always been someone enchanted by all things beauty, but knew that I didn’t have a passion for hair or nails. It wasn’t until one day on my lunch hour when I went to have my lip waxed that it clicked for me. After my ten-minute service my friend said: “That will be $12.” At the time I was making $12 hourly and was struggling to love my job. The salon environment was fun and energetic and stirred something in me. I had made a comment to my cosmetologist friend about how I could totally see myself doing waxing but had no interest in the “other stuff.” She told me about Frederick and Charles Beauty College in Eureka and their esthetics program. That was it for me! As a single mom of three, it wasn’t an overnight change – I had to develop a plan. But six months later I had quit my dental assisting job and was enrolled full-time in the December 2006 esthetics program at Frederick and Charles Beauty College. The program took 600 hours to complete and it was the best thing I ever did for myself. 

3) What is it like working with an all-woman team and co-owning with another woman who happens to be a best friend? 

Amy and I joke all the time that we are totally “cheating” at the job thing. We have been in business together over seven years and have never had an argument. I couldn’t have imagined a world where my work environment is so fun, supportive, and full of love. My business partner and I are different in a lot of ways but also complement each other well. Amy is very organized and methodical. She takes care of all the logistical aspects of the business. I tend to be the more social of the two of us. If we need to network or engage in a challenging conversation, I am usually the woman for that job. All other situations are figured out together. There are six of us who work out of our salon: Amy and myself are estheticians, Katrina is our massage therapist and airbrush spray tan specialist, Yvette is killing it on fingers and toes (natural nail care), and JoAnn and Sarah are our talented and experienced hair stylists. We are all self-employed booth renters. These women empower me to be the best version of myself every day. We encourage and lift each other up without judgment and actually enjoy our interactions with each other. It is a unique working environment in that way. 

4) Do you feel that working with (predominantly) female clients and colleagues helps to create community? If so, why. 

I 100% agree that our work environment and the people (mostly women) we encounter foster a sense of community. We all actually care about each other. It would be impossible to share many hours with someone over the course of a year and not become part of their life. Our interactions with our clients and our co-workers impact who we are as a whole. Our world is opened up. New ideas and views are formed. Connections are made and relationships grow. People initially come to us for beauty and relaxation services. They return, over and over again, because of what transpires during those appointments. And I am so overjoyed and thankful that they do. 

5) What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned from spending so much time with women of all different backgrounds and life situations? 

I think the most powerful thing I’ve discovered in my years as an esthetician is that despite our amazing and beautiful differences, we are all basically the same. We all want to be loved, supported, validated, and respected. And sometimes we just want someone to listen. 

6) What is beauty to you? And how does your work environment foster that idea? 

Beauty is confidence. And confidence is beautiful. Does a single facial or leg waxing erase every self-perceived imperfection? Ummm… that would be a no. BUT, spending time taking care of one’s self can make them feel important. And the valuable choice to invest in ourselves makes us more confident. Putting ourselves on our own list is beautiful and necessary. 

7) What is one thing you hope your kids learn from your journey as a female business owner? 

More than anything, I hope my kids have observed that what we do for a living should be part of our life, not our entire existence. That everyone deserves to feel respected, happy, and valued in their profession. Life is short, but it can feel very long if you don’t love what you’re doing with it. 

General Questions:

8) What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

“You can’t please everyone.” Struggling to do so is fruitless and results in frustration. 

9) What is the biggest challenge and biggest reward of owning your own small business? 

The biggest challenge at times is knowing that I’m it. There is no one else to blame if things don’t work out. The biggest reward is that I am able to cultivate my environment. I create a space of acceptance for everyone and it feels pretty damn good. 

10) Tell us about one book that changed your life. 

The Four Agreements and The Fifth Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz changed my life. I chose two books because they really go together. The idea of these books is how to achieve heaven on earth by changing our agreements with the universe. The first agreement is to “be impeccable with your word.” Say things that need to be said, speak the truth, and do not gossip. The second agreement is to “not take anything personally.” What people do and say has nothing to do with you and everything to do with who they are and what they are going through. The third agreement is to “not make assumptions.” Take things for what they are and ask questions if you have them. The fourth agreement is to always do your best. Your best will vary from day to day but as long as you give what you can to everything you think and do, you’ll be on the right path. And the fifth agreement is to “listen but be skeptical.” Which I understand as actively listening to what people are telling you but knowing that every piece of information comes with a healthy dose of opinion. Doing my best to implement these five agreements has helped me to become a more effective communicator and has therefore helped improve the quality of my day to day interactions with others.

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http://www.escapesalon.org

215 7th Street, Eureka CA

707-269-0199

@eureka.escape

Women In Business Series: Tanishia Boswell Co-Owner Trimmed & Pinned Hair Studio

Tanishia Boswell, and her sister Patricia Arneson are licensed Cosmetologists and Eureka, CA natives. Tanishia has worked as a professional stylist for ten years, and Patricia has been in the industry for eight. Together then run a salon called Trimmed & Pinned Hair Studio in Eureka CA with five professionals offering all hair services, makeup, eyelash extensions and nails.

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1) Explain what your business is and what your qualifications in the beauty industry are.

My sister Patricia and I co-own Trimmed & Pinned Hair Studio in Eureka, California. We offer hair, nail, makeup and lash services, and will be open for three years in July.

2) Do you use any cruelty-free or vegan hair products? Do you retail any cruelty-free options in your shop?

We offer many 100% vegan and cruelty-free products from the brands Pulp Riot, Pravana, and Pureology, all of which we retail and use for professional services. Patricia and myself use Pulp riot as our main color line.

3) Do you have inquiries from clients regarding accessibility to cruelty-free or vegan hair care?

I believe that because we live here in beautiful humboldt county, many people are interested in incorporating more vegan and cruelty-free products into their everyday lives. This includes beauty and personal care needs, so we are happy to offer services that cater to that lifestyle.

4) Do you believe that you can achieve the same professional color and style results with cruelty-free / vegan options?

Yes! Of course! If not better results! I have used Pravana as my color line for ten years and Pulp Riot for three years. I have dabbled in other color lines as well, but the longevity and vibrancy of these two brands is unbeatable! Both lines provide shampoo, conditioner and styling products for all your needs.

5) Is it difficult to replace your professional products with high quality cruelty-free alternatives?

Not at all. I’ve been using vegan and cruelty-free color lines for ten years, and have offered Pravana and Pureology retail hair-care products for that same amount of time. Those, and now our newest line, Pulp Riot are our most sought after products.

6) Do you notice a shift in professional hair care offering more cruelty-free options to pros?

Yes! I feel like in the past three to five years so many companies have come out with vegan product lines. Many of them are sub-lines of the parent company, but unfortunately very few companies are 100% vegan.

7) Do the cruelty-free professional options cost more than traditional high-end hair colors, therefore causing an increase in price for client services?

Vegan products and services do tend to cost more in general. Although the up front cost of vegan hair color is more then non-vegan color, the longevity and vibrancy lasts exceptionally longer for our clients. This means we replace our pro supplies less often, and the client is ultimately happier with their results. Therefore, it’s a much better investment.

General Questions

8) What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

My mother has always told me to “Pick my battles.” This applies to spousal relationships, friends and family, and also applies greatly to my business. Not all battles are worth fighting over- if you truly love someone or what you’re doing, then don’t let the little things break that apart.

9) What has been the biggest challenge and the biggest reward of owning your own business?

Owning your own business is seriously the best and most stressful thing ever. Our biggest challenge was actually getting the salon up and running- acquiring all of our licensing, choosing product lines, and completing all the construction on our building was a stressful process. My sister and I did all of it in 30 days. We had to leave our previous job promptly, and our clients needed somewhere to go! I would say the most rewarding thing about owning our own business is all of our awesome clients, from the ones that followed us during our move to all the new ones we’ve met at our new location! All of us here at Trimmed & Pinned, whether we work here or come here for services, have become family and that is so rewarding.

10) What is one book that changed your life? Briefly describe why.

Okay, so I honestly don’t read a lot. I think the last books I read were the Harry Potter series. But I recently picked up the book Stay sexy, and don’t get murdered: A How to Guide by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, the hosts of one of my favorite podcasts: My Favorite Murder. I just started the book so I can’t tell you if it changed my life but after listening to the podcast I know it’ll be a good one, written by two amazing female entrepreneurs.

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Visit Trimmed & Pinned At:

https://m.facebook.com/Trimmedpinnedhairstudio/

507 H Street, Eureka CA

707-273-5015

@trimmedpinnedhairstudio

Women In Business Series: AEHMartistry

1) Explain what your business is and your qualifications in the beauty industry.

I’m a Content Creator and run a Cruelty-Free Beauty Channel on YouTube called AEHMartistry. This means I create tutorials and review videos using only cruelty-free beauty products. However, my goal is much bigger than putting makeup on my face without intention and telling you my opinion about it. My goal with my channel is to create a community centered around positivity where I can connect with people on a deeper level through our shared love of beauty products. My hope is to give people an escape from their day-to-day demands and inspire people to take a moment for themselves and pursue what they’re passionate about, just as I did. I also aim to be a resource for people transitioning into becoming a cruelty-free consumer by showing them how accessible it is.

I got my start in the beauty industry in 2007 when I graduated from Paul Mitchell The School and became a licensed cosmetologist. While working in salons as a hairstylist I continued my education and harnessed my craft as a freelance makeup artist specializing in weddings. Eventually I took a job as a store manager for a popular beauty boutique in Southern California where I learned a lot about running a business and received even more education on makeup, haircare, and skincare brands.

After having a baby I returned to work for about a year before my husband and I decided that me staying home would be the best fit for our family. However, I still wanted to be a part of the beauty industry in some capacity. So I turned my love for all things beauty into my online business as a content creator for my YouTube Channel, Instagram, and social media outlets called AEHMartistry.

2) Why did you decide to transition into being a cruelty-free beauty channel?

I had my channel for about a year before I fully transitioned into becoming a cruelty-free consumer and social media influencer. It was something that was in the back of my mind as I became a more aware consumer. I didn’t like that animals were suffering for our vanity. I spent that year researching as much as possible and I soon discovered that testing cosmetics on animals is completely unnecessary and actually not at all accurate or reliable in testing for the safety of humans. The best way I can describe it is to think of all the things we can eat, but that our dogs can’t. Like chocolate, for example. We can eat a whole candy bar and be fine, but our dogs could go into toxic shock after eating it. So why are we injecting a rabbit with cosmetic ingredients to test their reaction if, as a different species, we’d react differently? I learned that there are far more effective and ethical ways to test cosmetic safety rather than harming animals in the name of beauty.

Once I decided that I didn’t want animals to suffer for vanity purposes I discovered how many brands were already cruelty-free. So many more companies are making the transition now, which made the switch even easier for me.

For more information on animal-free cosmetic testing:

https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/why-we-do-it/alternatives-animal-testing

3) What has been the biggest challenge about going cruelty-free?

The only thing that was difficult was replacing a certain not cruelty-free makeup brand that was in my freelance makeup kit. I had stocked the full range of my go-to foundation and it took a few months to find something that could replace it. I’m happy to report that I like the cruelty-free brand of foundation even more than the previous brand that I stocked in my professional kit.

4) Do you get any resistance from the mainstream beauty community since going cruelty-free? Or is it mostly supportive?

The only resistance I experienced was from a couple people that were concerned about the safety of using cosmetics NOT tested on animals. Which I totally understand because I had those same questions. With a quick explanation of alternative testing procedures and why animal testing is outdated and unnecessary, they were fully accepting! Of course, I’ve had some brands reach out to me for collaboration and when I ask what their cruelty-free status is and don’t get a response back, that tells me they still test on animals. Overall everyone has been very supportive and I see more people being inspired to becoming cruelty-free which is very exciting!

5) Can you achieve the same results as a pro MUA and hairstylist using only cruelty-free products?

100% yes! The quality of products that are not tested on animals does not differ from their non-cruelty-free competitors! I see literally no difference when it come to quality for makeup, hair care, skincare, and even body care products! We are very fortunate to live in a time where people are becoming conscious consumers and companies can no longer turn a blind eye. Every month a brand is announcing their cruelty-free status and pulling out of countries that require animal testing. A big win for the animals and a big win for us makeup junkies!

6) Do you feel that cruelty-free beauty is now accessible enough for anyone to transition to using all cruelty-free products?

Absolutely! There are several brands available in all price points. From drugstore brands like: Wet n Wild, Covergirl and Milani to high end brands like Charlotte Tilbury, Too Faced, and Tarte Cosmetics. Usually a quick google search can help you discover whether or not a brand is considered cruelty-free.

My main resource is Tashina over at Logical Harmony:

https://logicalharmony.net/cruelty-free-brand-list/

7) What is your biggest piece of advice for people looking to transition to a more cruelty-free lifestyle?

A common misconception is that you need to throw away everything that is not considered cruelty-free. I don’t feel like that is necessary at all! The way I did it, and what I recommend, is to just replace the products you run out of with a cruelty-free product alternative and eventually your collection will be entirely transitioned. This is not only cost effective but also environmentally friendly. You’ve already spent the money, it’s best to use the products and then replace them as needed.

Lastly, seek out cruelty-free bloggers to get ideas and reliable information from. Other than myself, here are my favorites:

https://www.logicalharmony.net

https://www.ethicalbunny.com

https://www.crueltyfreekitty.com

if you can’t find any information on a brand’s status I recommend emailing or reaching out to the brand on social media to ask them about their testing policies. This is common with smaller companies.

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General Questions:

8) What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

Never stop learning. I’m all about growth and evolving and I feel like if you aren’t learning something new, you’re stagnant. And for me personally, being stagnant makes me feel very unsettled.

9) What has been the biggest challenge / biggest reward from owning your own business?

My biggest challenge has been balancing my personal and family life with my desire to fully invest time into myself and my channel. I have millions of ideas constantly circling my creative brain but I only have a specified amount of time per week to accomplish them. My number one priority is being a stay at home mom, so that means I have to really prioritize the content I am able to put out. However, this challenge can actually be a blessing because it pushes me to have a better “work life balance.” It forces me to disconnect, which is what I need because I can be a little obsessive about things I’m passionate about. Soon my daughter will start school full-time so I will be able to apply some of the ideas and goals I have, but I know that will bring on a new set of challenges. I’ll need to force myself to continue to have a healthy balance.

My biggest reward is the daily communication from my YouTube community that I’ve lovingly dubbed my “Fam Bam”. I have a very active community and I look forward to my chats with them when I upload new content. One of my favorite things is when people tell me they were nervous to try bold makeup looks but always wanted to. After we talk about some tips on how to rock a bold lip or bright eyeshadow with confidence, I’ve had them report back to me that they tried it and loved it!

I have also had some members of my community reach out to me and thank me for showing them how easy it is to transition into becoming a cruelty-free consumer. I love that I can be a resource for people going cruelty-free and also be an outlet for people to talk and dish about their favorite beauty things right along with me!

10) What is one book that changed your life? Briefly describe why.

I had a hard time with this question because even though I do love to read, I rarely carve out time in my life to enjoy a good book. And when I do they tend to be psychological thrillers or easy read fluff books (Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn or Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison). However, I do have one quote that comes to mind from a book I read a long time ago. I wish I still had it so I could quote it verbatim, but I always tend to lend out my favorite books and never see them again! It’s a quote from Dr. Drew Pinsky’s book Cracked. He states something along the lines of: “It is through our relationships with others that we can really learn and grow as individuals.” The chapter is roughly about how we learn a lot about ourselves through our experiences interacting with other people and how that can help us evolve. At least that’s how I took it. I was at a transitional point in my life where I was a bit of a recluse and not very open to new relationships and people for fear of getting hurt. But I was getting sick of that isolating mentality and felt stunted. When I read that I realized that I was ready to grow, ready to move forward with my life, and ready to be open to new relationships. Roughly three months later I met my husband. So yeah, I guess I could say that book changed my life.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjMIaMz2gF70O0YiYLSl9hw