Tuesday, August 16, 2016

living your true purpose// part 2: Jolie Black & Chelsee Joel

A mother daughter duo sharing their love through their little shop on Sanibel Island that provides the community with organic food that brings nourishment to the body and mind. They created a space that allows you to feel comfort and serenity while allowing the food to fully nourish you. 
Two beaming women that are eager to provide you with whatever you need, be that a smoothie, a quick chat or something as simple as a smile. They provide love in all they offer and you leave floating on a cloud of bliss.   
What do you do?
Chelsee: We make organic, clean, vegan foods for people, that are super foods and earth based and all very medicinal. We opened Among the Flowers about 2.5 years ago; it has been an awesome journey so far. We chose Sanibel because the universe guided us, it seemed like the perfect time in life to start an alternative wave of business on Sanibel, for the community and for Fort Myers too. This place is very sacred for us. It has also been good healing process as well.

Jolie: The business practices we are use are mindful and heartfelt. Everything has to have a good vibration so that we can give it out, and give people the best we can. We are here all the time, it our home and we just want to be happy. We want everyone to thrive.

Chelsee: People come in and ask us what we think they need today. We keep asking questions to see what they need based on how they are feeling. We like to think of it as what can we remedy you with.

Jolie: They come in totally flustered at times. The environment and experience is what puts them at ease. That’s what I love the most about doing this. I would love to make it possible for more people to experience it. For now, I’ll just go day by day.
I would like to keep opening up their minds to the ease of taking care of themselves, because we are all ultimately responsible for our self. Our temple is ours and ours to take care of. We need people like Chelsee and you who are reaching out and showing people that it is not hard to do! It’s okay to do it! Even if you work in a cubicle job, find joy in it. Find joy in everything. It’s about creativity. We are creating the universe; we are creating food and community. Keep building on that so people don’t feel alone in this world. We want to be an open door for that.

What made you want to open Among the Flowers?
Chelsee: Our passion to share what we know, and what we can continue to learn. I was really hungry to share what I have learned along my journey so far, and to have this space available to us. I literally manifested it one night in November. A couple months later my mom asked me if I wanted to open a shop together. We gathered what we had and opened in April.
I’m a local to Fort Myers, and never have been able to find a safe haven. Whenever someone walks into the door, I think to myself this is why I am here right now. Their eyes just glow and they feel like they are home, they feel so comfortable. It’s about finding comfort, comfort in amazing food and atmosphere.
What was your childhood like? Do you feel like it led you to your dream now?
Chelsee: My childhood taught me a lot. It showed me what I wanted and what I didn’t want. My family was separated when I was very young. In one house I ate a certain way and felt a certain way. In another house I ate a simpler way and felt another way. I was exposed to being vegetarian early on and really fell in love with vegetarianism.
In my adolescent and teenage years I found things in my life that I needed to heal. All the bad food I was eating at the time had really screwed up my gut. That’s what really got me into studying about gut health, vegetarianism, movement of the body, and the importance of being in nature. Being shoeless, Being an activist. Being a strong woman! Regardless of what sex or race you are, you are responsible for yourself. You are your guide once you are out of your mother’s womb. You are exposed to the world and you are the one looking through your eyes. It’s a healing journey because of past traumas, past amazingness; the back and forth of everything.
This shop is really healing for myself and I hope its inspiring other people to heal their body and their mind. Coming and being in the present moment, that is what the shop has brought me and I hope it brings everyone else.
Jolie: She is very humble She is constantly studying and reading. Schooling herself on holistic healing. If you have a question about anything, she will find out. She will come up with a remedy for it.
As a child, I was always independent. I got up in the morning, got myself ready and to school. I was always a foodie, even though my mom was never a cook. My dad’s family would cook on the weekends and it was all about the meal, because we are Italian. I love that. Everything tasted so good, it was about the flavor and the whole experience about getting family together. It was dreamy and awesome.
I was also very aware. My grandma would eat margarine in the 70’s and I would ask how could it be good for you if it’s not real. They believed the commercials on TV telling them it was healthy. I couldn’t believe it.
You need to make sure what you are consuming is real. Over time I wanted to eat the best, feel the best; get the most energy with the least amount of consumption. Here this is the way we eat, and I wanted to keep it evolving and wanted to expand on that. So we can inspire others on their quest to being a better person by opening their minds to how easy it is.

"Every day you have 24 hours, you want to feel the best you can. It’s about feeling good and keeping your vibration high. I want to be happy every day as much as I can. Eating right helps that."

How did you know this was your passion?
Jolie:  How I feel fuels it and gives me more energy. I look forward to every day. Today is my birthday and I am so happy I am here. I would not want to be anywhere else.
Chelsee: It kind of hit me in the face. In high school I became vegetarian and I really inspired my friends to become as well. I showed them how to do it and that its okay to tell your parents. I had to convince and almost sell being a vegetarian to people.
I have always been intuitive and when I became vegetarian it felt very natural.
After all the research I did I saw that it was better for your health and it was more sustainable. My husband and I are plant based. When you have amazing local food, its like a happy pill, your brain turns on. 

"People deserve to feel this way, this love and this vitality, and to know its reality!"

What advice could you give to someone to help them find their passion?
Jolie: Breath. Look around within yourself. Take time. Slow down to find your passion and then run for it.
Journal. Journaling has kept me on the right path as well as yoga. In yoga you can slow it down, find inspiration in your breath.

Chelsee: I am a strong believer in you always go back to where you started. That is part of the healing journey I have been on.

"Just feel it. If you feel something turn on in your mind or your heart, just follow it. It is your guide; it has come to you for a purpose. It is important and vital for you to not let it go away. Trust yourself"

Saturday, August 13, 2016

beauty of life around us

If you know me you know I have an addiction to capturing every moment on camera.
Ever since my first film camera in elementary school, I have been snapping every momentous moment and all the moments in between. I never want to forget something that brought me so much joy; so I photograph the people, the setting, and the feelings felt in that time.

“If you want to learn what someone fears losing, watch what they photograph”
This quote hits me so strongly.
I never want to lose the memory of the moment.
The people that were there to induce laughter so vigorous it made your abs workout. 
The adventures and experiences you had together so long ago and the emotions behind them all.
The power of how a picture can transport you to the nostalgic moment and how you felt in that exact time.
I don’t want to lose that. So I photograph.
And I try to capture the moment how I see it. The beautiful masterpiece of emotions, beauty, and life in front of me that I try to embrace all into a single photo.
The raw moments of you just truly being you. not noticing the outside world is looking at you. Those moments I try to capture of you in your purest self.

My friends are my muses. They bring me inspiration from being themselves in all their beauty and all that they are.
Even if you don’t capture a photograph electronically or on film, capture the moment in your head. Look around and fully inhale all that this present moment has to offer you and feel it.
See the world around you as a constant piece of moving art. 

It's exciting, it's beautiful and its meant to make you feel something.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

living your true purpose// part 1: Katelyn Gravel

I wrote a few weeks ago about how Florence Welch and Brittany Howard are women living their true purpose. I realized after seeing them I am surrounded by people in my own life that are doing the same.

You can see it in their smile and you can feel it in their energy. 
They are eager for every new day and delighted to do what they love.
Without even asking them if they love what they do, you can just tell by the way they express their art, in whatever form they may be.

I felt so inspired that I decided to do an interview series of people I know that are living their passion every single day. This series is to show you that it is possible to live your passion, and to inspire you to find what ignites your soul.

Because life is too short to not do what you are meant to do.

Katelyn Gravel is my dear friend, hair stylist, and long lost sister (basically). When I first met Katelyn I noticed how she brightens a room with her smile and cheerful energy. She has this sense of calmness mixed with drive and compassion. You can spill your whole life story to her and she attentively listens because she truly cares. She is an extraordinary woman who balances being a
hair artist, business owner, actress, singer and loving wife.. For a lady who wears so many hats she handles everything gracefully and with a contagious giggle.

What do you do?
I am a hair artist. I recently opened my own salon that follows a more environmentally friendly and low toxicity mission. I also get to talk to people, hear their stories and connect with them. Being a hair artist is so much more than I ever thought it could be. It is also so much more intimate than you would realize.
When someone sits in your chair, they feel a sense of comfort, and confidentiality. Many people refer to it as therapy, which is tends to be for both parties. They don’t just sit in the chair and vent. Someone sits in my chair and we can have any kid of discussion. They leave feeling refreshed not just appearance but also mind.

"Beauty comes from within. It should be a whole experience, because your internal self reflects on your external self."

I also do theater. Which I would say is my number one passion. Theater is my outlet for everything I can’t do here. Everything I learn through hair styling and talking to people here I put towards theater, they go together.
What was your childhood like? Do you feel like it led you to your dream now?
I am very fortunate and blessed to grow up the way I have. I had two very supportive and wonderful parents, who always cultivated whatever creativity I wanted to follow.

"They just let me be me."

Which is the best gift you could ever be given. I feel like when you are older that allows you to have confidence to be you, to continue on.
I did theater since I was a kid. My mom always took us to Broadway Palm plays. I remember one time I went to the Annie Christmas show and I was sitting up front and they picked me to come up on stage. I got to be in the cast for a minute.  I was overwhelmed they chose me! I had done theater before, but that was my first time in a professional theater on stage. I was nervous as hell, I had hives when I got off the stage. I remember thinking “Oh my god, this is what I want to do. This is SO cool”.  I felt totally scared but I loved the feeling. That feeling that you are so excited that you are frozen. That feeling is what made me realize I really love this. This is something that ignites me and excites me.
I guarantee they did that every night with some kid in the audience and they had no idea that it would impact someone like that.
For hair, my grandma was a hairdresser and my uncle in Manhattan was as well.
My grandma would always let me do her hair when I was little. I have pictures of her with 50 bows in her hair because I got my bow bin out and just put them all in her hair. She would just let me do whatever I wanted and was such a sport about it. She would just be like “lets play hair”.

How did you know this was your passion?
I went to hair school when I was in high school. At first I went because the state pays for it when you go then. So I thought I will start with that and then I’ll have a career.
When I was in hair school and started doing hair, it all came so easily to me and all made sense. It was very intuitive and very artistic. Then when I realized I was good at it, I thought I can do this for a while and I enjoy it. The more people I connected with while doing their hair, the more I got into it. I want to do this for a long time. I also want to do it as least toxic as possible. After a few years of doing hair I realized if I am going to be doing this for years I cant expose myself to the chemicals in this industry. So I started going more natural and then opened my own salon.
The industry needs to grow in that, as we do as well. Options are limited but I am continually looking for better processes. My mission is to find a better way to do it for as long as I am doing it.

"When things happen naturally and come really easily, that’s how you know you are on the right path. Because when you keep hitting roadblocks and difficult moments, you should revaluate where you are at and maybe you need to decide if this is the right path."

What advice could you give to someone to help them find their passion?
It’s the little moments of every day.
The choices you make every day that guide you to your passion.
You can flourish and thrive in your passion anywhere, you just have to make the connections with the right people and be guided to start to find it.

"Follow your heart. Follow your intuition. We all are intuitive. We just don’t always listen to what our intuition is telling us."

We have doubt in our own intuition, and then we question and we make other choices because we are afraid. We are afraid we will not succeed, but success is being able to fail and learn from your failure. It’s not about being perfect every time, it’s about failing.
You learn every time you fail. It’s just a process and a step in the right direction.

"Keep moving and going forward."