My friends and family always make July 2nd an exciting and special day for me. But this year, my anticipation was racked with melancholy in the days leading up to my birthday. I was struggling with the number 25, struggling with the knowledge of aging.  I was sad to 'age-out' of the wide-eyed niche society labels as 18 - 24, which is even an option on most exercise equipment, and worried that my accomplishments seemed less impressive than they were when I was 24 and more expected of someone who is 25. 

All of these anxieties stemmed directly from my fixation on societies perception of age and whether or not I had, by societies standards, reached my peak or if I was peaking momentarily.

After a saguaro cactus reaches 40, its peak growing period begins.  Between the ages of 50 and 60, it will begin to produce its first flowers. The same is often true of women. Much of the cactus will spend its first decades sheltered beneath a nurse plant, coincidentally, we are more likely to find protection in trends or expectations in youth, but once a woman has grown beyond the desire for approval is when she truly blossoms.  Indeed, age is just a number, nothing more, nothing less. 

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On the eve of this years Strawberry Moon, the shortest full moon of the year and lunar signal to some Native American tribes that it was time to harvest ripening strawberries, I reflected on the night. 

During the Middle Ages, compline was the hour for nightly prayer, marking the end of the day for monks. Typically involving meditation on death, it initiated the hours of dark and silence - a perilous time. As clergy drifted to sleep, their authoritative prayers faded and spiritual protections weakened.  In the darkening night, the faithful and the superstitious lay awake and envisioned freewheeling devilry, unchecked by the dozing pious.  The witching hour - from midnight until 3:00 AM - was when spirits and spells became the most potent. This was followed by Satan's hour - 3:00 AM until 4 AM. Supernatural threats aside, this darkest hour of night is no time for humans to be about as we are physiologically ill-suited to nocturnal pursuits. 

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I'm always quick to say spring is my least favorite season.  It's messy.  It's ice-crack and tulip bud, wet streets and birdsongs, mulch and meltwater. Allergies ramp up, rain clouds open and frozen feelings come loose. In spring things dawn, break, molt, change form; it's also when our skin is changing too. 

This winter was particularly hard on my extremely sensitive skin. As I emerged from hibernation my dry and damaged skin was forced out of the intense environment it had unwillingly grown accustomed to and into another plagued by inconsistency, wavering between soggy humidity in April and bitter cold blasts in May. It wasn't until I went on vacation in the tropics that my skin seemed to regain itself, leading me to wonder what my skin was benefiting from while away that was virtually absent in my routine at home in New York.  What was naturally here but not there? The only conclusion I could come to was nothing but clean, raw nature.

 

My curiosity led me to RIPE. A skincare brand that boasts products designed, sourced, & crafted for our true nature. Just as we are nature. Eight years ago, founder Shannon moved to Hawaii and recreated her favorite skin care products in her own kitchen using papaya straight from her backyard. Now located in both Hawaii and coastal California , RIPE sources from both regions to the root - papaya & kukui nut from rural Hawaii, lavender & mint from California - either wild harvested by the RIPE team or from consciences growers they know personally.  

Seasons don't just switch like records in a jukebox, the next one neatly clacking into place. Spring is like summer, like autumn, like winter. It's a moment in motion changing before you. It's always transforming and our skin is too. Keeping skin care products as natural as possible keeps us in sync with nature and our natural selves. RIPE is a refreshing & soulful way to celebrate change and adjust to it, naturally. 

 images by  @stephseverance

images by @stephseverance

check the RIPE products I love here

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I would like to thank all mothers, who encourage their daughters to discover, individually what being female does mean and might mean. Who encourage conversations about real, important issues. Who teach their daughters to be brave, smart and proud.  

Having to question every mode of behavior and every expectation is the scariest part of being a woman today.   So, I would like to thank my mother, for teaching me to not feel guilty for doing exactly what I want, and to not feel crazy because I'm not content with what society says I am supposed to be content with. Because of you, I am not afraid of being bright, or of not being beautiful, or of having an ego of my own. I'm not afraid to be assertive, or to take control of my life, or to consider myself important. I value women. I value myself.  Thank you for teaching me that I can become the woman I want to be, and that I can help to build a world that will value her. 

images by Abigail Heyman 

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 Fresco, House of Livia, Prima Porta, 1st Century B.C. 

Fresco, House of Livia, Prima Porta, 1st Century B.C. 

In 2014, I took a course while studying abroad in Italy on Tuscan gardens. To date, this was the hardest, most rewarding course I have experienced.  People have created gardens across the world and throughout time, and these spaces have been an essential part of the human experience.  Gardens such as Eden, are rooted in religious context, to this day, regarded as sacred. Gardens are also a key element in some of the best-known myths. One of the Labors of Hercules required the hero to steal, from a place on the far edge of the world called the Garden of the Hesperides, the golden apples that the goddess Hera had given to her husband Zeus as a wedding present. The palaces of the ancient Near East are known to have spectacular gardens, including the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, whose precise location is still unknown.

The heady scent of hyacinths. Leaves unfurling. Buds in bloom. I really wish I could keep plants alive. 

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Most of us carry within our hearts a list of places to visit – and my list has always included Ireland, a country that projects a wealth of familiar imagery and a heritage I know little about.

These images, captured on film by my mother decades ago, detail Ireland's quintessence both cherished and worn  – deeply etched in a looping Celtic font – and forever evocative of stunning panoramas, ancient myths and legends. The images seem to promise a rough-and-ready experience – knitted together with a horse and cart clip-clopping past green fields and chalk-white cottages, a Clancy Brothers album playing as the soundtrack to a lunch of oysters and Guinness.

As much as Ireland projects a familiar image, it is also a place I am eager to discover for myself.

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In 1950, Henri Langlois, director of the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris, and his partner, Frederic Rossif, decided to launch a conceptually ambitious series of artists' films.  

"We provide the artists with the technical means for filming and let them do their thing."  

In autumn of the same year, at the Avant-Garde Festival in Antibes, they entrusted Picasso with a 16mm camera, and color film.  To his great joy, Picasso became a movie director in the gardens of Le Fournas over the period of several weeks.  Delighted with this new experience, he filmed a series of improvised scenes inspired by his usual themes. 

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Picasso's episodes depicted stories that were interpreted by actors with painted bodies and sculptures set up in improvised decors. True to himself - Picasso painted directly on the actors skin and distorted their bodies.  Their bodies thus became immense living ceramics whose movements made the paintings come alive.  

The finished product, The Death of Charlotte Corday is a humorous reference to the famous 1793 painting by Jacques-Louis David, entitled The Death of Marat, making reference to the revolutionary who was stabbed in his bathtub by Charlotte Corday - a subject that Picasso himself painted in the 1930's.  

Picasso's little film productions turned out like filmed theater, falling somewhere between animation and performance art. Unfortunately however, the film no longer exists, as it was never produced or marketed and only a few photographs remain. 

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I finally developed some 35 mm film from my November trip to New Orleans.  This was my first time visiting New Orleans, and I was absolutely swoon by the mystique of this place. Truly, 'The Big Easy' is a place unlike any other, woven together by countless anthropologies and stories far too vast for any one person to own, so they instead belong to the whole city. A beautifully haunted melting pot, New Orleans has an expansive soul that is palpable, self-assured in a way that sustains hope and grit and sadness at once. 

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It takes a certain kind of crazy to live in New York City. You have to be able to find beauty in paying $12 for a box of off-brand cereal and fighting your way through crowds of meandering tourists to get anywhere. Beauty is the mystery of life after all. And it is a mystery that I am perfectly happy barely spending any time in my unjustifiably expensive apartment on the weekdays, and on weekends, busy running all the errands I wasn't able to run during the week.  But sometimes, when I find myself crossing 5th avenue late night or cutting through central park on my way from work to meet fiends for dinner, and I hear musicians playing for tips and see people are out and about everywhere -  I cant help but thinking to myself - how could I want to live anywhere else?   

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Whenever I leave New York City for my family's home in New Hampshire I'm always surprised by how different my days look. All of the sudden everything is turned inside out - it is untucked and wearing flip-flops. No longer am I sharing a sidewalk with half-frantic business types speed-walking to their early morning meetings.  Instead, day after day, I watch people make their way to the beach with surfboards strapped to bicycles, belted to antique cars, or tucked under arms. The contradiction is wildly fascinating. 

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The edge of the sea is a strange and beautiful place.  Throughout the long history of Earth it has been an area of unrest, changing with the swing of the tides, belonging now to the land, now to the sea.  Only the most hardy and adaptable can survive in a space so mutable, yet the area between the tide lines is teaming with plants and animals.  In this difficult world, life demonstrates its enormous toughness and vitality by occupying almost every conceivable niche - it carpets the intertidal rocks; or half hidden, it descends into fissures and crevices, hides under boulders, or lurks in the wet gloom of sea caves.      

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Every time I find myself in this marginal world, I gain some new awareness of its beauty anddeeper meanings - sensing that intricate fabric of life by which one creature is linked to one another and its surroundings.

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This awareness of a world apart most recently came to me during the golden hour on a beach on the coast of Georgia. I had come down at sunset and walked far out over the wet and gleaming sand. The ground was strewn with the shells of exquisitely colored mollusks, the rose telling, looking like scattered petals of pink roses.  I thought.  At one time, their ancestors had been sea dwellers, bound to the salt waters by every tie of their life processes. Little by little, over thousands of years snails have adjusted themselves to life both inside and outside of the water. 

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The sequence and meaning of time and life was quietly summarized to me in the existence of hundreds of small snails - the spectacle of life in all its varied manifestations as it has appeared, evolved, and sometimes dies out. Underlying the beauty of the spectacle there is meaning and significance. It is the elusiveness of that meaning that haunts us, that sends us again and again into the natural world where the key is hidden. It sends us back to the edge of the sea.  


some photos by @roughhgem

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I went to sleep with foam rollers in my wet hair for an entire year when I was nine, because I wanted corkscrew curls like my friend Evie.  At thirteen, I straightened my hair into an near lethal state, causing the dry ends to fray and break apart.  When I was sixteen I nearly poisoned myself with copious amounts of extra hold hairspray for the sake of maintaining big hair just like my mother.  On the cusp of seventeenth I learned how to surf, coincidentally, this was the year I learned how to take care of my hair - or rather, how not to take care of my hair. 

The ocean is a textural wonderland, a mineral odyssey for your hair.  It was submerged within this vast liquid atmosphere that I began not only to recognize my hair at its healthiest, but at it's most genuinely 'me.'  And so I began spending less time transforming my hair into something it was not.  I began to care less about a routine that did not harmonize with my life and actually started to live it.  It was Rosalind Russell who said, "taking joy in living is a woman's best cosmetic."  The more we evolve, and our practices are determined by delight, the more the beholder and the object of beauty are one and the same.

Far and few between are hair products that truthfully prioritize simplicity and healthy life over fussy routines and regimens.  The ocean is life.  It is me, it is you, it is us.  When we float in it, we are healed, we are relaxed, we are home.  It's only natural that I would gravitate towards a product that is made from the sea. People ask me all the time what I use for my hair.  Playa has become my go-to for low maintenance cool hair.  Intent on delivering “get out of bed and go” ease with botanical-leading products that hew to the Environmental Working Group’s guidelines, there is nothing, other than the ocean, that gets my hair looking as laid-back and healthy.   


hair always by @playa 

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