How To Live When You Know You’re Dying

August 19, 2014
 

I’m convinced that God, or the Universe, wanted me to take this spiritual and occasionally violent journey through my teens and 20’s, to look for my purpose–my key home. And what I found surprised me; I learned that I had the key the whole time. I just didn’t know how to use it.

I found what unlocked the door home for me—It was choosing to live. I started to make decisions like I had one week left. And life arrived on my doorstep without any more seeking.

When my 93 year old grandma from Queens bought a shirt with a big prick in the fabric, I didn’t understand why, until she said, “Aww who cares. I need a new shirt and I don’t know how much time I have left. It’s the last thing I’m worried about bubala.” I thought, well, who knows how much time any of us have left, really? I remember in that moment, thinking that I better start living like grandma Eve—she had it right. There’s a lot you can learn from people that see life like it’s one week away from the last chapter coming to a beautiful close.

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Unlearning Beauty. A Model Shares Her Beauty Standards

August 12, 2014
 

I’ve lived through 10 years of eating disorders. I’ve worn a size 0 and a size 16. I’ve dealt with female athlete triad, body dysmorphic disorder, and I’ve had plastic surgery. All in 28 years of life.

I don’t wish this journey upon anyone else, but I will say with conviction that had I not had these experiences, I wouldn’t be sitting where I am now, on the other side of my own personally enlightened rainbow, so to speak.

We can all agree that when we look through a magazine, we’re being taught to learn something that is untrue. In the United States, flipping through a fashion magazine will teach you that being beautiful is so important. Maybe even the only thing that’s important.

In this country, beauty is a pair of long stemlike legs, a skinny body, symmetrical face, clear skin, perfect teeth, a perky full chest, a nice round butt, cherub lips, thick hair, defined muscles, a thigh-gap, wrinkle-free skin and hairless limbs. If you check every box, you’ve probably been scouted by a modeling agency — just like I was.

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Manhattan to Montauk: An Inspired Summer Menu (Recipes)

August 5, 2014
 

August is such a fun month for eating–and even more fun to cook with all of the fresh produce that’s in season. Some of my favorite farm-fresh August items are avocado, mango, fresh peppers, cucumbers, cherries and rhubarb (the latter two, together!).

My fondest memory of a cherry rhubarb crisp was during my first trip to Manhattan with my Mom. We went to the Central Park Boat House to indulge in a lavish mother-daughter dinner, and in our most lady-like way, we made sure to order every course. For dessert, Mom ordered the flourless chocolate lava cake (which was still new to us suburbanites 8 years ago), and I went out on a limb and ordered something that sounded fancy, a Cherry Rhubarb Crisp. In truth, I thought by ordering the fanciest, most mature-sounding dessert (what’s rhubarb anyway?), that I could trick the waiter into thinking I was 21 and most importantly, that I was totally capable of ordering a spiked Mexican coffee to pair with my very mature choice in dessert.

And, it worked! I was the officially the fanciest underage consumer in Manhattan and Mom was tickled that I found so much thrill in trying to order a Mexican coffee.

After our big meal in Manhattan at the Boat House, we giddily strolled over to the Boat House dock where we had made an appointment for a gondola ride on the lake; Mom and I jumped into the wobbly ornate boat for a happy memory that would always be burned into my mind. August on the lake in Central Park. A gondolier singing Italian opera as he paddled my Mom and I under a landmark bridge at sunset. I was wearing my brightest Lily Pullitzer dress with a deep part in my hair–a part that I think has been trademarked by the state of North Carolina. My Mom was there to support my dreams–and to pay the dinner bill. This was my dreamy first experience in Manhattan. Quite the foreshadowing for my future to come in the city where my big dreams came true. Manhattan is where I got my start in modeling, and where the birth of My Kind of Life came to fruition. I guess there’s something to be said about chasing your dreams in Manhattan–whether it’s scoring a spiked drink at the age of 20 or the idea of pursing the offer of a career as a model and starting an inspirational blog in the world’s most competitive city, full of real writers. So I say, what you chase shall be yours–and so it was. And so it is. (READ MORE for RECIPES)

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A Model’s Guide to Perfect Summer Skin (All-Natural)

July 29, 2014
 

Perfect summer skin is something we all set out for during the season where makeup is minimal and bare skin is at its height. After spending beaucoup bucks on products that have more of a price-tag placebo than anything, I threw my hands up in the air and surrendered. Well, I guess my skin is just difficult.

But I’ve always had this reoccurring thought: My face breaks out, but no where else on my body do I get these flair ups and skin irritations. The break outs had to be caused by the products I was using. Probably the expensive creams that stirred much debate with my husband, usually with me trying to explain that the more expensive the products were, the more likely they must be to work. When nothing worked and I finally threw my hands in the air, the answers came to me. (READ MORE for video + pictures + skincare recommendations)

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Body Empowerment Meditation (Video)

July 22, 2014
 

What I’ve learned on my journey, and sharing body image empowerment, is that body image is totally unrelated to size. You could be size 0 and unhappy, and the same goes for a size 18. Happiness comes from within, not a size.

Yesterday, I went on a meditative walk down the gorgeous Ditch Plains beach in Montauk. Walking in my bikini, I thought to myself, how would I feel about my body if no one had ever told me I was fat? Would I stop breathing through my chest and start breathing through my belly? How would I feel about my body if one of my friends openly admitted that they felt fat–would their comment be enough to disempower me from feeling worthy? I wonder, if fat or thin never existed in our minds–if we let the thought float off like a balloon that never comes back–how would we see our bodies?

Strong? Quick? Elegant? Smart? How would you see your body, if fat and thin never existed?

On my walk, I also started to think about how my personal journey has changed–in the most positive, self-loving way. Alas, even with all of this self-love (and as a lingerie model), I still could not get myself to take off my shirt in yoga. Sounds silly, I know. But the truth is, I bet more of us feel this way than we actually admit. Even if it’s a thought buried in the back of our mind. “Man am I hot in this yoga class. What I would give to take my shirt off right now. I’m not going to offend anyone during their peaceful practice, though. I’d rather suffer than let the class see me topless.”

Stereotypically, I’m not the same size as the women taking their tops off in a hot, sweaty yoga class (and oh do I envy their freedom to do so). Though, as I pushed back into down dog, my shirt started to loosen around my hips and began to fall to my chest–exposing my soft tummy to my fellow yogis. My first thought was to tuck it in to the front of my pants, like I did every other time, but this day was different. Something stopped me–I think it was the Universe telling me that I am great enough. Great and strong enough to empower the yogi’s around me to expose their most vulnerable body parts without anyone judgment. So as my shirt dropped towards my chest, my stomach took it’s first breath of pranayama and felt the joy of freedom–like a lonely dog, blissful, wild and free as soon as their owner comes home to greet them. (READ MORE for continued STORY and VIDEO)

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