Earth Day: The Roses and the Bees

Earth Day: The Roses and the Bees

It’s Earth Day today. And it is an important day, because while the “Hallmark Holiday” nay-sayers might call it a fake holiday, and the cliche-ers might say things like “every day should be Earth Day,” we have to face the reality that in our modern, mass produced, tech-driven society, every day is pretty much the opposite of Earth Day. While I’ve written about Earth Day, and other issues concerning sustainability and the health of our planet, my vibe today is a bit different.

This year’s Earth Day falls during Passover and following Easter. It’s a month past the Vernal Equinox, and a time in many other spiritual and cultural traditions that symbolize freedom, new beginnings, and rebirth. It’s also just over a week following the fire that destroyed much of La Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris.

While you might not think about that as significant information for an article about Earth Day since it is a manmade building in the middle of a manmade city, its burning during this time in history was also seen as many as symbolic of rebirth and new beginnings. A symbol of a paradigm shift from a masculine dominated society to a Divine Feminine one.

Bee on dandelionWhat really grounded that idea for me was not only that the iconic famed rose windows were saved (Rose is one of the most powerful and universal images of the Divine Feminine–but Rose’s energies are also balanced with the Divine Masculine because of its thorns), and the bees who lived in hives on the roof (set there as a Paris initiative to protect the declining bee population) survived.

To learn more about Divine Feminine archetypes and their relation to beauty and skincare, take the free Beauty Archetype Quiz HERE.

Let’s talk about those bees.

The honeybee is another longstanding universal symbol of the Divine Feminine. It’s not just the fact that they are governed by a Queen, or that the workers are female–it’s that everyone knows their role, and fulfills it in collaboration every day, for the greater good of the whole–of the hive–of Mother Earth. While all that they do may appear to be in service to the Queen, the Queen herself is a busy bee, constantly feeding and nourishing all the larvae to ensure the future of the hive. It is a cooperative, collaborative, intuitive society that exists to nourish the greater whole beyond the single hive. Without the bees, just about every other species of life on the planet would suffer, because their efforts ensure food at nearly every stage of the food chain on this planet. It is true that if bees go extinct, humans will too. Protecting them needs to be a top priority.

I have a complex history with bees because I used to be deathly afraid of them.

It started when I was a child. I was at my dad’s house and we were running back and forth from the kitchen to the back patio bring food outside for a barbecue. The sliding glass doors must have been open for quite awhile, because when I opened a cabinet to get plates, three or four bees flew out of the cabinet right at my face. I didn’t get stung, but holy cow was I freaked out. For years after (and probably still now, to be honest), whenever I’d get a buzzing sound near my face, I’d flinch, sometimes to the point that I’d give myself a neck spasm!

Carpenter beeWe have carpenter bees in our yard. They are extremely aggressive, torpedoing right at me, buzzing loudly while I’m gardening. These are the males–they won’t sting or bite but they will pelt you right in the face–in order to protect the females, which are busily nesting in my deck. I do not like those bees, but I also don’t want to kill them, because they are important community pollinators, and pollinators are declining.

I live in a very “Suburbia USA” type of neighborhood in the Philadelphia suburbs where most of the houses look the same, and most of the neighbors mow their lawns around the same time on the same day each week. The majority of my neighbors focus on getting green, weed-free lawns and use pesticides and synthetic fertilizers to achieve that. We don’t use those, and we also don’t mow often. That mostly started because my husband has really bad allergies and between both our schedules, we just don’t have the time. We certainly could hire someone to do that for us, but honestly, it’s just not a priority for us.

So our house kind of sticks out among our neighbors (much to their dismay, I’m sure), because it’s a little bit wild, with dandelions, violets, plantain, unruly raspberries and honeysuckles, mints, and lemon balms. Because of this, we also have a lot of bees. Tiny ones, regular honeybees, fuzzy and chubby bumblebees, and those big and shiny guardian carpenter bees. By being busy and, well, because of my husband’s allergies, we accidentally created a sanctuary of native plants in our yard for bees, butterflies, sometimes hummingbirds, and other pollinators.

I made the decision to take that further, and plant more native plant species in my yard to make it even more home for the pollinators.

Every year, I add more perennial native plants, in addition to my annual herbs and flowers. We also have a couple of stumps in our yard from trees that we sadly had to take down, that we are allowing Mother Earth to take back, rather than grinding them down. Our soil is mostly clay, but it is rich with fungi and other microbes, so it happened with the first stump way sooner than we thought, and is already happening with the one we had to take down last year due to storm damage.

This year, Earth Day is about the roses and the bees.

yellow rose

One of the roses from my unruly rose bush with an attitude.

Last fall, I planted bee balm, in addition to other native plants (Joe Pye weed, goldenrod, witch hazel, and elderberry to name a few). This year, I will add to that, starting today, with a new rose bush. My current rose bush is the bane of my husband’s existence because first of all, it houses some of those aggressive carpenter bees, and second, it laughs at his landscaping efforts. It grows so fast, and every time he trims it, the next day, it will sprout a new branch that shoots two feet up over the top of all the other ones. It makes me smile all the time.

You might wonder, aren’t I afraid of the bees in my own yard? I’ve never been stung in my own yard. Neither has anyone in my family. When my husband teases me about my knee-jerking, neck-spasming reaction to getting buzzed, I now tell him it’s fine. I have made peace with the bees and they are welcome on my property. I don’t love when they accidentally get in my house–don’t get me wrong–but if that happens, we gently help the lost bee get back outside rather than killing it.

Many Earth-based cultural and spiritual traditions view Mother Earth as a living, breathing deity that like most mothers, gives of herself without a thought to nourish and protect her babies. For millennia, humans lived cooperatively with Mother Earth and Her other inhabitants–taking what we needed, giving back what we took when we could. Modern life has changed that. The need for mass production, instant gratification, and convenience that a consumer-based society requires depletes Mother Earth’s resources, pollutes Her air, soil, and waters, takes without consideration for when and if more will be available, and thinks not of the wellbeing of other living beings that also depend on Mother Earth for survival. It ignores the importance of other beings that play an integral part of the food chain and food webs; as well as their roles in our planet’s air, water, and soil cycles.

The answer is not to find another planet to colonize once we’ve eventually destroyed this one.

The answer is to pick one thing to start with to heal the Mother we have. My one thing this year is more planting, in order to provide more food and more of a hospital backyard ecosystem for the bees and other pollinators.

Earth Day treesMother Earth still sacrifices for her children, though she is wounded and struggling.

And like the shift that happens in human life when the relationship of the parent caring for the child morphs into that of the adult child caring for the aging or sick parent, it is time for us–the children–to care for our Mother Earth.

For simple, every day things you can do in your life and in your business to give back and protect Mother Earth, check these out:

I also teach extensively about sustainable, Mother Earth-friendly ingredients, formulations, and business practices in my online Create Your Skincare Professional Edition course. 

How are you celebrating Earth Day this day and every day in your home or business?

Please share in the comments below!

*Carpenter Bee photo by Daniel Schwen [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]. Trees photo by Casey Horner via Unsplash.

Ode to the Multi-passionate Entrepreneur

Ode to the Multi-passionate Entrepreneur

Are you a Jack (or Jane) of all trades? Or what’s now often referred to as a “multi-passionate” person or multi-passionate entrepreneur? That’s me too, and for a long time, I thought it was a bad thing. So many people (parents, teachers, successful friends) asked me why I can’t just focus on one thing? Why do I need to explore more interests, earn more certifications, pivot in my business when I can just focus on doing one thing really well and make a ton of money? First of all, that’s not necessarily realistic–but second of all, it’s just not my nature. And if you’re reading this, I’m guessing it’s not in your nature too. So today I want to celebrate us multi-passionate entrepreneurs and people, because what I’ve come to figure out is that there are a LOT of good things about being like us.

If you are a multi-passionate entrepreneur, I’m sure you can attest to this: when someone asks you “What do you do?” It’s really hard to give a simple answer.

When I was in both nutrition school, and when I studied marketing, branding, and even PR later on, I was asked to give my “elevator pitch,” which is typically an introductory statement that is typically given in one minute or less, to tell people what I do. And like many other people, I was really tripped up with that, because it’s not easy to say everything that I do. I can’t exactly say “I’m an author, blogger, holistic skincare entrepreneur, skincare formulator, skincare educator, herbalist, Reiki practitioner, health coach, aesthetician, metaphysical minister, qi gong practitioner, speaker, mentor, intuitive, skincare business and marketing coach, copywriter, editor, and curriculum developer.” Not if I want the conversation to continue beyond “What?” or “Oh, that’s nice” (with a glazed over gaze).

I was able, years and years later, able to narrow it down to holistic skincare entrepreneur. OK fine, sometimes I get a little more descriptive, and I say holistic skincare coach, educator, formulator, and author. Those are all different descriptors of what I do. But really, my main thing is holistic and integrative skincare, and I run two businesses that serve people in that world.

But my multi-passionate entrepreneur self didn’t want to be pigeonholed.

Luckily, In that holistic skincare realm–which of course is part of the beauty, wellness, and health health industries–there are all sorts of different offshoots in which holistic skincare can spring into, which is a really good thing, because multi-passionate entrepreneurs tend to get bored easily! If this is you, you know what I mean.

Now, there are certainly some entrepreneurs who find their one thing, and they love that thing enough that they make a whole lifelong career out of it. And that is amazing if that’s you. That’s just not me.

Skincare is my thing now, and it probably always will be my main thing, because I keep coming back to it. That’s how I know that the way I’m meant to deliver my life’s purpose in this world. Whatever that “big plan” is, it’s through skincare. I just had to figure out what within skincare I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it.

And before I got to this point, I was one of those people who took a really long time to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up. And I hear this from a lot of people who have their own businesses now as well. So I’m just going to tell you a little bit about how I got here.

But before I do that, I wanted to tell you that I now offer a free class called Skincare Business Crash Course. If your multi-passionate entrepreneurial spirit has an inkling of desire for starting a skincare business, or if you already have a business in the skincare world, and you want to see what else you can do with that that might include custom formulation, or having your own signature skincare brand, I can help you with that. Register HERE.

Back to the story of how I became a multi-passionate entrepreneur.

I want you to know that if you are a multi-passionate entrepreneur, it’s great. You’re perfect just the way you are. You don’t have to only focus on one thing, and feel like you’ll never be able to experience all of these amazing other things that you’re interested in and you’re passionate about in your life.

It’s really OK to have a lot of things that you love doing; but the biggest pitfall that I’ve seen, that I’ve observed from other multi-passionate entrepreneurs in my life, both friends and family members, as well as some things that I experienced in the earlier stages of my business, is that it can be a little bit distracting. When you find yourself getting bored with one thing and then moving on to another thing, you spread yourself really thin. It might seem like a lot gets done, but it doesn’t always get done effectively, well, efficiently, or cost effectively.

I tell the whole story of some of the challenges I experienced as a multi passionate person in this video:

Click HERE for a list of things I wish I knew before I started my businesses.

The moral of the story is that I found ways to infuse all of my loves–all of my passions–into my two businesses. They don’t always show up in the same ways, and I am sensitive to the fact that people come to me from diverse backgrounds–but I feel that as women, connecting with the Divine creatrix within is something that is so needed in today’s white male-dominated world.

Being a multi-passionate entrepreneur has helped me create a beautiful life.

Both my businesses are doing very well. And, I’m a mom. I have two girls who are amazing. They’re 13 and 10, and they’re ballet dancers, and one of them I actually homeschool. I actually am able to make time for all of that. I have time for these incredible growing businesses, which are like two other children in my life. But I also have time to be a very present mom for both my kids. I have time to be a very present wife for my husband. I have time for my pets and for my volunteer work. And I also do ballet myself, and I have time for that. I make time for it.

I think that being a multi-passionate entrepreneur is fantastic, because it makes you really good at multi-tasking. It makes you really good at coming up with quick solutions, and making strong connections that might not makes sense to everyone. But when you draw from different strengths that you’ve accumulated through all of these interests, and you’re able to unite them, it makes your thing really special and unique. And it makes you able to offer something that other people just can’t, because it is uniquely yours.

So if you are a multi-passionate entrepreneur, pat yourself on the back. Hug yourself. Because you’re awesome.

You have all of these incredible, incredible strengths and talents and interests and messages that you’re just dying to share with the world. And they’ve been sent to you for a reason. You’re the one who’s meant to deliver them.

But what I want to encourage you to do, instead of getting a little bit distracted and jumping around and having that butterfly shiny object syndrome, instead of just hopping from one thing to the next to the next to the next, see how you can connect them. See how you can make them a logical path. And see how all of these things can be your toolbox.

Are you a multi-passionate entrepreneur too?

I’d LOVE to know how you nurture all of your interests and how they enrich your business. If it’s something you find challenging, I’d love to hear about that too. Please share in the comments below!


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Skincare is Healthcare–Why We Should Focus on Our Largest Organ First

Skincare is Healthcare–Why We Should Focus on Our Largest Organ First

It’s always astonished me, how the idea of taking care of one’s skin is considered by so many to be an act of vanity. Images of vintage ladies applying cold cream at their decadent vanities come to mind. I watched the Amazon Prime show “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (OK–I binge watched the whole thing in two evenings); and I myself marveled at the clips of Midge and Rose sneaking off to the bathroom after their husbands fell asleep to apply their night cream, and then sneaking back in at the crack of dawn to remove it and apply their makeup before their husbands awoke. The idea that skincare is healthcare, not just a fluffy ritual, would have been quickly dismissed back then. And surprisingly, it’s still dismissed today.

I’ve spent the greater part of my life observing my own changing relationship with my skin.

I’ve also been studying the history of women’s beauty rituals and changing roles in society for quite some time. I’ve come to the understanding that the whole idea that caring for the skin is solely for beauty, vanity, or to impress or seduce a man; and the shaming that’s followed, really is a result of our patriarchal society. I’ve thought deeply about the damage caused by the whole “anti-aging” movement to women collectively, to our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health–and what we can do to heal that hurt. I’ve written several blog posts that explore concepts of beauty, aging, and skin-related women’s image issues:

I’ve also given some thoughts about how to reclaim our sacred beauty and creative expression, and celebrate it without fear or shame:

While these are important issues, what we still need to discuss is the fact that skincare goes way beyond self-care or celebration of beauty.

We need to discuss the fact that in actuality, skincare is healthcare.

I find it fascinating that many health practitioners–even holistic ones–kind of snicker at me when I tell them that my focus is on skincare. They seem to think that focusing on skin is superficial or frivolous, and that there are more important organs that need attention–especially since most skin issues start inside (with the gut, liver, lymph, etc).

That may very well be true, but I start with the skin, because unlike the gut, liver, or lymphatic system–it is visible, and we see whatever’s ailing us reflected back multiple times a day. Its changes are immediately noticeable, and if there are blemishes, scars, flare-ups, spots, lines, and wrinkles, often, these affect how people feel about themselves.

I’m not the only one who believes that skincare is healthcare.

Eastern philosophies such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda often start with the skin during diagnosis, as the location and other physical characteristics of lesions, pigmentations, or features of the skin correlate directly to an internal organ or system that may need to be attended to. This is well and good, but in this day and age, constant stress and chronic illness is the norm; and people are used to living with symptoms such as digestive issues, chronic fatigue, mood swings, constant colds, painful menstrual cycles, and disturbed sleep. Because of that, those symptoms often go unnoticed, or are dismissed as stress or just getting old. But when the skin shows us something? A new wrinkle, spot, dilated blood vessel, or pimple? We pay attention.

The skin is the largest organ, and we have to stop treating it in a disembodied, disconnected way from the rest of our organs and systems.

The skin is an organ of digestion, elimination, immunity, respiration, temperature regulation, and sensation; and should be treated with as much reverence as the brain, heart, liver, and other vital organs of the body.

Clean Skin from Within by Dr Trevor CatesA truly holistic approach to skincare seeks to find the root cause of the symptom that’s choosing to manifest visibly on the surface. It’s definitely important to uncover things on the inside like food sensitivities, as well as environmental toxicants, and poor lifestyle habits which contribute to the underlying causes of the symptoms, but we also have to look at the actual skin. As my friend and colleague, Dr. Trevor Cates says in her book Clean Skin from Within, the skin is a magic mirror–it reflects back to us what’s going on inside.

What I offer in addition to caring for the skin from within, is that we can also start on the outside, by utilizing the skin’s powerful absorption abilities to deliver nutrients into the skin from the outside in. While the exact rate of absorption via the skin depends on many factors and varies from person to person, we know that delivering nutrients through the skin–AKA transdermally–is possible, because both the pharmaceutical and supplement industries use transdermal delivery systems for medications and micronutrients.

We can also deliver vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other powerful phytonutrients into the body via the skin through the use of carrier oils, essential oils, and herbs–or what I refer to as “whole food skin nutrition.” When we do this in addition to other holistic measures, we truly care for the skin–and the health–and will see results faster, which will last longer.

I started my blog and later, my business, with the notion that skincare is healthcare.

I also feel strongly that the way to vibrant skin and radiant health is through the use of plants. For these reasons, I decided to create the Herbal Skincare Summit: an online event that happens free January 8-12, 2018, and features stories, wisdom, and inspiration of renowned herbalists, holistic health, and skincare practitioners. Together, we’ll celebrate beauty, inspired by the magic, wisdom, and science (yes there is room for both magic and science in Mother Earth’s plant kingdom) of nature. I hope you can join us to learn more about how I truly feel the plants are here to bring us back to ourselves and the planet, through the skin.

Herbal Skincare Summit

Click HERE to register!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Photo credit: Wellcome Library

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Skincare Business

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Skincare Business

What do you want to be when you grow up? I’ll be honest–I could not answer that question until I was in my very early 30s, when I was beginning to plan what I wanted to do when my kids were old enough to attend school full time. For many moms, the choice is to be a stay-at-home mom (which I did for 7 years, though I did some freelance writing and editing on the side), or go back to work in whatever job or career they had before having kids. But for me, neither of those choices were ideal.

Being a stay-at-home mom is a really hard thing for so many reasons.

For me, the monotony, feeling really isolated because most family and friends lived in another state, and making “mommy friends” was really hard. I never remembered it being that hard to make “regular” friends! But I still felt really strongly that I wanted to be home with my kids, and I don’t regret it at all. For a time, I did get a part-time job (at the Body Shop), but that didn’t last long because I missed my kids terribly, and finding childcare was hard since my mom and husband both work, and I was not at the point where I trusted babysitters. I also REALLY did not like not being in control of my schedule. It turns out that after being out of the workforce as an employee, I did not take well to being told when to do what tasks, when to eat, when to come and go, etc. So I went back to full-time mommying, but not for long–because it was always the plan that I would go back to work when my kids were in school.

Going “back to work” in a former job wasn’t a possibility for me.

I never found a job or career that resonated enough for me to stick with it and call it my own. It all comes back to the fact that I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with myself. In college, I changed my major three times before I finally settled on “Architectural Studies with a minor in Humanities focusing on Gender Studies,” which I knew I really couldn’t do much with, but by that point I was so DONE with school (or so I thought at the time), and changing it again would have added years onto my bachelor’s degree.

So after graduation, I looked for jobs in sales–because before and throughout college I primarily worked retail–and was fortunate to get an advertising sales job for a healthcare magazine. But, I quickly changed my mind again, and switched to a copywriting position in the company’s advertising department. I really loved that job (and I still love copywriting and do my own), but alas it was not meant to be, so I moved on again. I had several other jobs after that trying to find my thing–the thing that would not only make me a good income, but also make me feel valued and fulfilled, and like I was doing something meaningful. Long story short, I did not find that, because I really didn’t like working for someone else, selling or promoting someone else’s product, and having a “department” or someone else take credit for my hard work.

No judgment towards anyone who works for someone else–there are many instances in life where that is the best choice–but it was clearly not for me. But I had still had no idea what my “thing” was so my husband and I shifted into family mode, and decided that I would be a stay-at-home mommy for awhile, then figure out the work thing later on. I’m not going to share the rest of the story of how I became a holistic skincare author, educator, and entrepreneur here (I actually share a lot about that in my book, Love Your Skin, Love Yourself), because we’d be here for awhile.

But what I do want you to know is that having a skincare business–or owning any business, really–is hard.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s doable–but it’s certainly not for everyone. It’s hard for a lot of reasons because let’s face it–you can be really good at something (for me, it was skincare) but unless you also know how what’s necessary to actually run a business and be both a good boss and a good employee, it won’t work out. I am blessed to have two amazing skincare businesses now–Holistically Haute which covers my private skincare coaching practice and my online course, Create Your Skincare–and I’m also one of the co-owners and co-founders of the Nutritional Aesthetics® Alliance.

Holistic skincare is my “thing” and the work I do not only helps to support my family, but it also sets an example to my daughters that women can lead, and that they can have families and a fulfilling career at the same time. It also genuinely helps people look and feel their best, and start their own skincare businesses if that’s their thing. I love my work with clients, I love writing blog posts like this, I love making custom products, and I LOVE teaching my students (that has become my favorite!). I also love having the time flexibility that a stay-at-home mom might have while still fulfilling my desire to work.

Business is thriving now, but it took me a long time to get here. There are a lot of things I wish I knew before I started, because it definitely would have shortened my learning curve. I recently surveyed my email community, asking what they most want to learn from me, and the majority of who responded said they wanted to learn about how to have a skincare business.

So I figured I’d start by sharing 5 of the things someone had told me before I started my skincare business:

1. You’ve got to be clear on your “why”–and that why can’t just be about money.

You may have seen the now cult online business classic Ted Talk from Simon Sinek, “Start with Why” (and if you haven’t, do take the time to watch it here). And though there’s more to a successful business than just knowing your own why, you do need to know it, because if you’re only going into business to make money, chances are you’ll wind up disappointed–because truly, if money’s what you’re after, it’s much easier to get a job with a steady paycheck and benefits than it is to start and grow your own business.

2. You’ve got to spend money to make money.

This was something I had to learn the hard way because here I was thinking I could just start a blog, then get “discovered” and get a book deal, maybe a movie written about me like what happened to the girl who had the cooking blog about Julia Childs, have sponsors throwing money at me so I’d have funding to start my skincare line so I wouldn’t have to invest a dime. Pardon me while I laugh at my former self for a moment. Starting a business costs money. Developing products and services costs money. Paying for things like websites, social media advertising, shopping carts, email lists (yes, you have to pay every month to send people emails once your list grows over a certain number and if you want to do it in a non-spammy way) all cost money. Then there’s this crazy thing called taxes that the government gets mad if you don’t pay! But not just income taxes–sales tax, use tax, and other taxes do apply. Depending on where you live, you might need to pay annually just to HAVE your business. Even if you run it from your house. And all those things you need to learn to do in your business that you don’t know how to do yet? Yeah, you either have to pay someone to do it for you, pay for the education to learn how to do it yourself, or pay with time spent trying to figure it all out yourself. Is it possible to do it in the cheap? Sure–but not if you’re in it for the long haul.

3.Time is more valuable than money.

My students have heard me say this a lot, but I want you to know it too since it’s something that I REALLY wish I knew years ago when I was doing every single thing in my business myself. And that’s this:

Time and money are similar in that they’re what people most value. But they differ in that money comes and goes, and always comes back again. Time–well it just goes. 

So even though you CAN do certain things in your business yourself, it might actually cost you more in time than it would have been worth in money. Did you know that I actually built the first Create Your Skincare website myself from scratch, with the help of YouTube tutorials and For Dummies books? Membership platform included. No joke. And I was all proud of myself until something broke. Or someone couldn’t access something. And I had no one to call. I could submit a support ticket to the website theme or whatever plugin was giving me trouble–or ask in DIY WordPress Facebook groups or look through support forums. But sometimes I’d have to wait for more than a day for the answer, and then it turned out the answer wasn’t something I knew how to implement. So I’d have to hire someone for a one-time fix, which cost about three times more than it would have cost had I had someone helping me with the site regularly. For everything that takes you forever to do or that you procrastinate doing, there are people who love to do that stuff and will do it fast and happy. That’s better for you and for your customers.

4. Don’t accept free help.

When you start a new business–especially if it’s something that helps other people–people will offer to help you for free or maybe on a barter basis. In the beginning–or even not so much in the beginning, this might seem like a godsend. Like the Universe is paving your way. Don’t do it. Free is never free, and trade rarely works because the value of one person’s contribution will always be higher to the person on the giving end than it is to the person on the receiving end. Plus, value is subjective. Also, just because someone offers to help you for free doesn’t mean that person can actually deliver the quality you need in the timeframe in which you need it. Do yourself–and the other person–a favor and let the exchange have a monetary value. Even if you are bartering services–pay each other for the services when they are rendered. It’s good money karma, and might save a friendship.

Women supporting women5. Don’t go it alone.

Let’s be honest–most people who want to own businesses are control freaks. I certainly am, and most of my entrepreneurial colleagues are too. A huge reason to go into business is to be your own boss and not be at the mercy of someone else. Right? This is why many of us do what I did early on, and attempt to do every single thing in the business themselves. Whether they know how to do it or not. As mentioned above, this is not sustainable, and I really think it’s one of the main reasons business owners burn out and throw in the towel. It’s imperative to delegate the right tasks to the right people. But that’s not all I  mean when I say “don’t go it alone.” Being a business owner can be very isolating. A lot of people just don’t get why you’d ever want to forego things like job security, benefits, company happy hours, evenings, weekends (as I write this at 7:40pm on a Friday night) for something as uncertain as starting a small business. You must have a sounding board of people who get it. People who have been there, have come through some of the hard times already, and can offer you support. It’s also so important to have solid mentors. Mentorship used to be a thing that you could get for free, when someone more seasoned than you would get inspired by you and want to take you under their wings and teach you everything they know. Well, unfortunately, that’s not easy to find for free anymore. Possible, yes–but likely? No. That’s why we have business coaches and masterminds. I work with a business coach and have been for years, and I’m also part of a mastermind group, and I can tell you that giving myself that level of support and accountability is what changed everything in my business. It took this from an expensive hobby to an actual revenue-producing business that in a couple of years, will allow my husband to retire early. It was that important.

That’s why I created the Create Your Skincare Professional Edition.

Because of the huge upswing I experienced from being part of a mastermind, I decided to offer the mastermind model to my Create Your Skincare students in the form of Create Your Skincare Professional Edition. I ran the first round of this version of the course in Spring 2017, and the students who committed to fully to the process all finished with a solid skincare business plan, concrete action steps, their Boutique Skincare Designer certification, and solid knowledge of what it will actually take to have a real and sustainable business. They received instruction on topics like business setup, legal compliance, branding, website optimization, time management and planning, money management, and more. They also formed meaningful relationships with their fellow masterminders, that have turned into friendships. They have their sounding board of people who “get it” anytime they need it, and they continue to enjoy support and accountability within the group format.

You might be wondering, why be in a mastermind with potential competitors?

I come from the “a rising tide floats all boats” mentality. I was taught this way not only in business courses I’ve taken, mastermind groups I’ve participated in, and coaches I’ve hired–but also during my master’s degree research on the Divine Feminine aspects of metaphysics and spirituality.

What I’ve learned is that historically, men compete. But herstorically (see what I did there?) women collaborate. Women only become competitive and judgmental as a reaction to feeling oppressed by a patriarchal society. And they usually aren’t aware that that’s what’s going on. In a time when there was more value placed on the feminine, women gathered together. They prepared food together, they birthed together, they healed together. Regardless of age, women respected each other as equals, and they believed in helping each other.

We are in a time where the world is shifting back to a more collaborative, feminine way of thinking. It might not seem like it now, with all the war, oppression, and uncertainty happening. But it is happening, and the resurgence of feminism, herbalism and natural healing tradition, cooking and gardening, women’s spirituality, and the business model of collaboration over competition is evidence that this is true. I truly feel that women supporting and uplifting other women is the way back to a more peaceful and accepting humanity.

The beautiful thing about skincare is that it is a truly individual thing. What works for one won’t work for others, and one skincare business owner’s story might resonate more with a potential customer more than business with a similar product line with a different story. In Create Your Skincare Professional Edition, I teach you how to design your business for yourself AND for your customers. There is more than enough to go around, and quite frankly, there are more people who need help from good skincare than there are existing skincare brands, so competition amongst each other is really not something my students worry about.

Does that sound good to you?

Click HERE to learn more about Create Your Skincare Professional Edition and either schedule a complimentary Skincare Business Consultation today to see if it’s the right fit for you and your business goals, or enroll to join us in our nest semester!

*”Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May image by John William Waterhouse.
How to Use Art for Healing and Manifestation

How to Use Art for Healing and Manifestation

I want to start by saying I believe everyone is an artist. I’m not saying everyone can paint like Monet, dance like Misty Copeland, or sing like Celine Dion but I strongly believe that you don’t have to be someone who creates art or expresses creativity for a living to be an artist. The suffix “ist” really just means “someone who does this thing that the -ist is attached to.”

I remember first being introduced to this concept years ago, when I attended my first IIN mega conference (5000 high-vibe health coaches and healers in one room? Heck yeah.) in New York City. During this amazing event, I got to hear incredible speakers including Deepak Chopra, Sally Fallon Morell, and Dr. Mark Hyman all in one weekend. Kathy Freston was also one of the speakers (quite the contrast to Sally!), and was there to talk about her book. Veganist. During her talk, she explained that she wasn’t an expert in veganism, and doesn’t really go by the term “vegan;” rather, she prefers “veganist” because she happens to study and practice veganism.

Years later, Rosemary Gladstar, at the Mid-Atlantic Women’s Herbal Conference, made the important point to the crowd (not as large as the IIN crowd but 200 equally high vibe herbal women talking sisterhood and preserving herbal tradition under one tent? Double heck yeah.) that you don’t have to practice clinical or medical herbalism to consider yourself an herbalist. You just have to have a relationship with the plants in your regular life, and constantly study their uses. For me, that was such a relief! Because I’ve loved herbs for the majority of my life, and work with them often–I also teach how to use them to make skincare–but for the longest time I didn’t call myself an herbalist because I don’t have a clinical or medical herbal academic background. But from that day forward, I began to refer to myself as an herbalist, and that felt so empowering!

It’s the same with art, and in today’s episode of the Rachael Pontillo Show, herbalist, mama of 5, and artist, Jenel Schaffer offers the same perspective–you don’t have to teach art or do art for a living to be an artist–you just have to do art. She also debunks the myth that artistic talent is innate; as an art teacher herself, Jenel believes that art is a learned skill.

I’m down with all that, but that’s not why I invited Jenel to be on the show. I invited her, because of her amazing experience of how she used art for healing and coping through hard times in life–and get this–she also used it to manifest a smooth pregnancy, peaceful homebirth of her fifth child, and healthy post-partum recovery. In fact, at the time of our interview, Jenel had only given birth two weeks prior!

Learn more about how to use art for healing and manifestation from Jenel below:

Click HERE to download the audio version of this episode free on my iTunes channel (and subscribe while you’re at it!)

How does this relate to art?

Jenel spent her pregnancy working with an Art Journal. As a visual person, she likes to write and draw pictures together. She did numerous drawings of myself pregnant, celebrating the beauty of pregnancy and the glow she felt as a pregnant mom. This was not something I relished in any of her other pregnancies. She truly tried to embrace herself, and love herself- for her own sake and for her child.

Jenel also shares my belief that beauty is more than skin deep. It comes from within. What Jenel does and teaches as an artist also celebrates what is within, and by doing so, she was able to manifest the birth and recovery experience she had only dreamed of in the past.

In Jenel’s own words:

“I am giving credibility to my gifts, and the joy I feel using them is reflected on the outside. There was a time where I wore a lot of makeup to hide myself. Then there was a time where I wore none, in protest. Today, I believe in a balance. I believe in lovingly taking care of your body and your appearance- and that includes the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of our nature.”

About Jenel Schaffer:

How to Use Art for Healing with Jenel SchafferJenel Schaffer is a certified Art Teacher K-12 as well as a certified Family and Nutritional Herbalist. She has been teaching on herbs, nutrition, and art for over 10 years. Her work began in public schools, then she moved to the private sector as an herbalist and currently as a homeschool teacher and contract art teacher at various locations in eastern Pennsylvania.  Locations include the GoggleWorks in Reading PA, libraries, coffee shops, private homes, farms, and wellness centers. Her website is

By the way, one of the books Jenel mentioned, The Artist’s Way is one of my absolute favorites–I highly recommend you check it out! Oh and I also wanted to share that the artwork on my wall is by Julia Watkins. I adore her work and have several of her prints and pieces of jewelry!

Did Jenel’s story resonate with you as much as it did me?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission when you make a purchase after clicking on one of the links (at no cost to you). Affiliate commissions help me continue to provide you amazing stories, expert interviews, and top quality holistic skincare and wellness content for free. Thank you for your support!

Why Being a DivaGirl is a Good Thing

Why Being a DivaGirl is a Good Thing

I want to start this article by asking you to come up with one positive word to describe a powerful woman–one who knows what she wants and speaks up for herself. Do you have one that automatically comes to mind? Are you struggling to think of a positive word for this kind of female?


What about the word ‘Diva?’ What comes to your mind when you think of that word? 

It might be an image of a celebrity all glitzed and glammed out. It might be an image of a woman who always gets what she wants. Do you think of these as good or bad qualities? 

How would you feel if someone called you a DivaGirl, or asked you to attend a DivaGirl event or conference? Would you take it as a compliment? Or would it trigger you?

Well, maybe you already guessed this, but ‘DivaGirl‘ is more than just a phrase. Thanks to Toronto-based entrepreneur, Laura Furtado, DivaGirl® is a community of women coming together in the name of empowerment. It’s a network through which women connect, gain confidence, and get business and life advice from other female experts.

And as someone who spoke at last year’s DivaGirl conference, and will take the stage again this year, I can also say that these gatherings are more than just a melding of ambitious and empowering minds…they’re also really fun.

What happens at a DivaGirl conference?

DivaGirl Philly Conference 2017No, it’s not some sort of secret society. DivaGirl is a lifestyle-based membership group (actually, it’s the largest of its kind) made up of women who value wellness, ambition, and the shared goal to uplift all women; regardless of age, race, religion, or socioeconomic background. Events happen multiple times a month in the Toronto, Philadelphia, and now Montreal, and they are aimed at helping women embody who they were meant to be and do what they were meant to do.

Years ago, while speaking at another women’s empowerment event in Philadelphia (this is kind of my thing!), I had the opportunity to also hear Majet Reyes, the owner of the Philadelphia franchise, speak. Majet’s energy bubbles up from within her–her passion and joy are so apparent. I was inspired by her speech and when we connected afterwards, I knew I wanted to get a chance to interview her.

Below, that’s what you’ll find–my interview with Majet Reyes, who went from paramedic to DivaGirl Philadelphia owner.

In our interview we touch on the negative connotations of the word diva. She admits to me that when she talks about DivaGirl people sometimes tell her, ‘I’m not a diva, that’s not for me.’ But then they come to an event and they have a genuinely good time. All it takes is a few great connections with other positive women and the hesitation just sort of fades away.

Find out why Majet went from paramedic to DivaGirl owner

I didn’t want to give away the whole interview! So click play below to watch Majet and I chat and hear why (and how) she went from being a paramedic (and counselor… and mom… I swear this woman doesn’t sleep!) to being Philadelphia’s DivaGirl owner.

The new Diva

Majet defines the word Diva as “a woman who is confident and knows who she is. Someone who will stand up for themselves.” Does she wear heels? Is she up on the latest trends? Maybe, maybe not. None of that needs to be linked.

We’re in this era now of ‘leaning in’ and being ‘girl bosses’ and essentially what all of this is is redefining what it means to be a woman in the workforce, or simply a woman in the world. I recently wrote a post talking about feminism and how it fits in with creating your own skincare (trust me, there’s a connection!)

There are less flattering words for powerful women. They get called bitches. They get called bossy in a negative way. They get told to stop being pushy and are expected to make everyone around them feel good.

What’s important about groups like DivaGirl is that they embrace the various aspects of femininity while helping women inspire each other and teach each other valuable skills.

Now here’s the really important part:

DivaGirl is intersectional. It is not just for one type of woman (ie, it is not just for white women). That’s important, because with this resurgence of feminism due to the current political climate, and following the Women’s March on Washington and other women’s activist events, I’ve seen many, many social media posts from women of color who don’t feel that these expressions of feminism represent or include them. I’ve also seen posts from gay women, transgendered women, Muslim women, and basically any group of women who does not fit the white, cisgendered female type, post that they don’t feel welcome in feminist groups or events.

If we want to make progress, we must expand the meaning of and representation of feminism to be inclusive of ALL women, and specifically shine light on women who have been more oppressed or deliberately left out of the conversation in the past–because that’s a thing, ladies. That happened, and continues to happen.

DivaGirl’s leadership is beautifully diverse, which is probably why their events are also. This is so important for women who identify as feminists. If we exclude women of color, whether covertly or overtly, we are practicing the wrong kind of feminism. We are missing the point.

Majet ReyesAbout Majet Reyes:

Majet Reyes is the first American Franchise Owner of DivaGirl (Philly), she is a mom and a yoga teacher to kids. Majet is also a professional counsellor with a masters of science degree in trauma counselling. Her job is to empower people through the gift of therapy. Her mission is to stop the stigma in mental health and make counselling cool.

I would love to know your thoughts.

What’s been your experience with feminism? How do you feel when someone calls you bitchy or bossy, or a Diva–is that a good thing? Please tell me in the comments below.

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