portland

Goddess of the Month: Chelsea of Juniper and The Sea

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A couple months ago I won a photoshoot with a local company called Juniper and the Sea. If you are unfamiliar with them, you should definitely check out their work. They are working to create a safe space for women to strip down (literally and figuratively) and have the most beautiful boudoir photos taken. These are boudoir photos like you have never seen before: They are for you and nobody else! Organic, raw and sensual without being overtly sexual. Chelsea and Simone have a gift of seeing your essence and capturing it in that moment. 

I didn't know exactly what to expect. I was told to show up with a clean face and dry hair. When I walked into the space I was welcomed with herbal tea, warm and inviting lighting, hugs and a team of amazingly talented women who transformed me into a woodland nymph. With Kendrick Lamar as my soundtrack (um, yes please) I worked with Chelsea and Simone to pick from the outfits I brought. I changed and we got started. Now, I teach women how to feel comfortable in their bodies; how to love the skin they are in. Full transparency, this is so challenging for me, at times. With Chelsea and Simone, I felt natural and comfortable to just be me in their presence. They gave suggestion of directions for me to turn my head, but pretty much gave me free range to move as my body loves to move. The last few photos I shot topless. I have never done a nude photo shoot before and have always been curious. I never once felt insecure about my body or felt like I needed to be a different size or a different shape. They made me feel safe and comfortable. Before I knew it, it was over and they sent me on my way feeling lit up and totally empowered!

When I got the photos back, I have to admit that I had a moment of wishing my body looked a little different. Wishing that I hasn't put so much weight on in the last couple of years. When I was showing them to a friend and she was saying how gorgeous they are, I realized that my body is beautiful exactly as it is. It doesn't mean I can't work to make it more fit or to lose weight, but that it is also just as valuable now as it would be if I lost 10 lbs. It took someone else looking at me and telling me I was beautiful to fully accept it. And you know what? That is ok. Sometimes we need the reflection of another to recognize the beauty within ourselves. 

I am counting down the days when I can do another shoot with these Goddesses. If you feel called to do this. DO IT!!! It is honestly one of the most beautiful and lasting gifts you can give to yourself. Without further ado, here is the beautiful interview with Chelsea.

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What inspired you to create your own business?

"We worked together and had previously shot weddings, but we wanted to give a different experience and capture something different. Both dealing with health and body image issues we thought it was important to document and make women feel good in their bodies without it needing to be sexualized."

Why boudoir photos?

"We wanted to tap into something that wasn’t being done in Portland and give women a space to feel liberated about themselves and their bodies and what they’ve gone through or what they are going through rather than just creating sexy photos that weren't for them or doing it for someone else to look a certain way. We wanted a space for women to feel comfortable and tap into that vulnerability or to celebrate whatever was going on. " 

Who is the most inspiring woman in your life and why?

"My Grandmother. She was such a tough person. She had 6 siblings all from different fathers and she raised all of them. She dropped out of high school and worked as a cleaning lady and she still does and she is 72."

What is your favorite meal?

"I feel if I say for Simone and I, it’s definitely steak."

What is your process in manifesting your dreams and your goals?

"I think it’s finding a balance so that we give ourselves time to give everybody else everything we can. A lot of this is a journey for us as well and I feel like if we ever feel burnt out or down on ourselves then we can’t give this business everything we want to. So I think its finding that balance and continuing to feed off the women we photograph. its a mutual back and forth."

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What is your morning ritual?

"For me, I wake up and, recently, I have been making a latte or tea. I usually stretch or hang out for a minutes. Especially now, I enjoy sitting outside. I give myself an hour or so to do that before I go to work. "

How do you honor your feminine body?

"I know I have struggled a lot with body image. For a long time I was tom-boyish and didn’t feel womanly. I played sports and didn’t feel feminine in the way that society feels so. I feel honored in expressing myself in anything that feels good. Whether that is doing typical girly things like going to get a massage or my nails done, but also just going outside if I’m feeling stagnant or wearing things that show off things that I like about myself. Just taking care of myself, staying in-tune and listening to what my body wants rather than just tapping into what you’re “supposed” to do to feel good."

Where do you find bliss in your life?

"I find bliss from just disconnecting from social media. Uncapping from the normal day: Getting outside, in nature and spending time with my partner. Mostly just getting outside and working in the ground."

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What does self-care mean to you?

"Self-care for me is taking a break. Just doing things that can shut my brain off from being inline with everything that is going on on around us. Just to chill and recharge. Walks, a bath, turning phone and computer off, not feeling like I need to reply instantly and giving my brain a rest."

If you could offer one piece of advice to women, what would it be?

"We are all in this together. Things are going to be ok. What you are going through, the person next to you is probably going through. Whatever we are going through is valid and to just be kind to each other."

Meet Chelsea:

She loves embroidery. In fact, she's super talented at it. You can find her crafting and thrifting in almost all of her free time. She also totally understands dietary restrictions, and would prefer to bike everywhere. She dreams of living on a lot of land and growing her own food. She tans really easily, loves folk music, and may or may not have a ton of house plants.

Goddess of the Month: Amy Colville of aMYLK

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Amy is a beautiful soul inside and out. She has created a company out of her passion for living a healthy and whole life. When she agreed to be a Goddess of the Month I was thrilled. I knew that my readers would love to hear her story and how she started a delicious nut milk company. She is down to earth and has so much wisdom to offer. Amy, thank you for sharing your truth and for being a part of the Body Bliss Life Family! <3

 

INTERVIEW:

What inspired you to create your own company?

I’ve always had a creative mind when it came to business.  Even as a small child I loved coming up with “inventions” with my dad.  We came up with a lot of original concepts that actually eventually ended up being brought to market by others.  That’s the thing with ideas, you have to act on it right away, or someone else will!  I find the creative process really fulfilling, I love business, I love learning and I love self directing my life. I think if you interviewed most entrepreneurs you’d find they share similar traits.

Why nutmilk?

My family and friends have all asked the same thing!  Nut milk?  The simple answer is that I found something I’m passionate about that I LOVE enjoying and producing AND there was a hole in the market!  Globally, no one is producing and selling nut milk (soon to expand to seeds and possibly grains) that compares in taste, quality and nutrient density to aMYLK.  People love it and that lights me up inside!

It all boils down to LOVE.  I felt guided to this place.  I spent a lot of time soul searching, connecting with Source and seeking joy.  Many years ago I experienced some heart break and consequently some health issues that lingered for many years. Through the process of trying to heal, I explored a lot of dietary changes and life and mindset changes. I introduced daily smoothies, elixirs and protein shakes to my diet. When I learned that the nut milks that I was using were filled with synthetic vitamins and stabilizers and very few actual nuts I started to think about making my own.  One day, it all just came together and I knew. I thought, THIS IS IT!  One week later I had formed a company.  I LOVE what I’m doing.  This is my passion and I[‘m so excited, hopeful and happy to share it with others.  Finding and passing on what works for me brings me more joy than I can express.

Who is the most inspiring woman in your life and why? 

My mother. She is giving, graceful and kind to her bones. It is hard not to admire my mom for her elegance, sophistication, intelligence and beauty.  She’s got all these hidden talents and is incredibly hard working.  The most wonderful thing about my mother is that she has never faltered in her faith in me.  I have always felt supported. She has made home making and child rearing an art form. Her life is art to me.

If you were stranded on an island and could only take two adaptogens with you, which two would you choose and why?  

Pine Pollen and Mucuna Pruriens.  Amen. I am in love with Pine Pollen and I imagine pine trees would be hard to come by on a tropical island.  Pine pollen is gold. It makes me feel like my body is humming.  A simple sniff of it and I feel all tingly. I love it. It can act as an aphrodisiac, but I find that it is highly energizing for me.  It can help balance hormones which is especially important for both men & women as they approach middle age. 

Mucuna Pruriens is my second choice because of it’s ability to help elevate one’s mood. If I were stranded on an island I think I might feel a lot of tension from fear and loneliness. Macuna Pruriens can soothe the nervous system and elevate your mood. It takes the edge off and supports your overall well being.  I can just see myself now, cracking open some coconuts and making aMYLK elixirs with a big smile on my face sitting on a sandy beach somewhere. Yes.  I would be just fine.

What is your morning ritual? 

Journaling.  My life is very full.  With four children ages 8-16 and a start-up company the ONLY me time is very early in the morning and this is sacred time for me. My children all know that if they wake up and mommy is writing, they need to let me be.  It is in this space that I remember who I am and connect with my soul and decode all the daily occurrences that life presents to me as opportunities for growth.  This is where I speak to God.

How do you honor your feminine body? 

I have a lot of Venus in me and I don’t diminish it for anyone.  We are really funny in America about our attitudes toward sexuality and sensuality. On the one hand we are bombarded by media to be sexy and to look amazing, and then on the other hand we are not supposed to “show off” or be too sensual or we might give people the wrong idea.  What if we could just BE without SEEMING to be anything at all? I have come to love, cherish and celebrate my femininity. I let my hips sway when I walk because I am a woman! I’m proud of my curves and how I feel when I own them.  In a world of Yang, it feels good to let myself be Yin. 

Where do you find Bliss in your life? 

I am a joy seeker. “Seek Joy” is the number one tenet of my life. In everything I do, I aim to feel joyful.  I have found that happiness isn’t the destination, it is the journey. It is following the trail of breadcrumbs which are the tiny sparkles of joy in life that lights me up. I try to follow the tiny sparkles every day. I smell the flowers. I read. I hike. I make aMYLK smoothies. I swim in waterfalls & I travel as often as I can. I do these things for the simple reason that they bring me joy.  When I feel joyful, I light myself up and I radiate the world with my happiness.  I have designed my life so that even the things I have to do, I feel pretty happy to do.  At a minimum, I aim to feel grateful, because even things that seem hard, painful and challenging have purpose in our lives. It has taken some time for me to realize this. LOL.  

If you could offer one piece of advice to women, what would it be? 

Let love lead.  

About Amy:

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Amy Colville is the Owner and Chief Joy Seeker at aMYLK, a plant-based mylk company located in Portland Oregon. A  mama of four, former collegiate soccer player and lifetime entrepreneur, Amy now finds her bliss making and delivering the world's best plant mylk.

Summer Veggies and Lentil Fusilli

I know I have been MIA. We have been in the middle of a move and this crazy lady thought she would somehow be able to cook and or have the time to stop and write a blog post. That didn't happen :) I did; however, manage to throw together a delicious and easy dinner the other night. It is quick, loaded with plant-based protein and veggies. It is the perfect Summer evening pasta. I am happy to be back up and running. Stay tuned for some exciting content in the next couple weeks. 

 

A little about my pasta journey:  Living in Italy greatly influenced and changed the way I make Italian food. One of my most favorite ways to cook pasta is by adding lentils. It adds protein, texture and a delicious earthy flavor. Italians love to lace their pasta with beans. Trust me on this one!

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz gluten free pasta
  • 2 small or 1 large zucchini
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup steamed lentils
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • Zest and juice from half a lemon 
  • 1 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • Chili flakes
  • Salt to taste
  • Pecorino cheese (optional, but oh so delicious
  • Micro greens
  • drizzle of good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Bring a large saucepan with a small handful of course salt to boil. Add the pasta (I used this one). Cook until tender, drain and reserve 1 cup pasta water. 

Thinly slice the garlic. Cut zucchini down the middle lengthwise, turn so that flat side is on your cutting board and cut in half lengthwise again. Cute quarters into 1/2 inch slices. Wash, stem and chop the kale.

Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat until hot, add 1 T olive or avocado oil and garlic. Stir until fragrant and add zucchini, a sprinkle of salt and dried red pepper flakes. Cook until softened and add lentils. Cover with a lid and let steam until zucchini is very soft. Add kale and cover with lid. Cook until kale is bright green and slightly wilted. Add lemon zest and cook until fragrant. Add 1/2 cup pasta water and cook until reduced by at least 1/2. Squeeze in juice from half a lemon, kalamata olives and drained pasta. 

Plate the pasta, drizzle with a generous amount of EVOO. Top with shaved pecorino and micro greens of choice (I used pea shoots)