Latest Posts

Celebrating National Lipstick Day: Cheer Up Your Lips With These Brands

The ritual of humans coloring their lips has been around for thousands of years. Lip colors, their source, and the vessels they came in have changed throughout the years – thankfully in 2021 we have the option of transparency on ingredients and even design. Considering we ingest some of the lip color throughout the day, that is a very good thing. Lipstick is not going anyplace, in fact it the one stable product which sells no matter the economy.

Even if you love lipstick due to mask wearing we have had to do without. Let’s change that today and put on a bright color to cheer up your day.

Here Are Our All Time Favorite Clean Brands For Lipsticks That Stick Out In the Crowd.

La Bouche Rouge Refillable Lipstick, Elsa Hosk x La bouche rouge collection

Aveda Feed My Lips Collection of lipsticks, pencils and liquid color balms

W3LL PEOPLE Optimist Lipstick, Brave

Kjaer Weis Lipstick

Glossier Ultra Lip hydrating shine + color

Kosas Weightless Lipstick

Rituel de Fille Devil’s Claw, Bright Red

rms beauty Wild With Desire Lipstick

Ilia Color Block High Impact Lipstick, Flame

Axiology Multi-use Balmie Set, Super Fan Pack

How To Cool Off This Summer: Take a Cold Plunge In Style And Beat The Heat

It’s a heat wave! No matter how you choose to celebrate the longer hours of summer, do it with the right tools in hand. Presenting ways to stay cool and safe this summer.

At-Home Cold Plunge

Don’t have access to a pool? On a particular hot day, cool down with a cold bath. Yes, a cold bath is a real way to bring the temperature down, improve circulation, relieve depression, and improve deep breathing. If you are afraid to take the plunge, cold showers are a great way to help you ease into a cold bath. When it’s truly hot and humid, you likely won’t mind getting in. Limit your time until you cool down, physically and mentally. The trick to tolerating a cold shower or bath is to take deep breaths, with slow exhales. If that still seems like too much for you, try the contrast shower. First shower as normal, then at the end switch between cool and warm, 20 seconds each. End your shower with cool. This therapeutic shower will improve your blood flow and boost your energy.

Special Product Tip: As bath soak aficionados (with our own shop, The Soak Club, to open soon) we are forever on the look out for bath accessories. We recently tried the Bath Bean, and honestly, where has this product been all our lives? Slipping in the bath makes for an uncomfortable experience, the bath bean solves that, and more. The suction at the bottom of the bath bean keeps you in place and reclined. This means your hands are free to do other things, and wait for it..you don’t have to get your hair wet.

Mylle inflatable pool in green

Setting yourself up with a blowup pool in your very own back yard is no problem, but if you live in the city, space is always a dilemma. Have access to your rooftop and a nice landlord? Get creative with inflatable accessories. Kiddie pools are, well for kids, so set yourself up in style.

Special Product Tip: We recently stumbled upon these stylish inflatable pools by Mylle. In fact, they are so chic, most styles sold out during the pandemic.

Skincare Cool Off

The heat can exhausting. On an extra hot day we swear by Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Liquid Soap. It cools the skin, tingles for all the right reasons, helps clear sinuses and boosts energy.

Face feeling hot? Rael Moisture Melt Snowball is one of the more interesting ways to cool your skin and get much-needed hyaluronic acid. Made with freeze-dried technology this serum provides you with an instant surge of moisture that is clinically proven to last for 100 hours.  

Get Back To Nature

If flying still feels too risky (or too expensive), try a road trip to a lake or hike to a swimming hole. This is the perfect time to get out there and appreciate nature. Cooling off under a waterfall makes for a great story. Hiking, camping, renting a beach house, and becoming one with America’s landscapes is a great way to spend your summer and practice social distancing. Make sure to practice caution and abide by warning signs.

Taking a short road trip, or a weekend getaway to the beach means bringing some essentials.

Special Product Tip: The Founder of Go Dash Dot, Hannah Fastov, solved the space problem with her carryall bags. As soon as Hannah graduated from George Washington University and started working in fashion, she realized the need for a bag that lets you go from morning to night with ease. If you’re looking for a sleek backpack or a stylish duffle for a weekend trip, Go Dash Dot has you covered. Our personal favorites are the summer white backpacks, the Easy Denim Tote and the Puffle White Iridescent duffle. You’ll love the endless space, waterproof design, various attachments and ways to use the bags. We just can’t wait to use ours.

wellinsulated heat-proof cosmetics case

Speaking of packing. This one is for all the beauty lovers out there. We know the beach or campsite can be a hot place. We always wondered how to keep the sunscreen cool and our phone from melting. Introducing, wellinsulated. Wellinsulated makes stylish cases and pouches to protect your expensive skincare and electronics, both at home and outdoors. How smart is that? We’re loving the futuristic silver design and appreciate not having to worry about those vulnerable small items, when all we really want to do is have fun.

Au Natural Skinfood Foundation With Sunscreen

SKIN PROTECTION

It can’t be said enough times – wear sunscreen! All of your expensive skincare is useless if you lay in the sun without proper protection. We even go as far as making sure our makeup has SPF protection. When it comes to sunscreens, look for labels like: reef safe, no parabens, no artificial colors or fragrance, go up to 50 spf, and make sure to re-apply when you get out of water.

Special Product Tips: Au Natural Skinfood On The Go Brush On Foundation With Sunscreen is likely to be a fast favorite. Its natural and mineral formula makes it ideal for the summer. The light texture and controlled coverage is perfect for when you have to go outdoors, and especially when you wear a mask. The brush application and stick design makes it easy to use, and throw in the bag for touch-ups. Au Natural Skinfood is an eco and natural New Zealand brand, created by Tracy Ahern – a well-respected serial entrepreneur in the skincare industry. This product is a keeper.

We’ve been loving MyChelle sun care for years, and their sunscreen is back with new packaging. The entire line contains 100% Zinc Oxide, which is much-needed to help prevent premature aging. Any product that can help re-establish the skin’s moisture balance should be your best friend. This is our go-to sun care because it never feels greasy, feels hydrating, and we trust the brand ingredients.

Cultivated Magazine tips are not medical advice. Always consult with your doctor before practicing any new wellness therapies.

Healthy New York: Best Vegan and Plant-Based Restaurants To Try in 2021

This story was written for Hobnobmag.com.

New York is back and eating healthier. 

New Yorkers are having a love affair with meatless options, and the trend is likely to continue. We have no doubt that 2021 will be a year of more plant-based restaurant openings. In fact, one of the city’s most renowned and upscale restaurants, Eleven Madison Park, re-opened this June with a shocking announcement. They will serve an all plant-based menu. Owner and Chef Daniel Humm said on Instagram: “When we began to think about reopening EMP, we realized that not only has the world changed, but so have we.” 

Consuming less meat is better for our health and the health of the planet and it seems the hospitality industry is getting the message. As we get back out there this summer, we will continue to discover fun places with vegan-friendly menus. Thinking of giving it a try yourself? Discover our list of must-try restaurants we love and continue to frequent. 

Jajaja

Jajaja will make you forget meat ever existed. With four Jajaja locations, Raise Hospitality Group knows how to reel you in with tranquil vacation decor by Clear Studios, fun times, and satisfying Mexican dishes. We visited their original location on the Lower East Side. If you love Mexican food and cocktails, Jajaja’s menu will not disappoint. 

We started with drinks, and Cilantro y Mezcal Cocktail, plus Cucumber y Basil were the clear winners. As an appetizer the plentiful nachos at Jajaja were a great start to our satisfying plant-based lunch. Mexican corn is always a must. For main dishes we ordered the Dinosaur Kale Salad and the Crispy Chayote Fish. Service, atmosphere and interiors matter to us as much as the food. Jajaja on the Lower East Side has done a great job of making this location feel like a cool downtown restaurant and a holiday getaway at the same time. They did it with the help of Clearstudios.nyc.

Jajaja, 162 E Broadway (corner Essex St )

image courtesy of https://www.overthrowhospitality.com

Lady Bird / Soda Club / Cadence

Soda Club serves a selection of over 200 natural and organic wines, curated by Wine Director, Drew Brady, while Cadence focuses on soul food by chef Shenarri Freeman. Overthrow Hospitality continues to grow their portfolio with a list of modern vegan restaurants, mainly all located in the East Village. Among them Lady Bird, Avant Garden, and the newly opened Soda Club and Cadence. Ravi DeRossi’s secret to success might be his aesthetic vision. Vegan and non-vegan New Yorkers alike flock to eat and drink in an environment that serves healthy eats with tasteful decor that elevates the experience.

Our favorite location so far is Lady Bird. We recommend the Buffalo Maitake Buns and PO Boy Buns. Order both because each has a special flavor and we dare you to pick a favorite. If you and your other dinner guests feel extra hungry order the eggplant marinara and then split the chocolate fondue.

Lady Bird, 111 E 7th Street (betw First Avenue/Avenue A)

Caravan of Dreams

Caravan of Dreams has been serving New Yorkers truly vegan, kosher, and organic food since the 90s. This restaurant continues to have a loyal following for a reason, they pride themselves on serving truly healthy meals and drinks in a no frills environment. The funky decor and consistent live music entertainment makes this place a gem, and it is our go-to place for raw superfood smoothies or custom juices. Since the pandemic, Caravan of Dreams has created a fun outdoor seating area, perfect for dining out with your family, vegans from out of town, or a date. 

When eating at Caravan of Dreams make sure to order our favorites: the Nachos, Spanish Paella, Creamy Sesame Miso Ramen, and a custom juice or smoothie. 

Caravan of Dreams, 405 E 6th St (betw First Avenue/Avenue A)

Pop’s Eat-Rite

Pop’s Eat-Rite belongs to Endless Hospitality Group, which owns some of the most popular bars in New York City, like Wayland and Goodnight Sonny. The group recognized the change in the restaurant industry and opened Pop’s Eat-Right when the city needed it the most—during the pandemic. The concept made space for plant-based fast food. 

image courtesy of https://www.popseatrite.com

Pop’s Eat-Rite serves the classic smashburger, made of Impossible Meat, vegan donuts and ice cream, and sides like french fries, plus veggies. We enjoy the Classic plus a Cup of Kale (comes with vegan ranch dressing and sunflower seeds). Order, then sit back and enjoy the downtown atmosphere.

Pop’s Eat-Rite, 123 St Marks Place (betw First Avenue/Avenue A)

image courtesy of https://lebotaniste.us

Le Botaniste

Le Botaniste was created by the owner of Le Pain Quotidien. A sign above their Soho locations reads “Let Food Be The Medicine,” and it is clear that a lot of thought has been put into the nutritional value of each dish. Le Botaniste has four New York locations and three in Belgium. The concept of putting more plants instead of meat on our plates is catching on. The menu aims to keep the body energized while caring about planet health. Wondering what to order? Tibetan Mama and Vegetable Tajine always speak to us. Le Botaniste interiors resemble an upscale apothecary or a french cafe. Grab a friend for a healthy lunch after shopping in Soho or working out. 

Le Botaniste, 127 Grand St (betw Broadway/Crosby Street)

image courtesy of https://divyaskitchen.com

Divya’s Kitchen

Divya’s Kitchen remained strong during the pandemic, with easy take-out, delivery, pick up and products for sale, like Cultured Ghee and Mung Soup. Then they created a stylish outdoor dining area to match the interior. Today the restaurant is as busy as ever. If you find yourself in need of vegetarian cuisine that is largely gluten-free and follows the principles of ayurvedic medicine, look no further than Divya’s Kitchen. Chef Divya Alter takes a global approach to ayurvedic cuisine and even helps run a cultural center, Bhakti Center, right next door to the restaurant. There is much to learn from eating at Divya’s. It is an inspiring experience and an ideal place to impress a veggie loving date.

Divya’s Kitchen, 25 First Avenue (betw 1st/2nd Street)

10 Best Natural & Organic Sunscreens for Healthy Summer 2021

Today’s sunscreen is not your grandmother’s sunscreen, which likely meant not using any. When I first started writing about natural and organic products the options for better sunscreen were limited. Then brands like COOLA came along. Those in-the-know already used organic and natural brands, but you had seek them out in stores that carried green beauty. Today we have many options to choose from, and I hope you choose well. Our tip to understanding skincare is learning to read labels and knowing what ingredients have all the benefits you look for. In the US the word natural has no concrete definition but when it comes to sunscreens the good news is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has updated its definition of what is deemed safe and effective sun protection.

Dr. Mullans recommends Lola Hats

Elizabeth Mullans, M.D., Board-Certified Dermatologist at Uptown Dermatology provides helpful summer skincare tips for all skin types.

The sun’s peak UV hours are between 10am to 4pm, so make sure to avoid extended time in the sun during this window. If you find yourself out there longer than usual, make sure to hide under a tree or hide away in a chic sun hat.

“If you’re concerned that you might not be getting enough vitamin D since you’re limiting hours in the sun, try a supplement like vitafusion D3 gummy vitamins to help provide the recommended daily intake. Vitamin D helps with bone, teeth, and immune support, so make sure to get at least 600 IU.”

10 Best Natural & Organic Sunscreens to Keep You Safe and Healthy This Summer and All Year Long.

Soleil Toujours Clean Conscious Antioxidant Sunscreen Mist SPF 50

COOLA Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Spray SPF 50 – Fragrance Free

Cornelia SPF 45 Ultra-Invisible Protection & Daily Hydration

Solara Clean Freak Nutrient Boosted Daily Sunscreen

Badger Protect Land & Sea Sunscreen Cream – SPF 40

Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen

Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen & Primer, Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Juice Beauty SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen

Mad Hippie Facial SPF 30

Eczema Honey Gentle Hydrating Sunscreen

World Bathing Day: Celebrate Water With A Special Bath Soak

Water deserves a celebration. World Bathing Day highlights the many ways cultures use water for wellness, but more importantly it puts a spotlight on the plight of people who do not have access to an abundance of clean drinking or bathing water.

Rooted in ancient spa culture, bathing, soaking, washing, floating and showering can take on many forms, each personal to the individual. Bathing represents history, community, health, healing, and life. We could not live without water. When you take a bath or a drink of water, remember that you are fortunate, remember to save water, and remember that it takes a united effort to keep our water source clean.

On this World Bathing Day we honor the tranquil healing water brings with a soak, and we savor the soak with special products that add to our wellbeing.

Easy ways you can respect and celebrate water:

  1. Do not let your faucet water run while brushing your teeth or shaving your beard.
  2. Use your bath water to water house plants.
  3. Take a bath. Showers waste more water.
  4. Do not use your dishwasher or washing machine for a few items, wait until they get full.

Cultivate Wellness With Special Bath Soaks

Daughter of The Land CBD Lavender + Vetiver Bath Soak

Laguna Herbals Love – Pink Himalayan Bath Salt

Salt Live Energized Tangerine Sage Salt Soak

Lola’s Apothecary Queen of Roses Bath Milk

Rituals Magnesium Bath Crystals

Naturacentric Apothecary Love N’ Roses Bath Salt

Celebrating 10 Years of Global Wellness Day With Focus On Mental Health

Dreaming of experiencing a yoga class in Budapest or a meditation session in Bali? Now you can. June 12th is Global Wellness Day (GWD) and the countdown to their 12 hour live stream, filled with free wellness content, is on. Four Seasons all over the world will provide free fitness, spiritual and other stress-relieving sessions for anyone ready to say yes to better health.

What is Global Wellness Day? The social project, launched by founder Belgin Aksoy, is meant to place emphasis on healthy living for everyone. The day allows participants to learn and celebrate self-care for the body and the mind. While it is called Global Wellness Day, what you learn from it is that you can take your new wellness skills and habits, then apply them into your life 365 days a year. Their 7 Day Manifesto is proof of that. Over the last 10 years many countries have taken part in the social project and helped promote it. This year is special to us because the theme shines a bright spotlight on protecting our mental wellness. Many are coming out of the pandemic without knowing how to cope with our feelings and stress that accumulated in the last year and a half. Experts, like Cesar Tejedor, Director of Cesar Wellness and Massage Around the World, will discuss mental wellness and provide useful tips. Promoting better mental wellness is what Cultivated Magazine is all about, and we cannot wait to take part in this year’s GWD festivities.

Be Your Own Wellness Hero by Trying The 7 Day Manifesto

Conversation With Wander Beauty Founders, Divya Gugnani and Lindsay Ellingson

Shopping for clean and cruelty-free beauty at Sephora is still an impossible task – fortunately the list of brands available just got an update with Wander Beauty on the shelves. When it comes to shopping for products that go on or in your body, transparency should be a given, but is not always provided. With US clean beauty regulations being in the grey area, this brand takes a fresh and simple approach to ingredients – blending the natural with the synthetic (safely). We refuse to believe that today’s savvy and educated beauty community falls for marketing schemes, they say clean beauty is here to stay.

It was only a matter time before Wander Beauty made it into Sephora. If you had to consider just one clean brand for all your essentials, you might make it Wander Beauty for their multitasking abilities alone. Wander beauty checks off all the boxes: the packaging and colors are pretty, the ingredients healthy, and the textures non-sticky.

Let’s talk makeup. It can be hard to pick a favorite. The Liquid Foundation is light but provides perfect coverage. Little goes a long way. The On-The-Glow Blush and Illuminator will likely always stay in your bag for last minute touch-ups. Our most used product is Wander’s Lipsetter Dual Lipstick and Liner. It hydrates the lips and that’s always a welcomed bonus. While the brand has mastered the art of on-the-go multitaskers, their skincare options are just as modern and effective. The creators behind these classic makeup and skincare must-haves know a thing or two about juggling busy schedules. Divya Gugnani and Lindsay Ellingson already worked hard before Wander Beauty, creating and running a brand on top of all that makes them wonder women.

We spoke to the two founders, asking questions potential customers might want answers to.

Cultivated: How was the initial idea of partnering and creating Wander Beauty born?

D+L: We met at a party and realized that we were both time-starved, always on the go, and frustrated with our beauty products. At the time, Divya was a working mom of two and Lindsay was a jetsetting supermodel. We both had too many products with bulky, fragile packaging that wasn’t optimized for motion and too many one-trick wonders. In 2015, we launched Wander Beauty to create clean, beauty essentials you reach for every day, wherever you wander. Our multitaskers streamline your routine so you can spend more time doing what you love.

Cultivated: Starting a business, especially as women and busy moms, can be a challenge. Did you run into any snags or what did you find to be the most challenging when getting started?

Lindsay: The most challenging part of starting Wander was working with such a small team and learning to wear many hats. I had over 10 years of experience in front of the camera which helped me develop an eye for lighting and composition. It was valuable information that I was able to use as Creative Director. I also learned some new skills in order to create the content we needed to launch our brand. My sister taught me how to operate a Canon and I learned some editing skills online. That was enough to get me started. Creating content is now a passion of mine and I still shoot a lot of the content for our campaigns, although with a much bigger team to support me!

Cultivated: Your packaging color is very distinct. Is there a story behind it?

Lindsay: Last year we started a refresh of all of our packaging. We wanted our brand story to come to life more and for everything to feel fresher and more elevated. We use blush tones for all of our skincare and a mauvey tone for our color items. Everything has accents of our signature burgundy Wanderberry shade. We love how these shades look so elevated on your vanity or in your bag. Our cartons now have subtle nods to travel, including a custom Gorgeous on the Go stamp, and dreamy cloud print on the sides. Our new cartons are also all recyclable, which was another motivation for this refresh.

Cultivated: You recently launched at Sephora under their Clean at Sephora umbrella. What would you say to those who say that clean beauty is a marketing ploy?

D+L: 

I think it is more important to think about the ingredients you are formulating with and the effectiveness of those ingredients than to hyper focus on a long No-No list of ingredients you won’t use.

Clean beauty is driving a lot of growth in the beauty industry and we at Wander Beauty are huge believers in safe synthetics and clean beauty. Many customers are shifting their usage and spend on clean beauty. It’s a positive trend as customers become skintellectuals and more aware of what they are putting on their skin, their largest organ.

Cultivated: What top essentials would you recommend to a new customer in the skincare category?

D+L: A gentle cleanser and a daily SPF facial moisturizer. This is the important beginning to end approach to making sure your skin is clean and protected.

Cultivated: We are switching from spring to summer soon. What products and/or ingredients are best for the summer season?

Divya: UV protection is needed all season long but because we are outdoors more often, you should consider prevention, protection, and maintenance products. Broad spectrum SPF 30+ UV protection is most important. UV penetrates skin and damages collagen so look for Vitamin C products to prevent damage. Lastly, when skin is inflamed from UV and heat, look for soothing products with Centella Asiatica (aka Cica). It’s a super anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps to soothe.

Cultivated: What skincare advice would you give to someone in their late 30s, early 40s?

Divya : Listen to your skin in late 30s and 40s. Skin goes through cycles every month. Always have a good antioxidant (vitamin C), booster of natural skin cell turnover (vitamin A), and a SPF. These are the three elements to protect your skin barrier function which is the most critical at this age.

Cultivated: Lastly, how do you practice self-care in your personal lives?

Divya: I started practicing transcendental meditation in the 7th grade and have been doing it twice a day ever since. It’s the first thing I do every morning and It really helps me stay relaxed, calm, and focused during the day.

Lindsay: 

For me it’s so important to practice gratitude. At the end of the day, when I’m feeding my son and putting him to bed, it’s the perfect quiet time to be still and think of everything I’m grateful for. I find even on the toughest days it helps to calm my mind and boost my mood.

Earth Day 2021: This Year’s Winners of Best Sustainable Skincare Products On The Market

Earth Day began in 1970, but the ways which we celebrate, appreciate and look at planet health has changed. Big brands and publications are starting to pay a lot more attention to what we consume and how we consume it. Consumers demand transparency and healthier ways to live, not just for themselves, but for Mother Earth as well. With that said, there is a lot more work to do. Celebrate Earth by being a conscious consumer – buy less, and when you do buy, do it with planet health in mind.

Love Your Mother With Brands That Care

Aveda Shampoo Bar

Aveda’s Limited-edition Shampure™ Nurturing Shampoo Bar is just the latest example of the brand’s initiative to give us quality products but no unnecessary waste. If you need more of a push to fall in love with this gentle hair cleanser — $5 from each purchase helps charity bringing water to those in need. It is safe to say that Aveda has their finger on the pulse of sustainability in beauty, especially the state of packaging and its impact.

Recycle Your Weleda empties with TerraCycle

Weleda harnesses the power of nature and packages it using recycled materials. This brand takes recycling so seriously they partnered with TerraCycle. TerraCycle®’s mission is to “Eliminate the Idea of Waste”. You can send in your used tubes and glass; they will turn it into a new product. From Weleda’s European manufacturing facilities using energy from 100% renewable sources, to their partnerships with farms that respect and foster nature, the brand does a lot to ensure a sustainable legacy. The brand products make a great gift for an eco-conscious friend.

Bamford Jasmine Bath Oil

In their own words: Bamford’s philosophy rejects the throwaway culture of modern living. Bamford products are representative of slow living, and we cannot get enough of their range of products, especially the bath oils. The spa brand is mindful of packaging, organic and sustainable farming, natural ingredients and ethical sourcing.

Dr. Hauschka skincare

Dr. Hauschka is known for being a thoughtful brand and a pioneer in the clean beauty market. Their focus has always been natural medicine and respecting Mother Nature. It is their ecologically conscious methods of growing and sourcing ingredients that makes them the perfect candidate for our list, but truthfully their products have always been at the top of our list for an effective beauty routine. If you never tried the brand – run, don’t walk, to your nearest Dr. Hauschka aisle.

Cosmydor Face Cleanser

Kosmydor is a French brand that checks off everything on our list of sustainability and quality: no plastic containers, minimum carbon footprint, natural and fresh products and soon more eco-refill availability. The 100% artisanal botanical skincare is one-of-a-kind, with exceptional focus on natural ingredients. Kosmydor’s highly-effective products will have you coming back for more.

LOLI Date Nut Brûlée

LOLI is more than mindful, they are transparent and take zero-waste seriously. Stir up your own mask from their food-grade yogurt vessels and get it delivered in certified compostable boxes. LOLI’s mission is to take beauty back to simplicity and natural effectiveness. We love the way their products and packaging looks like something you would buy in a farmers market. Their fresh approach to beauty, plus their ethical practices, is why we think this brand is worthy of exploring and celebrating.

Happy Earth Day!

Model, Anastasia Vakula, Is On A Mission Towards Environmental Activism

Even though Anastasia Vakula appears in magazines like L’officiel, Elle, Martha Stewart and The Knot, you might notice that a good portion of her social media content focuses on environmental issues. As a model with a substantial following Anastasia is in a unique position to do some good for planet health.

“I believe that there are more and more models leaving behind the standard glamour pack in order to make a difference. Being a model means having a lot of attention and it is very important to understand that we have the power to use this attention in the ‘right’ way.” – Anastasia Vakula

Vakula’s quest towards environmental activism started when she and fiancé went on a trip to the island of Kauai. Kauai opened her eyes to the environmental issues that face Hawaii. “We were surfing and I saw a longboarder hauling plastic trash out of the ocean,” said Vakula. “He paddled back and forth from the waves to the beach with trash on his surfboard.” She mentioned that the surfer said to her and her fiancé that the ocean was choking. That is when she noticed how careful and mindful native Hawaiians are about their land and the waste they produce. The state of Hawaii is 2,400 miles from the closest landmass. That makes Hawaii one of the most isolated island communities on the planet. Any trash produced stays on the island and creates a problem for the people who live there. “It forces Hawaiians to find ways to be more sustainable,” Anastasia said. “Coffee shops offer a discount if you show up with your own reusable cup, recycling stations are pretty much everywhere, and hands-on beach cleanups are happening every morning.”

Anastasia Vakula’s dog, Chukker, Miami Beach

After their Hawaii trip Anastasia really dug into research on plastic pollution and its role in climate change. The research, plus her experience, fundamentally changed her way of thinking in terms of everything – from her eating and drinking habits, to her wardrobe choices. Her experience in Hawaii made her think about the harm humanity is causing to the planet as well as how the ocean is being put in a chokehold, along with everything that lives in it and near it, including humans.

What is she doing about it? “I started talking to my close friends and family to make them aware, and to urge them to change their day-to-day habits in order to become more sustainable,” said Vakula. “I now think the most important thing you can do is start talking about the climate crisis with others and work on this issue as a team.” Becoming a climate change ambassador was Vakula’s first essential step in contributing to the cause. With the help of a friend, Alyona Kazantseva, Anastasia joined the World Bank Group Global Youth Ambassador Program. The Global Youth Climate Network is an initiative of the World Bank Youth (Y2Y) Community. The requirements consisted of being between the ages of 18 to 35 and to be a dynamic, creative, and innovative change maker who inspires and empowers others. “I wasn’t sure if others would see these qualities in me, but I felt them inside, so I applied,” expressed Vakula. “Now I am one of 153 ambassadors from around the world.”

Vakula mentioned that Global Youth Climate Network is a melting pot in terms of everyone speaking different languages and having different skills. It is a diverse group of business professionals, journalists, writers, IT specialists, models and artists. Each person is trying to contribute to efforts based on their knowledge and skills. For instance: we do Meatless Mondays, Earth Month challenges, help organize climate change fundraisers and launch websites and apps for sustainable lifestyles. Vakula says, “my favorite thing about it is the opportunity to work with young activists who are inspiring and motivating. I love our virtual meetups where we share ideas on how to help fight climate change together.”

In terms of her modeling career, she mentioned that there are a variety of ways we can all contribute. She believes models can help by working with more eco-friendly brands, speaking up on social media platforms, engaging with audiences, and promoting a healthy lifestyle for human beings and the planet. Vakula makes sustainability part of her everyday life, and you can too.

Anastasia Valuka’s Tips on Eliminating Plastic From Your Life

  • Invest in reusable water bottle and shopping bag. Keep them in your bag so you never forget.
  • Say “no” to plastic utensils and straws when ordering in.
  • Shop at local farmers markets and small shops because they will likely provide sustainable options, such as no little plastic stickers on fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose plastic-free chewing gum. Anastasia likes Simply Gum.
  • Skip the plastic lid when purchasing coffee or bring your own reusable cup with a lid.
  • Pay your bills online, eliminating unnecessary envelopes.
  • Shop less, or reduce online shopping. Frequent online purchases produce more packaging waste, and online items tend to come from different distribution centers. Both factors result in higher greenhouse gas emissions per item.

Written by Aida M.Toro, Guest Writer

Edited by Paulina Kajankova, Managing Editor

Photography: Triston Cooper

Cultivated Beauty Drawer: This Month’s Best Beauty Buys

Flirt With Your Eyes

Lash products have come a long way and Borboleta’s Lash Serum is proof of that. For one, the formula is clinically tested, fragrance-free, cruelty-free, and made in the USA. When used consistently you can keep track of your progress and the results will make you say wow. If you use lash extensions this lash serum will not get in your way. With summer on its way, you can ditch all other eyelash products (curler excluded) and go au naturel.

Show More Skin

Your body needs a serum. Get ready for leg season with a tried-and-true seaweed spa treatment from Cornelia. Cornelia’s Replenishing Body Serum feels velvety smooth. Not only does this serum treat your skin with 100% pure Algae Oil to gently restore skin tone and vitality, it provides soothing after sun exposure or laser treatment. Make dry skin a thing of the winter’s past and gain healthy glowing skin all summer long.

Works While You Sleep

Kypris is an award winning holistic brand that needs no introduction. If you allow yourself one luxury this season, let it be this Kypris Ad Astra Nighttime Night Cream Emulsion. There is no denying that using eye cream is essential. A Kypris jar filled with botanicals, peptides and vitamins means that little goes a long way. We love a product that works while we sleep, and this one is so good, we can’t let even a drop go to waste. Use excess on problem areas, like between your eye brows and around the mouth.

From Australia With Love

This beauty discovery comes all the way from Australia. If your skin gets finicky between seasons, try a serum with anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties that help soothe, restore and help protect your skin’s healthy glow. Ipsum’s Skin Nourishing Face Oil uses a blend of 19 pure and organic plant oils which naturally offer a complex array of skin-boosting antioxidants and vitamins. Incorporate it into your routine and you will not be sorry. All you have to do is cup your hands, inhale, and massage the product into your skin. Day or night, balanced skin is the ultimate goal.

Plug Into Your Subconscious With Cynthia Morgan’s HappiSeek App

Mental health awareness has been on the rise, but so has the number of people suffering with mental health conditions. According to a CDC report, 40% of adults in United States have reported considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions, which were directly associated with COVID-19. It is no wonder than that the demand for mindfulness apps has been on the rise as well. While there is something to be said for unplugging from our devices, these helpful apps can help us use technology in a healthy way.

Enter HappiSeek, created by board-certified hypnotherapist, Cynthia Morgan. HappiSeek is one of the newest apps to come out this year in order to help users plug into their subconscious minds through gentle rewiring, science and relaxation. Scientific studies are proving that hypnotherapy can help you make meaningful changes in your life. This hypnotherapy app guides users step by step, opening doors to: trust, honesty, tolerance, gentleness, joy, defenselessness, generosity, patience, faithfulness and open-mindedness. Through it all, you will hear Cynthia Morgan’s friendly and calming voice. Cynthia Morgan is known for her work with celebrities and her book “You’re Already Hypnotized: A Guide to Waking Up”. Let her guide you towards better mental and spiritual health. As with any treatment, all you have to do is be ready for self-realization.

Read our Q & A with the HappiSeek creator, Cynthia Morgan.

Cultivated: You’ve been conducting workshops and leading meditations for the last 35 years. When was the idea of creating an app born, and did you know right away what it would be?

CM: The idea was born a few years ago when my friend Daniel Anstandig, an award-winning tech entrepreneur and fellow seeker, approached me about doing a hypnotherapy-based app together. We threw around a couple of ideas for the first year and ultimately landed on creating an app that reflected the most important thing to each of us—our spiritual growth. We wanted to create an app that we would be excited to find and use as seekers.

Cultivated: How can users get the most out of your app?

CM: This app is for newbies and experienced seekers alike, and don’t worry if you’ve never used hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is simply a tool we use to help you access your deeper, wiser self.

All you need in order to obtain enlightenment is the willingness to learn something new about yourself. Approach HappiSeek with an open mind and you’ll be amazed at what you discover about yourself and the nature of personal reality. 

Cultivated: What makes HappiSeek different from others on the market? 

CM: We wanted to create a one-of-a-kind app that hadn’t been done. Our goal is to help people become more enlightened, and thus happier. Most hypnotherapy-based apps are about behavior modification, but hypnotherapy can be used in more exciting ways than losing weight or stopping smoking. Writer Aldous Huxley was a hypnosis enthusiast who used hypnosis to seek and know “the divine within,” as he put it. HappiSeek guides you to access your divine within. And bonus, once you do connect to that part of you, bad habits like overeating and smoking naturally fall away as a result.

Cultivated: Tell me about your educational journey towards becoming a well-known and compassionate healer. 

CM: I was initiated into Transcendental Meditation when I was 8 years old, so it’s been a long life of seeking. I left the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the mid-80s to move to San Francisco where I studied with some notable spiritual teachers at that time and led weekly group guided meditations. It was around then that I discovered A Course in Miracles, which became my spiritual path. While writing a book on A Course in Miracles, I grew interested in hypnosis as a means of self-realization and for accessing the unconscious mind. That curiosity led me Santa Fe, New Mexico where I studied at the Hypnotherapy Academy of America and became a board-certified hypnotherapist in 2002. I opened a private practice in Los Angeles where I worked mostly with Hollywood elite, and in 2017 I relocated to Joshua Tree, CA to create a hypnotherapy-based spiritual empowering retreat called Desert Reset. In my case, a curiosity led to a career. Follow your curiosities! It can be your higher self guiding you on your life’s path.

Cultivated: In addition to hypnotherapy you are an activist. Tell me more about that.

CM: Perhaps it has to do with meditation from an early age, but I’ve never perceived a hierarchy of life. There is one life in many forms. It was in the mid 80s, around the same time A Course in Miracles came into my life, that I became aware of systematic animal abuse. Back in the day, there was a magazine called Animal’s Voice where I saw an ad for an animal rights organization called Last Chance for Animals (LCA), who organized protests. I had just moved to Los Angeles a couple of weeks before attending my first protest, and I didn’t know LA or anyone there, but the night before the demonstration, I made a sign and showed up to the protest and march the next day. I instantly felt like I was home. I continued to spend weekends “tabling” on Melrose Avenue, gathering signatures to end animal testing for cosmetics and household products and handing out brochures to passerbys. It’s not a coincidence that the acceleration of my spiritual path coincided with a greater awareness.

My activism has always felt like a natural extension of my spiritual growth, urging universal compassion and oneness. They’ve informed each other and evolved together.

I believe that every serious seeker is an activist at heart, if only that the spiritual journey requires a gentle no to blindly following the herd.   

Cultivated: Any future plans or launches you’d like to share? 

CM: Daniel and I just hosted our first HappiSeek webinar together, which included live group hypnotherapy with participants from all over the world. It was really fun, and we had wonderful feedback, so we plan on doing more of those. When two or more are joined with a common positive goal, it creates a ripple effect in the collective unconscious. We’re into creating ripples. 

If you are having a hard time and struggling with a mental health condition or suicidal thoughts, don’t hesitate to reach out and talk to someone, 800-273-8255 (available 24 hours).

Easter Bathing: Slovak Easter Traditions To Help You Stay Healthy All Year

In Slovakia, Easter signals a lot more than the resurrection of Jesus. It is a day that symbolizes re-birth, fertility, and the welcoming of spring with health in mind. As is the case with a lot of Catholic holidays, Easter is a mix of christian and pagan traditions. Looking at the Slovak tradition of bathing in cold water and whipping/or spanking of women with branches on Easter, one cannot help but think of these rituals as something nature-worshipping celts and pagans might have done. It is these traditions that make Slovakia and Czech Republic special. I know what you are thinking. Whipping? Bathing? Allow me to explain.

Here is how Slovaks and Czechs celebrate Easter. While Good Friday and Easter Sunday says Easter to most of the world, in Slovakia the celebration continues on Monday. Monday after Easter Sunday is a national holiday, and it is purely reserved for eating and socializing. Artisanal eggs get displayed on trees, in vases, and around the home. Carefully arranged plates of cheeses, sandwiches, ham, sweets, and more, await hungry visitors. Here is where things get a little weird. It is on this day that women and girls prepare for company that whips them, bathes them in buckets of water, and if you live near a river, a dunk in the water is not out of the question. While most of the visitors include family, neighbors and school mates, a stranger (or a group of them) might try to pay you a visit as well. Whether you let them in, or not, is up to you. These customs used be taken very seriously in small villages, but be assured, the days of strangers from a town over coming to whip you and throw you in the river are gone. In modern day Slovakia, the whipping holiday custom requires consent and knowing your visitors.

How does it all work? A bendy whip, called korbáč, is braided into intricate designs. The whip itself can be considered a type of art. Each family has their own special way of braiding it. In rare cases, visitors find a unique tree in the mountains with prickly branches, but we have yet to find out what type of tree this is (if you are reading this and know, please contact us). The typically whipping or spanking is gentle, and polite company uses perfume instead of water. A normal visit consist of a respectful exchange or a fun water fight in the back yard. Any aggressive ambushing is not accepted by the new generations of Slovaks. Before the company leaves, you feed them, present them with your best decorated egg, and tie a ribbon on their whip. Alcohol is another way to pay visitors and thank them for visiting. By now, you might be thinking: What and why?

When I was a child growing up in Slovakia, Easter both excited and terrified me. I loved dressing up and weaving a special flower headpiece, but made sure to wear pants under my skirt. Looking back, I find the custom of whipping interesting, but certainly problematic. My family continues the tradition even in New York, and it is always civil, fun, and even rejuvenating. Many women welcome visitors in the name of beauty, fertility and good health. If you visit Slovakia during Easter and see men chasing women around in their back yards, do not be alarmed. It is very likely that they are having fun, and before you call the custom sexist, be assured that women get to play their part in whipping as well. It all ends up being a fun game of chasing each other with whips and water. After all, men desire health just as much women.

Yes, the tradition is weird and has murky history. Most Slovaks grew up celebrating Easter in this manner, and to them it is normal. With that said, good luck explaining it to the rest of the world!