PHOTOGRAPHY: Paco Peregrín’s ‘Alien Dolls’

Spanish photographer Paco Peregrín releases photos of his latest series ‘Alien Dolls’ for Avenue Illustrated Magazine, with amazing results! How utterly, insanely good is this hair and makeup?

Styling by Kattaca, Make up and Hair by Lewis Amarante.


NOURISH: Pomegranate love

I just LOVE pomegranates! Everything about them screams fun, from their succulent, bright flesh to their amazing flavour, and those awesome little seeds which pop in your mouth. Mmm. Turns out they pack some punch in the health stakes too, chock full of flavonoids, fibre, enzymes and those all important anti-oxidants. Thanks to Eat, Pray, Love Fitness for this top 5 on why pomegranates are great for you!! xx

Eat,Pray, Love Fitness

5 Reasons to love pomegranates

1. They keep your teeth clean.
Rich in polyphenolic flavonoids—compounds with antibacterial properties—pomegranate juice has been found to be just as effective as prescription mouthwash at ridding the mouth of plaque, the bacteria that causes cavities and gingivitis.

2. They regulate cholesterol.
Pomegranates contain paraoxonase—a naturally occurring enzyme in the body that helps keep LDL (bad cholesterol) from accumulating in arteries. In one study, subjects who drank pomegranate juice for two weeks had an 18% increase in production of the enzyme.

3. They can help prevent arthritis.
Studies have shown that both pomegranate seed oil and pomegranate fruit extract have anti-inflammatory effects that stop the destruction of joints caused by osteoarthritis.

4. They are a great source of fiber.
“A single pomegranate contains nearly a quarter of the USDA’s daily recommended amount of dietary fiber, which helps you feel full and maintain a healthy weight,”…

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KNOW YOUR PRODUCT: a Q + A session with Hayley and Katia of Birchbox

For anyone starting out their own business for the first time, it can be a scary, crazy ride. From concept through to business planning, marketing, finance, budgeting, down to knowing regulatory frameworks, your tax obligations and how to correctly report your earnings, it can be a minefield. But it’s also a journey full of positive rewards, and one where the many hours of hard work can result in great benefits as you see your passions and dreams come to life.

For many people, myself included, the dream of being your own boss one day is one that gives a great sense of joy.  There is much to learn, many lessons to be had, and many failures ahead, as you stumble down the path of discovery whilst launching and growing ‘your baby’. It’s all part of the wonderful adventure, and its this journey that leads to a great spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship as struggles and challenges are overcome and you find bigger and better ways of doing business.

Thankfully in this day and age we have so many wonderful, savvy female entrepreneurs who are lighting the way on how to start and run a successful, smart business online. There’s a plethora of knowledge on the net and many people, such as the founders of Birchbox, are only too happy to share with you some of the tips to their success and some strategies you can implement when starting up your own projects. Yay for us to have such wonderful inspiring role models to show us how its done!

Birchbox is the brainchild of Katia and Hayley, and is an online beauty and lifestyle store that helps you find products that you’ll love.  It offers consumers a unique and personalized way to discover, learn about, and shop the best beauty, grooming, and lifestyle products on the market. Headquartered in New York City, Birchbox launched in September 2010 and has since extended into men’s grooming products with Birchbox man.  Through their monthly subscription service, customers receive a gift box in the post full of the latest and most gorgeous hair, makeup and beauty samples to try and fall in love with. They also have a personalized shop with a generous loyalty program that rewards you every time you shop, refer friends, and give feedback on your monthly samples. You can redeem Birchbox Points and save on any full-size or gift purchase. With an online magazine full of insightful content to help you get the most out of your products, Birchbox has taken the discovery commerce space by storm and is going from strength to strength.


The below is a Q & A with Katia and Hayley, originally published at

Q: You met at Harvard Business School. At what point did you decide to start a business together? Did you have other ideas in mind before coming up with Birchbox?

A:We came up with the idea for Birchbox during our last semester of business school. We had a few months until graduation and decided it was the perfect opportunity to write a business plan and put all our learning to good use. We came up with several ideas, many of which were jokes (meggings anyone? That’s leggings for men…why should women have all the fun?), but the concept of beauty and lifestyle discovery stuck and we committed to making it happen.

We recognized that there were no new concepts when it came to beauty ecommerce and that beauty online had unique pain points since touching, trying, smelling and experiencing products are essential to product discovery. Then came the real life inspiration – Hayley had a close friend who was a beauty editor and for years had gifted her the newest and best products along with advice on how to use them. We realized that all women would love to have a best friend who could cut through the clutter and deliver them great products along with the info on why and how to use them.

Q:What’s the name about?

A:Birchbox was one of the first names we came up with… We wanted to bring in beautiful, but gender-neutral imagery. Birch trees are gorgeous in every season with their silvery bark. It’s easy to spell and the alliteration is fun.

Q:Tell us a little bit about what Birchbox was like at the beginning and what it is now.

A:At the very beginning it was just the two of us waking up every morning with new ideas, fleshing out the value proposition, writing pitch decks and building prototypes. Looking back, we’re still so amazed that we were able to secure meetings with the leadership at some of our favorite global beauty brands based on a single email and enthusiastic one pager. Once we had secured brand partners, it was off to the races… Katia and I packing boxes in my on-campus apartment, answering every email from customers and working to update the basic version our original website.

Our first hire, our beauty editor friend Mollie, was a content machine, writing everything herself from product pages to articles and tweeting up a storm. We had a lot of late nights, but it was such an amazing time, we were probably too excited to sleep. Back then we wore every hat, and over time we’ve recruited a fantastic team over 100 talented people to wear some of those hats for us. Our roles couldn’t be more different now on a day-to-day basis, but we still have the same drive and excitement.

Katia putting the 1st prototype together

Q:For readers who want to start their own business, what are your top tips?

A:First the soft stuff: Trust yourself. If you are passionate about your idea you can do more than you ever imagined. There is no secret to success; you simply start with a vision and then it is about problem solving, breaking everything down into smaller pieces, getting it done, and remaining tenacious even when the uphill pursuit becomes steeper. Nothing is more rewarding!

Now for tactical: It might seem daunting to get started, but it doesn’t need to be perfect from the start. Test your idea in its minimum viable form. Our first site was super basic, we packed every box ourselves and walked them all to the post office. We were able to let it evolve over time instead of solving everything on day one.


Warrior Lessons : The Love Yourself More Project- 32 ways to silence that inner critic

Recently I posted about the need to start truly, deeply, and madly loving yourself for who you are- right here, right now. YOU need to be into YOU!

How to Start Loving Yourself / Self Love /

If your actions, behaviours and words paint a different picture than one of true L-O-V-E, then its time to stop, exhale, and reset. Loving who you are, not just liking, is so important in so many ways. Not only does it give you a healthy sense of self and your worth in this big wide world, but it helps you to set healthy boundaries about how others may treat you. Giving yourself the self respect and love that you really DO deserve enables you to give and love abundantly and genuinely.

If you can’t love who you are, how can you expect to love others from a place of genuine, beautiful intent?

Loving and accepting yourself is an vital lesson in anyone’s journey. While some of us are blessed to be born with a healthy sense of self-confidence and self-acceptance, others aren’t so lucky. Abusive or unhealthy relationships, a low sense of self worth, a dysmorphic sense of one’s body or looks or intelligence; these can all chip away and degrade the sense of self and can quickly spiral into a cycle of negative self talk, bad self esteem, and no sense of personal boundaries and self respect.

As I mentioned in my last post I am very thankful and grateful that I’ve been granted the opportunity to find a path of personal growth and development these past few years, and have learned some utterly life-changing lessons along the way. I’ve set myself new boundaries, reset my mind to accept and nurture who I am and for the most part, I have a pretty darned great relationship with me now. Its taken hard work, a lot of falling on my ass and some stepping backbards, especially in those moments when I forget how far I’ve come. I’m always learning but I can honestly say I am in a much better space mentally and emotionally than I was 6 years ago, and better even than 12 months ago.

The point of my story is, if I can get there, so can you.

Start loving and believing in yourself today. You already have everything you need right there inside of you, to create an AMAZING life! Love yourself. Accept yourself. Forgive yourself and be good to yourself. Because without you, the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.

Below are some little strategies that may help you to find a place where YOU matter, where no-one is knocking you down, where you can reconnect with that vibrant, bright, curious young soul that burns within you.

It’s by no means an exhaustive list, nor is it by any means a guide or a prescription to help you if you really are in need of more professional help.  I am no expert on the human condition, so if you find things are truly getting you down please PLEASE share your pain with someone and let them help you.

That aside, read on if you are seeking a couple of light-hearted ways to get back in touch with your sense of fun, and happy, and start your journey towards loving yourself. I hope that these tips may spark a few ideas and set you on your way to getting back your zest for life and your love for you- for you truly are an amazing, wonderful person!

Enjoy x

1. Step outside your comfort zone and do things that SCARE + EXCITE + AMAZE you.

2. Seek ADVENTURE and explore your world.

3. Do things that speak to your SOUL. If you’re stuck, start writing a list under the heading…’If I could do anything in the world……’

4. Commit to saying the following words out loud daily “I am AMAZING” and keep saying them until you truly believe it!

5. Stand naked in front of the mirror and say “I’m awesome.” Everything about you is a miracle.

6. Splurge, even if the budget doesn’t allow it, on a massage. So worth it.

7. Take yourself out to a movie.

8. Eat a chocolate bar or some delicious dessert without feeling guilty. Life’s too short for regret and constant rules.

9. Try a new hair color. I always found red gave me such a different look and lots of attention of the good kind!

10. Forgive yourself for a bad decision. And I mean REALLY forgive. If it helps, write it down on a piece of paper, then burn or bury it. Let it go.

11. Turn the music up really loud and DANCE!

12. Go to a forest, beach, hill, waterfall, quarry, garden, tree, park and chill in nature for a bit.

13. Get a pedicure or a manicure. Bliss out on how good it feels to be nurtured and remind yourself you deserve to feel this good.

14. Sleep naked.

15. Cut all the sizes out of your clothes. Instant not caring. Its just a number after all, it doesn’t reflect ANYTHING and, reality check- there is no such thing as a standard size.

16. Stop into the salon for a trim or a blowdry. Hell yes! You’ll walk out feeling a million bucks.

17. Make something fabulous. Anything! Don’t think you have a crafty bone? You’d be surprised. Google can tell you how to make anything your heart desires from an amazing mulligatawny to a new bedframe- the options are endless. Do it. You’ll feel so chuffed. You may have even found a new skill or business opportunity.
18. Donate to a cause that benefits women or girls (or any cause particularly close to you heart). That sense of giving to someone less fortunate really helps to put things in perspective.

19. Push yourself a little bit harder during your workout. C’mon, its so worth it and it will all be over in a few minutes. Endorphins are your friend.

20. Go back to school and study anything your heart desires. There’s a course for everything nowadays, from short 1 day courses to masters degrees. Equally so many options if your finances don’t allow it. Do it, it will open so many doors and teach you so much about yourself and the world.
21. Write a thank-you note to your teenage self. I’m yet to do this, but doing it soon! I can’t wait to tell her that so many things she was hung up about were such a waste of energy. Similarly, I would tell her to give herself more pats on the back, trust her instincts more and don’t be too hard on herself. Things have a way of working out in the end.

22. Book a hot air balloon ride

23. Write a list of females that you admire, whether they are diplomats, thought leaders, activists, entrepreneurs, artists, educators, celebs, or someone in your community. There are so many fierce, strong, amazing women out there, celebrate them!

24. Make a new rule: NO woman bashing. Ever. Every time you hate on a woman, the way she looks, the way she dresses, how her body is shaped, how she acts or talks – a small piece of you is dying, and a small piece of you is spreading a toxic virus to the rest of womankind. Just don’t engage in it! Ask yourself, does this mean thing I am about to say serve me or any other women in a positive manner? What if that woman was your mother, sister or best friend or daughter? Switch off from the media who propagate this, don’t buy into those celebrity trash mags, don’t contribute to sarcasm or hate online, just switch off from it. For good.

25. Get fitted for a bra. We are all culprits of still wearing the same bra size we did 10-15 years ago. Isn’t it time for an upgrade? Let an expert help you to find the shape and cup size that makes you sizzle. Your girls will thank you and you will feel ah-mazing.

26. Light a candle, get comfy on the couch, and read a book. Nothing like a bit of solitude and a great tome to absorb that beautiful mind of yours and take you away.

27. Sleep in. You deserve it.

28. Be thankful and write it down somewhere where you can find it later.

29. Take the first step in doing what you have always wanted. Three words: Just Do It. You don’t need to wait for everything to be just right, start now, no excuses. Trust me, 6-12 months down the track you will wonder why you didn’t start even sooner!

30. Log off from Facebook for a week. You won’t miss it.

31. Throw out your scale. As above, just a number. Why be ruled by it? We all know that the number has absolutely no relevance on how fit, healthy, intelligent, sensitive, caring, genuine or funny your are. So why do we give it so much importance?

32. On your morning journey where ever that takes you, find one beautiful thing to be grateful for! Write it down, or take a picture, and reflect on it at a later time if you are feeling down on yourself.