playlist: groovin’ through February

Play that funky music.

Every month, I’m going to share with you a curated playlist of my current top music picks via Spotify. It’ll be a mix of old school and new school tunes for you to rock to, cry to, work to, laugh to, and so on.

Music has always been one of the favorite forms of therapy — my friends even dubbed me ‘iPod girl’ in high school. Not sure how I feel about that looking back now, but I was always strapped with my 160GB iPod classic (RIP) and it just goes to show how much I truly love music. Its mood-improving powers are undeniable. There’s almost nothing you can’t overcome with a solid soundtrack blasting. 

Here is February’s. Enjoy, ya’ll!

Your Gal, Shaye

(FYI: this won’t center & it’s throwing my OCD into overdrive. *Breathing through it*.)

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thrift shop treasures: my faves

If you’ve read any of my posts, chances are, you’ve caught on to my affinity for thrift and vintage shops. My interest in secondhand goes back to my younger days. I always looked forward to ‘big-cousin-hand-me-down’ deliveries and constantly nagged my mom to let me sift through her outdated attic stash. They felt like time capsules in fabric form that transported you to another place. They allowed you to hold someone else’s memories in your hands. Now, that’s a pretty cool feeling.

As I got older, I grew to understand and respect the importance of preservation on a deeper level. My style evolved as well and I loved discovering things that other people wouldn’t have and putting my own personal spin on them. I also became more informed about the environmental benefits of secondhand shopping. At this point, I had scaled all my mom’s wardrobes (past and present), but I wanted more; that’s when I realized there were entire treasure chests dedicated to re-selling used ‘stuff.’ Thrift shops, it was a game changer.

I’m relatively new to it, but there are three main factors that led to my increased enthusiasm for the thrift shop game:

  • The green aspect.
    Buying pre-loved is unarguably a more eco-friendly option than buying new. If we all chose to recycle our clothing, we would slow down the damaging effects of the production and manufacturing cycles. It would assist in decreasing the amount of waste and pollution caused by the fashion industry.
  • The unknown history of each piece.
    Who has worn it? Where has it been? What has it seen?  Each piece holds its own secrets that will never be shared. Rather than their stories ending on a hanger in a dusty corner, I think it’s important to help them live on and make new mystery memories for their next owner. We gotta keep that cycle goin’.
  • The quality & the look (duh!).
    It’s no secret that the quality of products has decreased over the years. This is in part due to the fast-fashion model, but we won’t get into that. Either way, by shopping at secondhand stores (thrift/vintage/etc.), you have access to inexpensive quality pieces that are unique and chic! That’s what I like to call the triple threat… you can’t beat it.

Let’s take a peek inside my closet and check out my favorite finds thus far. 🙂

Tweed blazer with suede elbow patches
From: Goodwill (Long Beach, CA)
Circa: 1970s.
How I style it: This baby is originally from a children’s clothing store called The Prep Shop in Alhambra, CA that has since closed. It was sold as a young man’s blazer. I’ve worn it on a few interviews, where I paired it with delicate accessories, which complemented the masculinity of the blazer. This was a score and a half. You had me at suede elbow patches. 
Price:
 $13


‘Silverlake Fish’ t-shirt
From
: Far Outfit (Long Beach, CA)
Circa: 1990s
How I style it: Ah, this shirt! My roommate Vikki and I explored the Silverlake neighborhood a few months ago and I fell hard. The place is lined with shops that I may or may not have seen in my dreams. While perusing the stock in Far Outlet, I came across this shirt and knew it was fate. Soft as butter, Silverlake, YELLOW, and fish (I’m a pescatarian). Safe to say it was made for me.
Price:
 $24

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Bandana
From: Far Outfit (Long Beach, CA)
Circa: 1970s
How I style it: Bandanas are the ultimate multi-purpose accessories. I love tying them around bags for an extra splash of personality. I’m also big into wearing them in my hair now that I know how to properly tie them without looking like a witchy woman- not that that’s a bad thing.
Price: $5 (!!!)

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Leather belt
From:
Salt Lake City, UT
Circa: 1990s
How I style it: This is my go-to belt. It has plenty of holes so I can wear it on my hips with pants or adjust it to sit on my waist with a flowy dress. Light brown leather anything is versatile and very classic, making it a great closet staple and pairing piece. *Currently rocking it with high-waisted black jeans and a tucked in striped tank.
Price: $17

Sterling silver coin belt
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Circa:1970s
How I style it: I am a sucker for coin belts. When I found this one in a hole-in-the-wall shop in Salt Lake, I thought it was too good to be true. The Native American details on the discs are fantastic, too. I usually wear this with on my waist with oversized dresses.
Price:$13

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Hand-tooled oversized leather clutch
From:
Etsy vintage shop
Circa:
1970s
How I style it: I was on the hunt for a hand-tooled leather bag for forever. My mom (who is obviously one of my biggest fashion icons) has the most stunning hand-tooled leather luggage, which inspired me to look for some of my own. I saw some on the internet, but I wanted it to be authentic, so I furthered my search. Eventually, I came across this beauty below. Since purchasing it, I’ve worn it out for a casual night on the town (jeans and t-shirt) and to more formal events (all black everything).
Price:$24


Winner: Teal dress with white flowers
This number wasn’t scored at the store; I actually picked it up right at home. The gauzey cotton goddess dress below is my most cherished vintage piece to date. My mom wore it the summer she first met my dad, also pictured below. Summer of 1979. I remember the first time I wore it, I walked down the stairs and my dad did a double take. “Wow, I thought you were Mommy; I remember her in that dress.” Golden Memories. It will forever be my favorite.

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Shopping secondhand is key. Let’s sum this up: It is greener. It is [usually] less expensive. It hooks you up with a look that is entirely unique to you. Plus, it is the doorway to another time. If any of the points I just noted or mentioned throughout this post are topics of interest, take a walk to the local thrift shop and get lost on a journey through the racks.

Your Gal, Shaye

Ayurveda P2: dry brushing

As to avoid overwhelming you, I’ve decided to break my follow-up post into a couple of separate pieces, rather than cramming too much info into one post. This will help you digest all of the delicious knowledge I’ll be throwing your way. The first Ayurvedic practice up to ‘wow’ you with all of its benefits is dry brushing.


Brush it off

Dry brushing, known as garshana, is just as it sounds. It is quite literally the act of brushing your skin when dry. It sounds harsh, and maybe even slightly off-putting, but dry-skin brushing can reap you major benefits. It promotes lymphatic cleansing and is very effective when it comes to ridding the body of ama (cellular waste products). Modern-day dry brushing is typically conducted using a brush with natural bristles, though silk or linen gloves are the more traditional tools. The process takes no longer than 10 minutes (if you’re feelin’ the self-love) and within seconds, you feel the exhilarating results.

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(Top Brush, Bottom Brush)

So…why and how?

WHY:

The skin is the largest organ, so it should come as no surprise that paying it some extra attention goes a long way. It is responsible for eliminating up to one-third of our body’s toxins and by brushing off the dead skin cells, it helps expedite the process.

Often times, internal deficiencies are reflected externally in the shape of dry skin, acne, rashes, bumps, etc. There is a proven correlation between your skin and what’s happening on the inside. You can even go as far as to trace where the root of the problem is coming from, depending on where the skin issues are arising (for example, pimples between the eyebrows can be linked to the liver, so after a weekend of drinking you might notice a few new friends have popped up).

If we want results, we’ve gotta work for ’em, or in this case, brush for ’em. Adding dry brushing to your morning ritual will only tack on a few minutes and will leave you with all of this:

  • Improved lymphatic circulation- The lymphatic system is the network of vessels through which lymph (a fluid that contains white blood cells) drains from the tissues into the blood. By stimulating the system through brushing the skin, you promote the efficient removal of metabolic waste.
  • Improved immune function- Dry brushing helps circulate white blood cells and rejuvenates the nervous system.
  • Major exfoliation! – Helps unclog pores and improve skin texture by removing dead skin cells. Unclogged pores also help your skin absorb all the good stuff- nutrients! Regular exfoliation also helps slow done the aging process… wrinkles and fine lines, be gone.
  • Prevents and/or reduces the appearance of ingrown hairs- This is something I have always struggled with and can personally vouch for. Since I started dry brushing, I have seen a dramatic decrease in ingrown hairs, both under my arms and by the bikini line.
  • Increases muscle tone and aids in the even distribution of fatty deposits- Dry brushing activates the nervous system, which in turn stimulates muscle fibers that improve muscle tone.
  • Boosted energy-  Dry brushing gets your blood pumping, which leaves you feeling tingly in the best ways. As your blood circulates, your energy levels naturally increase.
  • Less stress-  If you make dry brushing a morning ritual and do the deed in a relaxing atmosphere (think: candles and ‘Nature Sounds’ on Spotify) it becomes highly meditative. Knowing you’re doing something that your body will thank you for inherently de-stresses you out.

Now that you know why you should do it, I’m sure you’re dying to know how to do it. That would probably help, huh?

HOW:

As I noted earlier, dry brushing is as easy as it comes, but following the ancient Garshana techniques closely is imperative.

  1. Brush in the morning before you bathe or shower to remove dead skin and get your day started on the right foot. Dry brushing in the shower or bath is a good idea, as it avoids a messy clean-up (skin cells will be shed).
  2. Begin brushing at your feet and move in long sweeping motions, working your way up. Give extra love to your inner thighs and underarms, as both closely help the lymphatic system. Always brush up, toward your heart.
  3. After feet and legs, move in this order: arms, back, abdominal, behind. For abdominal and booty areas, work in a clockwise motion until you reach a tingly feeling and your skin becomes a rosy color.
  4. Save the chest and neck for last. Both of these areas are more sensitive, so in the beginning, brush delicately. Over time, your skin will adapt.
  5. Let the water flow and cleanse yourself of whatever doesn’t serve you.
  6. Once you’re squeaky clean, it’s time to moisturize. Your pores are open and ready to receive some quality nutrients after that detox. My beauty regimen consists almost solely of natural oils, so I choose to lather up with coconut oil and Argan oil post dry-brush and shower.
  7. Put your dry brush somewhere dry and within reach. The next dry-brush sesh in on the horizon.

That’s it! I told you it was easy. It might not sound like much, but I can promise you will feel the difference.


Garshana based on your Dosha

If Ayurveda isn’t for you, and you’re just here for the technique, feel free to move on to another galtruism post that better tickles your fancy. All dry brushing basics have already been discussed, I just want to offer some extra Ayurvedic knowledge to those interested.

  • Vata:  2-3 times per week.
  • Pitta: 4-5 times per week.
  • Kapha: Daily.

These suggestions are based on the typical energy levels, deficiencies, etc. of each particular dosha. None of these are definitive or proven, they are simply suggestions. I, for example, associate myself with the Vata dosha but I dry brush 4-5 times per week. In the end, it’s entirely up to you and what makes you feel good.

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Whether or not you’re an Ayurvedic supporter or believer, the proof is there. I know that adding another bullet to your morning routine sounds grueling, but dry-brushing is a worthwhile addition that you should consider. I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t truly believe in it.

Ayurveda P2: Dry Brushing – done.
Ayurveda P3: Tongue Scraping – next up.

See ya there.

Your Gal, Shaye

Ayurveda P1: the ancient medicine you should know about

In this ‘Part 1’ post, I will introduce you to the magic that is Ayurvedic medicine (if you aren’t already familiar with it). You can expect a follow-up blog post that will highlight a few popular Ayurvedic practices and touch on their particular benefits (woo!).

Homeopathic remedies have always been my chosen path to wellness, so naturally, Ayurveda is a practice lifestyle that I can identify with. There is an undeniable correlation between our minds and bodies, so keeping the two in tune is paramount to maintaining a balanced life. This idea, along with the notion that nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind, are the two principles that Ayurveda was founded on thousands of years ago (yes, thousands).

Ayurveda, which translated literally means science or knowledge of life (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge), was designed by Indian sages to help people realize their full human potential. It encourages awareness through meditation and consuming only natural foods, preferably cooked, as certain foods are easier for the body to digest when cooked.

*Balanced diet suggestion: Include the 6 Ayurvedic tastes (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent).


Despite my organic gravitation toward natural living, it wasn’t until a few months ago that I really learned about the mind-body health system. As per the suggestion of one of my friends, I ordered Sahara Rose Ketabi’s book, Ayurveda (Idiot’s Guides). As the title indicates, the book is for beginners and covers everything from doshas to daily morning/ nighttime routines. Super informative. Highly recommend.

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Other than being a warm lemon water enthusiast and sporadically sprinkling turmeric onto my lunch and dinner plates, I was a complete stranger to the ancient practice. I learned that Ayurveda is a personalized approach to health, and understanding your mind and body, is the key to achieving wellness. By this, I mean that everybody is different, so it only makes sense that our needs differ as well. To fully grasp this, it helps to familiarize yourself with the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.


The Doshas

In Ayurvedic medicine, doshas are the energies believed to circulate in the body and govern physiological activity. Sounds a little loopy, I know, but once you learn more about your personal dosha and see how much you relate, the wheels will start to turn.

  • Vata: Qualities reflecting the elements of Space and Air = cold, light, dry, irregular, rough, moving, quick, changeable.
    • Physical Characteristics: Commonly have a light frame and very agile. Tend to experience roller-coaster energy, going from bursts to extreme fatigue. Dry skin and cold hands/feet. Sensitive digestion.
    • Emotional Characteristics: Driven by excitement and new experiences. Easily angered but quick to forgive. When balanced, Vatas are creative, flexible, and very outgoing. When imbalanced, they are prone to anxiety.

Sound like you? Learn more here.

  • Pitta: Qualities reflecting the elements of Fire and Water = hot, light, intense, penetrating, pungent, sharp, acidic.
    • Physical Characteristics: Commonly are medium size and weight. Warm body temperature, abundant energy, strong sex drive, and appetite. When imbalanced, Pittas may suffer from skin rashes, burning sensations, heartburn, and indigestion.
    • Emotional Characteristics: Very powerful intellect and ability to concentrate. Great makers, teachers, and speakers. Sharp-witted and outspoken. When imbalanced, Pittas may be short-tempered and/or argumentative.

Sound like you? Learn more here.

  • Kapha: Qualities reflecting the elements of Water and Earth = heavy, slow, steady, solid, cold, soft, oily.
    • Physical Characteristics: Have a strong build and excellent stamina. When Kaphas succumb to excess, they are more susceptible to weight gain, fluid retention, and allergies, than the other doshas. When out of balance, may become overweight, suffer from depression, and sleep excessively.
    • Emotional Characteristics: Kaphas are calm, thoughtful, loving individuals. Loyal, patient, supportive. Sometimes have difficulty letting go of things that no longer serve them (material items, jobs, relationships).

Sound like you? Learn more here.


Since researching and reading Ayurveda (Idiot’s Guides), I have taken small steps to incorporate general Ayurvedic practices as well as those that specifically cater to the needs of my dosha, Vata. After reading Sahara Rose and The Chopra Center’s breakdown of each dosha, it was crystal clear that I was predominantly Vata with some Kapha characteristics. I am always cold, small-framed, and go from bouncing off the walls to napping in no time…Vata, Vata, Vata.  So, I started with simple lifestyle techniques, such as dry brushing, tongue scraping, and the continued use of organic oils and feel a noticeable improvement.

As far as the eating thing goes, that’s an area I’ve been gradually exploring on a shallow level. My boyfriend’s mom, Rary, gifted me an amazing Ayurvedic cookbook for Christmas, The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook, so I’m really looking forward to taking the next step and giving my diet an Ayurveda makeover, which I will keep you guys updated on.

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In my following post, I will dive deeper into why dry brushing, tongue scraping, and oils are so important to include in your daily routine. All natural and designed especially for you may sound too good to be true, but it’s not! Changing your lifestyle is intimidating, this I know, but improving it shouldn’t be. Being your best ‘you’ is in your hands, and this is a step in the right direction.

If I can do it, you can do it.

Your Gal, Shaye

SS: MATE the Label

In essence, this column is to inform and advise. Understanding the ‘fast-fashion model,’ which is a large sector of the fashion industry, is crucial to living a stylish life of mindfulness. Many people have fallen victim to the allure of industry and aren’t aware of the irreversible impact it’s having on our planet. Throughout all stages of textile production, the aquatic, terrestrial, and atmospheric ecosystems experience lasting environmental harm, including but certainly not limited to the emission of greenhouse gases.

As the severity of the situation persists, large companies and local brands alike are vowing to break the chain. It is their mission to do what is ethical by ensuring all operations are carried out sustainably. Nature and fashion can coexist despite the toxic relationship the two have had over the last century. We don’t have to forfeit our love of fashion, we just have to find brands that are willing to do what’s right. That’s where I come in; I’m here to offer alternatives to the otherwise disposable pieces you regularly shop for.

Discovering fresh brands that have beauty and brains is one of my guilty pleasures. There’s nothing like finding a line that has a unique aesthetic and a progressive mindset, am I right? Buckle up because with each new Sustainable Spotlight post, I will be introducing you to another awesome brand that you’ll probably fall in love with (just like I did).

Time to set sail into a sea of sustainably-made beauties.
Destination: MATE the Label, DTLA.


While perusing Instagram a few years back, I stumbled upon MATE’s feed and was mesmerized. In all honesty, I judged this book by its covered and was sold solely on their style. MATE was a mystery company to me, so I didn’t yet know that they were the whole package.  After doing a bit of research, I quickly realized they weren’t a mystery at all. In fact, they were already an established line that hailed from the west coast.

MATE the Label is the brainchild of Kayti Carr O’Connell, who I was lucky to meet earlier this fall. It began as a side hustle, which consisted of Carr selling thrifted wonders she found herself. From this, the idea for MATE was conceived and thus, the Label was born.

Dreamy graphics decorate the majority of MATE’s buttery-soft pieces. Not only could they potentially melt in your hands, they’re extremely versatile as well. By this, I mean you sleep in them or rock ‘em for a night out on the town. It is clear that MATE has mastered the groovy vibes category but they also stand for some really great causes. That’s far out.

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In a 2017 interview with La Femme Creative, she said, “being made in Los Angeles is a big part of our brand. We have partnered with factories that are all within a 5-mile radius of our HQ. This means that we are able to check in on development and production on a daily basis. We are very hands-on with each step of the process and love being able to build relationships with the people that are making our product.” Apparently, the average shirt travels to 4 or 5 factories before reaching the hands of the consumer, so the fact that MATE produces and manufactures all products in what is essentially their backyard is commendable.

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As mentioned, I met with Kayti a few months ago at MATE HQ. I was there for an interview, actually. Upon my arrival here in LA, I was trying to figure out which direction I wanted to take within the sustainability realm. I did know that LA is a breeding ground for environmentally conscious brands, so I racked my brain for some of my faves. Naturally, MATE came to mind. I checked out the ‘Careers’ section on their site and went for it. Email sent. The position was for a social intern, which is up my alley and a great launch pad but after being offered the position, reality hit me and reminded me that being car-less wouldn’t allow me to commit to the position.

Anyway, while there, Kayti and I discussed her vision for MATE in the future, along with a few other ideas she had brewing in the pot. She mentioned putting an even greater emphasis on being natural, in terms of fibers and dyes, with an obvious continual effort on ‘thinking green’.  A company with morals, an organic outlook, and killer taste is one I can get behind. Not to mention, their pieces are super fun to style (as seen below). MATE has it goin’ on, at a reasonable price point, nonetheless!

The next time you’re looking for not-so-basic basics and trying to minimize your environmental impact, opting for MATE is a chic option. You’ll be turning heads, guilt-free.

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The captain of this ship is out. Until next time…

Your Gal, Shaye

this seasons diy: holiday in a jar

It’s tough to get into the holiday spirit when you’re surrounded by palm trees and wearing t-shirts in December. Not complaining, because I’m all for ‘dresses and light cardigan’ weather, but it does make me dream of a white Christmas more than I used to.

Back east, my house is merry and bright as soon as the countdown hits ’24’. Glittery wreaths made of evergreen shrubs decorate the doors, garland adorns the staircases and nine stockings (one for our rabbit, Skippy) hang from cast-iron stars over the fireplace.

It’s clear that the bar for holiday decor is set high. We aren’t a religious family, but the allure of the season was always something we loved. Now that I’m on my own, I wanted to bring that same feeling to my tiny studio. The only two (major) roadblocks between myself and that winter wonderland are: temperatures don’t dip below 70 degrees and money. The struggle is real as I’m sure it is for many of you out there.

So I’ve taken it upon myself to craft up a couple DIY projects that are wallet-friendly and on theme for the holidays. The main ingredient: an upcycled jar.


holiday project number 1.

Personally, I prefer flowers on-site at all times. Not only do they add a boost of organic energy, but they possess an undeniable charm.

Whilst perusing the aisles of Trader Joe’s, the lovely arrangement of mums and carnations below caught my eye. We don’t have enough table space for an orchid or poinsettias (le sigh), but this bouquet was the perfect size for two new jars I just cleaned. Score!

The process is essentially effortless and leaves you with seasonally apt arrangments.  It’s a three-step process: retrieve jar, put flowers in the jar, fill the jar up with clean water and you’re good to go. I put the smaller one on the window sill in our kitchen and the other on the toilet in our bathroom (glamorous, I know).

They might not scream “Christmas,” but they are subtle and delicate, which makes them the perfect addition to our humble abode.

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holiday project number 2.

I jumped on the infused water bandwagon a few years back for a handful of reasons. The first is obviously because of how delicious it is. There are countless different combinations you can experiment with depending on the season and personal preference. The second (and more important) reason is the number of health benefits that come with drinking the refreshing concoctions.  Infused waters are naturally low cal and contain no artificial ingredients.

To stay ‘on season’ I wanted to whip up a combo that was soothing with a heady aroma. After doing a (very small) lap around the kitchen, I ended up with cinnamon, one gala apple, Himalayan sea salt, and rosemary.

I washed the apple and rosemary with some veggie cleaner to rid it of any pesticides or other germs while the water heated on the stove (hot water expedites the flavor steeping process).  I added an extremely generous amount of cinnamon, threw in the sliced apple and herbs, then added some Himalayan sea salt to top it off. I slowly poured the water in, let it cool off for a bit, then went for it. It was a home run- I wasn’t sure what the outcome was going to be but the different flavors complemented each other very well. What made it even more delish was all of the benefits.

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  • Apples: Full of fiber, including pectin, which is a soluble fiber that helps promote good digestive health.
  • Rosemary: Alleviates muscle pain, boosts circulatory and immune system, improves memory, and promotes hair growth (yes, yes, yes, and yes).
  • Cinnamon: Helps speed up your metabolism while burning down calories.
  • Himalayan Sea Salt: Improves hydration, helps balance blood sugar, helps with sleep regulation.

After warming up with a cup of Christmas in a jar, I put in the fridge. The next day, I ditched the apple and rosemary as to avoid decomposition. It tasted just as good chilled, just had a different feel. If you’d prefer a cozier elixir, throw it in the mic (if you have one…we don’t) or put in on the stove and remove right before it reaches a boil.


I might be thousands of miles away from the holiday season I’m used to, but these two DIY projects gave me a little taste of home and didn’t break the bank. Win, win.

To eating, drinking, and being merry!

Your Gal, Shaye

 

my turn to give thanks

This year, like most people, I have plenty to be thankful for. First and foremost, my family and friends are healthy and happy. I was lucky enough to be born to two of the most amazing parents, who have consistently supported my decisions, rash or not, without hesitation. Additionally, I am the sister of five incredible characters, all of whom have evolved into fine [and very cool] young adults. My friends also keep me going, so here’s a shoutout to you five- keep shining and doing your damn thangs- I love you! Secondly, I am healthy and happy. Ah, genuinely happy.  It feels like a breath of crisp, fresh, fall-in-California air.

I’ve spent a large portion of my time here on Earth being harshly critical of myself. Way too judgemental. I’m so quick to condemn myself for what I haven’t accomplished rather than praising myself for the challenges I’ve faced and overcome.

My perfectionism (and borderline OCD) might be to blame, but regardless, it’s something I’ve always struggled with and for the first time in a looong time, I am learning to make peace with the devil on my shoulder.

I’ve heard it time and time again, but never chose to listen; it’s all about embracing your flaws. Focus on the things you can do rather than ridiculing yourself for the books on your list you haven’t read, the run you didn’t go on, or the 9-5 job you still don’t have.

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For me, I go back and forth because my current situation is far from the conventional “life-picture idea” I drew for myself. Finally, I am allowing myself to sit back and know that that. is. okay. Why am I giving myself such a hard time? This is my life and so long as I can put a roof over my head, food on my table, and a smile on my face, that is enough.

At the end of the day, all you have is you and your thoughts and if all the thoughts that ping-pong around in your head are negative, you will drown yourself in bad energy. That’s no way to live.

So, this year, I am grateful for this groundbreaking (and obvious) revelation. I have finally reached the point in my life where I am choosing happiness. I am choosing to be kind to myself and love all my quirks, my weird habits, terrible singing voice, and so on. It’s the most freeing feeling and I recommend it to anyone who remotely relates to anything I just wrote. Your life starts the day you become your biggest fan instead of your biggest critic.

Enough of all that personal chatter, it’s time to give some recognition to the tres amigos that I am fortunate enough to share this chapter with- Kyle, Vikki, and Matt. I’ve had a few lapses and a breakdown or two, but these three keep me grounded, love me for the emotional, now-and-then sassy, sometimes-too-much-to-handle self,  and for that, I am eternally thankful today and every other day.

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Oh, and we had a pretty kick-ass Turkey day (or Salmon day for me– first pescatarian Thanksgiving) spread, if I do say so myself. Me and Vikki’s apartment has a maximum capacity of 6 with close to no seating so we shot down to Kyle and Hunter’s spot for the feast of a lifetime. We made everything (except for the Gelson’s pumpkin pie) ourselves and did a damn good job.

Vikki took the reins for the stuffed artichokes and the turkey, Kyle jumped on board for the sweet potatoes (marshmallows with a touch of sweet potato) and stuffing, Matt was on roasted veggie duty, and I made some garlic lemon butter salmon and honey glazed carrots.

The prep started around 1:30 and by 6pm we were in a food-induced coma in the ultimate garage man-cave. We fell asleep to the sweet sounds of a Spotify Thanksgiving mix. Vikki and Kyle took the couch and Matt and I retreated to the twin mattress, which was appropriately right outside. Talk about luxury. It was the most pleasant (and unique) Thanksgiving day to date and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Life is about enjoying the simple things. Be different, be happy, be grateful for all that you have and above all, love! Especially yourself… it will make this whole ‘life’ much more enjoyable.

Cheers to that.

Your Gal, Shaye

gal’s first column: Sustainable Spotlight

Hi, all!

It’s been a whole [almost] three weeks since my long-anticipated debut of galtruism. As I noted in my first post, I’ve had the real intention of starting a blog for a while, but always put it on the back-burner. I figured eventually I would do it- ‘maybe in a few days’, ‘next month when the semester is over’, or ‘after the holidays when things slow down.’ To my shameful admission, there was always an excuse. Finally, I bucked up and realized the only way to do something was, well, to do it. Although I’ve only written two posts thus far, my wheels have been turning since I published the first one. I’m currently cooking up a couple new posts but in the meantime, I would like to debut my first column, a concept called Sustainable Spotlight. 

Sustainable Spotlight will highlight brands within the fashion/jewelry, health/beauty, and home/lifestyle industries that are diligently working to change the product market landscape through sustainable and eco-conscious practices. I already have a handful of unique lines I’m so excited to share with you guys! Some are changing the game by vowing to only produce their pieces in the US, while others are empowering women worldwide by solely teaming up with local artisans overseas.

Each brand that gets stage time under the galtruism spotlight possesses attributes that make them stand out amongst the crowd. Some are big, and some are small, but all are mighty and doing their part in making a difference.

Stay tuned to see who the spotlight hits first… you don’t want to miss it.

Your Gal, Shaye

thank you notes, letters, postcards: why you should keep ’em alive

Call me crazy, call me old-fashioned, call me whatever you want, but there is nothing quite like receiving a card in the mail. A handwritten message freshly sealed in a crisp envelope and delivered to your mailbox is, to me, one of the most pleasant surprises. I’m sure a lot of you can back me on this, but how many of you are on the opposite end; how many of you are the senders? Not calling anyone out, I’m just trying to draw attention to a lost art that deserves preservation.


Grazie, Merci, Arigato: Cards Worth Writing

These days, ‘thank you’ cards seem to be few and far between. Granted, I may be biased because I was raised by a woman who insisted we write ‘thank you’ cards the day after our birthday’s. Back then, I saw it as an inconvenience, but as an adult, I couldn’t be more grateful that she instilled the habit in us mainly because it is the proper thing to do.

In today’s day and age, lines of communication are more or less all virtual; tangible communication is merely a thing of the past. It’s obviously easier to shoot your friend a text thanking her for the generous housewarming gift, but going the extra mile and putting the time into formulating a note that voices your gratitude is a much more memorable gesture.

Moral of the story: Do the write thing- send a formal ‘thank you’ note.

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Ideas: Most of my ‘thank you’ cards have been from Marshall’s but recently I’ve been opting for Etsy. I shop locally whenever I can.  I’m also into monogramming, which Etsy is great for. My favorite set is from the shop, CurioPress, as seen above.

If you’re not into the whole initial/name thing, there’s also Paper Source, which carries a wider variety of products, which are equally unique and pretty.


I Wrote You Every Day For a Year…

I’ll spare you another Nicholas Sparks line, but he has it figured out when it comes to keeping in touch. It may not have worked out in the case of Allie & Noah (The Notebook), but modern-day letter sending isn’t as much of an obstacle as it was in the 40s.

The anticipation that is paired with waiting for a letter creates such a genuine childlike excitement. Last year, during our long-distance relationship, my boyfriend and I exchanged a few letters back and forth and receiving them was the highlight of my week. Sure, we definitely spoke every day in between the sending and receiving, but the act of opening their letter, seeing their handwriting, and reading their raw thoughts is a feeling you can’t grasp via text message. On top of that, they are pieces of your story that you can always reflect back on rather than scrolling for an hour to re-read an old conversation.

Additionally, there is the authenticity factor. You can write the same sentence in pen or email but ink can’t be deleted; the permanence makes it different and real. 

Moral of the story: Put the phone down then draft and send a good ole letter.

Ideas: Lined paper and a writing utensil is all you need. Don’t have lined paper? Computer paper or a napkin (cc: JK Rowling) will suffice. You’ll also need stamps which can be purchased at your local USPS store or on their website.

As for writing utensils, MUJI all the way. I will never go back to writing with anything else. They’re reasonably priced and glide like a dream PLUS you can buy ink refills (I use the 0.38mm). Do it.


Post Up.

Whenever I’m exploring a new place, I find that stopping into local shops is one of the most effective (and fun) ways of introducing yourself to the culture. Post “California touchdown”, I couldn’t wait to get my walkers on and hit the strip. Once the bags were set down and the naps were taken, my roommate and I headed out to explore a handful of the beach towns that make up “SoCal”: Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Manhattan Beach, and last, but not least, our new home, Hermosa Beach. There is no shortage of picturesque piers and grade-A boutiques, which is where I stumbled upon the postcards below. Whilst cruising up and down Pier Ave. in Hermosa, I saw “curious“, a local treasure that is chock full of quirky gifts and knick-knacks, as well as the blast from the past HB postcards below.

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Since my family is back home in New York (or in Salt Lake City, Utah), I wanted to find a way to keep them in the loop sans cellphone. Yes, I give them multiple calls a week (and texts a day), but I wanted to do more than that. Something thoughtful, but not too kitschy or ‘souvenir-y.’ What accomplishes that as effortlessly as a vintage looking postcard with a heartfelt message on the back? I’ll wait…

…well, the answer is nothing, but I’m done waiting and you should be too. Postcards aren’t easy, though. Being concise is a challenge; rambling on in a letter is far easier than formulating a message that is short, sweet, and to the point. But challenges are good, they build character.  The postcards I snagged may be nothing extravagant, but if they make someone smile, they achieved their goal.

Moral of the story: Don’t hesitate to go the extra mile when it comes to showing those you love how much you care.

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Au, revoir. Xx, yours truly.

I think I’ve stressed the point enough– written word is so important when it comes to communication. The next time you have thoughts you’d like to share, or thanks you’d like to give, put your pen to paper and let it flow… only good things will happen.

Your Gal, Shaye

le great road trip of 2017

So the first post butterflies have flown south for the winter and I’m ready to get the party started. This blog has been on my drawing board for way too long and I’m not even sure where to start, but here it goes:

I’ve been in California for a little less than a month. I traveled out here with my older brother, boyfriend, and roommate all the way from New York. Long Island, New York. I grew up in a ‘deserted in the winter/bustling in the summer’ beach town where everyone knows everyone. I had an amazing upbringing with my five siblings (4:2 boys to girls) and my two amazing parents but a little voice out west kept calling my name.  It’s something I’ve been looking to do for years and after a natural parting from my last gig and a general uncertainty of what my future held, it seemed like the stars were aligning and the time had come to take the leap across the Mississipi.

On a warm pre-sunrise morning in late September, we set off to  California, caravan style. We knew nothing other than our first destination: Wilmington, NC and our last: Los Angeles, CA. Everything in between was unwritten, despite my Virgo push to meticulously plan each stop.

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We opted for the classic I-40 route, which is basically like the great American sampler menu. By traveling along the highway, you get a taste of the many niches that comprise this country.  You get a little bit of Southern comfort down in Nashville (with vegetarian biscuits & gravy, if you’re lucky), a whole lotta flatland across Arkansas, and authentic cowboy hats and turquoise bolo’s in Texas.

The pueblos in New Mexico and stunning Arizona landscape are both worthy of writing home about as well. But eventually, you cross into Southern Utah, otherwise known as Red Rock country, otherwise known as the land that stole my heart.

We camped out for two nights on the Utah/Arizona border. We visited Lake Powell and set up shop in an isolated oasis we were fortunate enough to stumble upon. There is truly nothing like desert solitude. All you have is the stars, your thoughts, and good company, depending on who you’re cruising with. In my case, I had a few of my dearest ones by my side- mi amor, Matt, big brother Kyle, and my current studio-mate, Vikki, which made it one of the most incredible experiences. Together we embarked and completed a journey I’ve been dreaming about for years. It was this journey that ultimately inspired and motivated me to get this show on the road.

Immersing yourself in nature helps you develop a newfound appreciation for the beauty that surrounds you and puts a lot into perspective. I lived out of a duffle bag packed with 15 or so items (which, when I say back to myself, sounds like a lot) for about a month until I moved into my studio and was… fine. Yeah, fine! Coming from a girl who regularly hates re-wearing outfits, I didn’t think I could do it. We often forget that as human beings, we require very little. In order to realize this,  you may have to put yourself into foreign and potentially uncomfortable situations but once you do, it’s extremely liberating. My path to minimalism is still a project in its infancy stages, but The Great Road Trip of 2017 was the lesson I’ve been waiting for; the one that taught me that I’m capable of living life simply.

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Sometimes all it takes is a glass of gas station red wine and the warmth of desert firepit to shed light on what it is you need. Don’t forget to look up, you just might see a shooting star.

Your Gal, Shaye