The Solo Journey Experience | Ojai

The Solo Journey Experience | Ojai

Ah, the solo getaway. We’ve all dreamt of the eat, pray, love life at some point, but who are we kidding? With most of us bogged down by family, career and general day-to-day life obligations, going on a lengthy soul-searching journey just isn’t practical. But what if you knew how to plan a solo overnight trip that could at least somewhat aid in providing the mental cleanse we all need?

When we were in the thick of the pandemic, I thought about how fulfilling it would be to celebrate my eventual vaccination by booking a solo overnight stay somewhere just out of L.A. That said, the timing had to be right—and when a last minute change of plans altered a pre-scheduled arrangement last Thursday, I took it as my sign to jump on a 24-hour getaway.

It’s important to keep in mind there are many types of solo excursions. If you’re looking to meet new people, there’s a place for that. If you’re looking to soak up the sun by the pool all day, there’s a place for that. If you’re looking to sip cocktails with no cares in the world, there’s a place for that. I knew that my intentions were to go somewhere grounding and spiritual. Oh, it also happened to be Earth Day, so naturally it made the most sense to venture somewhere scenic and serene.

I considered my local options, and booked a quaint room at the Ojai Retreat & Inn. To be clear, this isn’t sponsored by any of the establishments I mention in this piece. I simply just learned a lot from my experience and want to share since many people expressed interest when I posted about it online. Keep reading for all my tips on how to plan a solo overnight trip if you’re looking for a zen recharge outside of L.A.

  1. Consider the Destination

It’s important to be mindful of the fact that just because a place involves lounging doesn’t mean it will be peaceful or mind-clearing. I think when Angelenos think of relaxing, Palm Springs is the first place that comes to mind. But quite frankly, it’s not where I’d personally go for a distinctly serene experience. To me, Palm Springs evokes Coachella memories and partying. It’s also a blistering hot desert, so if there’s no pool with refreshing cocktails to boot, count me out.

When I booked my trip, it was important for me to immerse myself in nature, first and foremost. While Southern California is beautiful with many outdoor activities at its fingertips, much of it is a scene or just L.A relocated (a la PS). When I think of serene, scenic solo getaways in SoCal, I think Ojai, Idyllwild and Topanga Canyon. And in my planning process and searching around for available hotels (easier than Airbnb), Ojai was the best fit in that moment.

  1. Disconnect or Tie-Up Any Distracting Loose Ends Beforehand

When it comes to how to plan a solo overnight trip, be sure to wrap up any unfinished business beforehand. To get the most out of your experience, you don’t want this to be a work remote situation. Take the day off and let everyone you know you’ll be out of pocket for 24 hours. I’d even advise putting your phone on airplane mode for at least half the time. If you’re in a situation where you do need to leave your phone on, at least make sure you have no lingering concerns or obligations that could interfere with your peaceful mindset on the trip.

For me, personally, the day/night I got there was fantastic. I explored the beautiful grounds on which I was staying, I walked to a beautiful restaurant for dinner and embraced the garden view from my bedroom. I turned off my phone after dinner, and when I turned it back on the next morning, I had a cryptic text waiting for me from a friend. When I replied, I got another cryptic reply, leading me to question if there was something I needed to worry about. The friend said they could only talk after work. Instead of agreeing and going on with my day, I wish I had blatantly asked if this had to do with me or to speak right then. Instead, it left my neurotic brain frazzled and poured out into the energy of what was supposed to be a mellow day. It ended up having nothing to do with me, but going into this situation next time, I’ll need to know off the bat so it doesn’t impact my peaceful experience.

  1. Schedule a Healing Session

If there’s one place to take advantage of natural healing properties, it’s in nature, of course! Places like Ojai, for example, offer a slew of intuitive readings, reiki and crystal healings, sound bath experiences and other forms of re-centering and cleansing your energy. I just so happened to have a session scheduled with my bi-yearly healer later that week in L.A., but if I didn’t have that on the calendar weeks in advance, I’d absolutely have booked a session on my travel. Especially since I haven’t done any form of healing since just before the pandemic, this was such an opportune time!

4. Book a Room Somewhere Serene

    1. Going off of No. 1, if zen is your goal for the trip, be sure your room reservation follows suit. For this sort of stay, I’m not going to book at the trendiest spot in town (even if it’s the most beautiful or luxe). I wanted somewhere small, quaint, and scenic. I didn’t need room service or a full bar by the pool. I just wanted to be in nature and feel like I was in a whole new world with no familiar faces in sight. Again, I’m not big on Airbnb for solo travel (but that’s just me). I find it so much easier to book a hotel and not have to worry about anything except enjoying the experience.

      1. Plan Your Trip on a Weekday

      Planning your stay on a weekday is key when it comes to how to book a solo overnight trip. I went on a Thursday and stayed through early Friday afternoon. Not only do you beat the crowds (and yes, that includes some L.A. tourists), but you have better deals and vaster options. Based on my day of stay, my room was $10 off. I was also easily able to snag a last-minute reservation at the hottest spot in town for dinner. And when I headed into downtown the following late morning, I felt like I had the area all to myself. I find it generally easier to decompress on weekday trips. You’re not soaking up the energy of masses of travelers around you and you don’t feel like you’re missing out on traditional weekend activities.

    6. Ensure There’s a Dining Establishment Within Walking Distance

        1. Nothing’s worse than getting in the zone and feeling at ease than having to hop into your car or deal with an annoying Lyft when all you want to do is eat a nice meal and enjoy a glass of wine. Avoid tampering with your energy flow by ensuring beforehand that there’s somewhere walking distance to eat (or somewhere [mellow] to eat on the premises of where you’re staying). I was fortunate enough to have an exquisite fine dining establishment waiting for me at the very bottom of my hotel’s hill called The Ranch House. I can’t think of a better place in that moment to enjoy a solo meal with an extraordinary view.

      7. Set an Intention for the Trip

          1. While getting away just to get away is all sorts of groovy, it’s so much more meaningful when you have a goal or outcome for your brief yet powerful journey. In my case, I wanted to connect with nature and clear my energy. While I’m no stranger to alone time (I’m single, I live alone and I’m very socially independent), it’s a lot different to stroll down bustling Sunset Blvd. to grab coffee than it is to stroll through an array of trees and waterfalls and peacefully reflect on life. Like with most people, the last several months have been wildly transitional. It was important to me that I shed some lingering energy that’s been piled up over the last year. While a step outdoors isn’t going to dramatically change your life or fix all your problems, it does help clear your head and put things into perspective when you don’t have the distractions of your day-to-day life clouding your mind.

        Dahvi Shira is a longtime L.A.-based writer and editor who has been published regularly with People, E!, Mane Addicts and her own blog Skyelyfe. When she’s not writing or embracing her inner Gen Z girl, she’s experimenting with makeup and skincare and promoting her merch line @dgilosangeles.

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        What is gay sexuality? What is socializing in queer spaces? and what is the meaning of partying in a post-Covid circumstance, where we are still locking in and out while needing to rage on harder. With pride around the corner and what is sure to be #SlutGirlSummer we chatted with Eric Alán whose gogo dancing persona Rico Starr led to an iconic and vivaciously vulgar clothing line which bridges the gogo attire with the streets.

        Who is Rico Starr?

        I would have to say Rico Starr is an over the top version of myself. A world class traveler, into fashion, all things nightlife, glitter, fun, music and extravagance!

        Is he a top, bottom or vers?

        Definitely vers! Everyone knows very guys have twice the fun…Rico Starr even has a shirt for that!

        What would be your ideal dream Starr to rock Rico Starr?

        My tagg line is that EVERYBODY IS A STARR. There is no one type or aesthetic that my line is directed to or at or trying to attract. In fact, my website is full of photos with actual customers in their own Rico Starr gear.

         

        What is your background in production and how did you see yourself utilizing it as a means of expression?

        My segue into singing and recording my own music was being chosen out of a crowd in a dance club to audition for a slot as a backup dancer to another recording artist at the time. Doing that for about a year or so, I met music producers and just started working on projects and before you know it that lead to my own songs, music videos, tv spots, press, live shows, etc.

        As far as expression, I just wasn’t afraid of putting who and what I am out there. The themes and imagery of my music are very authentic to me as a person. It’s flashy, gay, unashamed, proud, sexy and fun! I don’t think it ever occurred to me to try to fit into or be anything else than what I was/am. This was my art so intrinsically a visual and audible extension of myself.

        Did you feel like dancing came naturally what was your gateway until performing and did you use it to incorporate and direct your musical career?

        Since I was very young, music and dancing has ALWAYS been a HUGE part of my life. My mother incessantly played Donna Summer’s ‘On The Radio’ album which I still never get tired of listening too. My late aunt and I would dance in her laundry room for hours. She introduced me to Latin sounds like salsa and merengue and was so eager to listen to new things at the time like Madonna and Gloria Estefan.

        Gogo dancing came after my stint as a recording artist. And yes, it did come very naturally. Music ALWAYS takes me to a place of joy. Every time I dance, people come up to me and remark at how much fun they have seeing and sharing the joy I have when I’m dancing.

        Beyond stage outfits how did you feel your designs extended into the dancing in the music?

        Dancing generally takes place in a dark room filled with flashing lights. The clothes I design are made specifically for that. I mean, as gay men the shirts come off pretty quick, but even at bars, there is dim lighting and at least a disco ball, right? The materials in my shirts are all used with that in mind. From foil to glitter and rhinestones, it’s all meant to catch the light and shine!

        Do you feel that what you had made for a gogo dancing as a custom extension to how you view your own sexuality and personal sexual habits?

        As far as gogo dancing, the point is to be as sexy as fuck right? But beyond that I have always felt that there is nothing sexier than confidence. So with that said, unless I was dancing for an event that was sponsored by a particular underwear or clothing brand, I always aimed to wear something that made me feel confident. And yes, that absolutely included leather, jocks, briefs and anything in between. My favorite gogo dancing gigs have been for various Madonna events. I got to reimagine and create her outfits but from a gogo dancer perspective.

        The brand is super all-in, where the K crew and G crew can somewhere say high high hello, what would you say is the best layering technique of drugs for a night out?

        Well. I’m not one to dose and tell but I personally find that a little bit of everything makes for a phenomenal night out dancing under those flashing lights and glittering disco ball!

        Where do you see the brand going in the near future?

        Rico Starr is about to put out summer gear and it’s first swimsuit. While you can already find the shirts in Chi Chi Larue’s Circus of Books in West Hollywood, CA, I would like to see Rico Starr expand to other brick and mortar stores across the country and maybe even internationally! 

        How do you feel gay men have interacted with their sexuality as the pandemic hit, are we coming back to cruise culture for a sense of adventure?

        From what I have seen and heard I would have to agree that cruise culture is on the rise again. Apparently the Rambles here in Central Park is quite the happening place! Again, so I’ve heard… It’s kinda like what Richard Attenborugh said in Jurassic Park but I would tweak it a bit. “Gays find a way.”

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        There is a deep sense of self realization when reviewing Dana Boulos multi-hyphenate career. Whether shooting the indie darling of the moment or soundtracking the coolest fashion labels events, she has always had her eye on the prize of being able to make a living in an industry that thrives off of the constant dance to stay relevant and informed. WIth this career path there has long been a certain diminishing aspect to being able to do it all and do it all well. Recently she outed herself as the mastermind behind the production company BRAINFREEZE, a move which allowed her to initially be taken seriously without being the figurehead. With her latest project Talk by BRAINFREEZE, she aims to cultivate conversations with a leading diverse cast of creatives, starting with a chat with her friend the poet Sonny Hall. Ahead of the launch we spoke to Boulos to congratulate her enterprising project.

        Hey Dana how are you congrats on the new project what made you start this new podcast?

        BJ!!!! I can’t believe I’ve been working on this personal project for a year now. I started TALK during the lockdown, at first, it was supposed to be a digital magazine… something to help me dream of a better future and get out of that quarantine bedroom mood, and then I started to realize that a podcast would be a better way to be able to really connect with people. TALK is meant to move the past conversation into deep thought and a source of inspiration helping listeners tap into the creative careers of their dreams.

        You have created such a strong vision that extends beyond your initial photo work into directing, producing, and art directing so many great projects? How do you see this podcast continuing that same feeling?

        TALK is more of subjournal into the BRAINFREEZE world. It’s a world I’ve been working on for so many years and the podcast is only just the beginning of it all. I’ve always been more of a hidden entrepreneur and only recently have I started letting people know I’m behind BRAINFREEZE. I’ve always created more of a mystery to help get projects rolling and get taken seriously in the world of production and creative consulting. It’s really sad how people never take anyone who does multiple jobs seriously so that was why I kept it all under the wraps, but not anymore. I feel so proud that I can do multiple jobs or things and it’s time the world knew about it. I want to be able to help others struggling to believe that they can also turn their dreams into plans, that’s what TALK is about.

        I totally agree it’s stigmatizing as fuck to be a multi hyphenate, as if you can in no way in hell be able to be good at more than one thing. I’m here like fuck you all I’m just trying to hustle for a buck. Who are the kinds of guests that we can expect to hear from in the future, do they match a similar multidisciplinary back ground?

        Season 1 of TALK has a lot of multidisciplinary artists from an editor in chief of a fashion magazine to poet book publisher to costume designer to a film director to vfx editor in the industry. I’m keeping the guest list a surprise 😉 tune in every Tuesday for the new episode on Spotify, Apple music and all that jazz!

        The Solo Journey Experience | Ojai

        If you’re itching to get out of L.A. alone for 24 hours, here are firsthand tips on how to plan a solo overnight trip (if you’re looking for a zen recharge)

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        From the closet to the bar get to know more about the creative multi tasking the gay clubs

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        9 Biographies for the Fashion Minded

        There is a certain sense of purity in the amount of matter of factness that is taken into clothing, fashion, and shopping habits. We do live in the age where sensory deprivation and Internet shopping reign supreme an era where whimsy can come off as trite and ugly can...

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        9 Biographies for the Fashion Minded

        9 Biographies for the Fashion Minded

        There is a certain sense of purity in the amount of matter of factness that is taken into clothing, fashion, and shopping habits. We do live in the age where sensory deprivation and Internet shopping reign supreme an era where whimsy can come off as trite and ugly can be honest too. Fashion by nature is frivolous though the act of not caring is in itself a dictation of style. Isn’t the most convoluted futurist Rick Owens offering as valid in linear narrative as the regular jo evoking mumblecore realness? Regardless  these garment live an endless sea of poetic expressions that at some point steer into pure unadulterated commerce.

        We like to always stay out of the box and apart from the status quo as most of us are in figuring and navigating function and form through the lines of digital capabilities. There are times when I look into the past from the sociological standpoint and question what is the reasons a reflection or reaction to the times. Where does fashion form to dictate the editorial directions which are then consumed and processed. With that rant here are some memoirs and biographies which have been a great source of inspiration and show the entire depths of the humanity of fashion players.

        Chiffon Trenches – André Leon Talley

        One of the more salacious biographies of fashion to get dropped last year, this book contains all the needs of 70s and 80s era hedonism via Paris, New York. Tally reached into his humble upbringing with a goddess grandmother as well as the King Kaiser Karl Lagerfeld during his time at Chloe into Chanel. Though this book truly portrays a man deeply devoted to fashion, the sense on loyalty seems tragic as the separation of garment and identity is lost to the Vogue ins and outs of the fashion set. Names dropped include the fore-mentioned Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, Anna Wintour, and Diana Vreeland. Also note the subtle shade towards Edward Enninful. Check out the last interview Andre Leon Talley did for Vogue’s Met Gala before being replaced by Liza Koshy. Buy it here.

        The Woman I Wanted To Be – Diane Von Furstenberg

        The thought of Diane von Furstenberg’s clothing has been essential in the cultural understanding of American sportswear. Her wrap dresses have been a constant standard of what the American woman would look like in the romanticize vision of metropolitan New York City life. This book offers up that and so much more as she delves into her familial past and family tree, traversing her mothers experiences of World War II and into her own Studio 54 era, marrying into aristocracy and becoming the prototypical fashion Girl-Boss. Beyond all the glamour and star studded shout outs in this memoir, the book offers more on the construction of culture and business as she moves through fashion, love, cosmetics, loss, cancer, family, and entrepreneurship. J’adore this throw back interview! Buy It Here.

        Grace: A Memoir – Grace Coddington

        Another title could have been “Anything for the picture!” A fascinating biography which shares the decorated and poetic life of Grace Coddington, the unsung hero of Vogue. The book highlights her deeply romantic journeys along side the consistent battle to attain creative autonomy. This book serves as a great launching point for anyone looking not to compromise their vision as well as proposes the glamour of the era of company cards and extended exotic trips for fashion. A must for those who thrive in pushing for a subversive stance in the creative industry. Her transition from model to editorial expresses so much more to be understood in the existence of being more than just a clothes hanger. This book though dusted with a heft of A list names really focuses on the creative auteurs which have been launched and cultivated by Coddington. Buy it Here

        Loulou & Yves: The Untold Story of Loulou de La Falaise and the House of Saint Laurent 

        –  Christopher Petkanas 

        Can we think of the 70’s era Saint Laurent woman without the tailored androgyny of Betty Catroux and the ultimate Rive Gauche haute bohémienne Loulou de la Falaise. A well-designed oral history featuring all the various bitchy drama we need from the compiled interviews spanning her eccentric upbringing by model/mother/muse Maxime de la Falaise, her time bordering NY Warholian trenches to London’s scene with Ossie Clark and ultimately her time molding Saint Laurent. The book features a lush depiction of sex, drugs and haute couture funneled through the eras’s bohemian party girl from Aristocratic beauty to her last days. The tragic nature of her story is not so cautionary but embraced as a life well lived and is well blanketed in the mystique of gossip as well as the smoke and anything goes attitude from Club Sept. Argh we just want to be drunk and on opium to be in this reenacted room with Léa Seydoux as Loulou in her turban glory, and Gaspard Ulliel as YSL is quite yum.  Buy it here.

        Walking with the Muses: A Memoir – Pat Cleveland

        The dancing queen, Halston and Stephen Burrows muse, the model who redefined the way models move on the runway, Pat Cleveland’s glittering life shimmers in this book which features all the drama of New York to Paris. So a forever light in fashions often dark scene, the book begins with Cleveland’s upbringing in the creative world her mother the artist Lady Bird Cleveland cultivates in Harlem to her initial discovery as a designer through Vogue and into her early career modeling with Essence through a reality shaking racist south. She offers heart breaking stories of racism and adversity which ultimately leads her to success in Europe aligning with Warhol before making it to iconic status in the states. Buy Here.  Watch this Show studio interview and do read in her voice

        Blow by Blow: The Story of Isabella Blow – Detmar Blow

        One of the most tragic stories to come out of fashion, with a glorious life that would eventually end in suicide, Isabella Blow is honored in this book by her husband Detmar. Her privilege and troubled upbringing sets the tone for a rebellious life which leads to a stylistic cultivation and savant like quality of picking up talent from Philip Treacy to her most bountiful discovery, Alexander McQueen. Though though the eccentric outfits of armor like couture and artful acquaintances were endless it was all to veil the mental illness and various troubles of the visionary editor. This Video Fashion Obit is such a mood  Buy it Here.

        D.V. – Diana Vreeland

        This is a playful and great book to have by the bed side as the ultimate fashion girl’s bedtime story. Each chapter is compiled as a surrealist experience presenting anecdotes and happenstances that seem all too good for reality.  Perhaps Diana simply lived a life of nonstop Kismet. Prolific moments include years spent around Chanel in the 20s, skipping out on the Nazis, her time at vogue and the Met as well as her beautiful youth surrounded by playful Demimondaine during La Belle Époque. Fun fact this scene from Funny Face “Think Pink” was inspired by Diana Vreeland. Buy the Book here.

        I’ll Never Write My Memoirs by Grace Jones

        Beyond being a model/musician and postmodern muse to Jean Paul Goude and generations of gay men, the singer/model/actress finally wrote her memoirs. The first half of the book is heavy in tone set to her upbringing in Jamaica aligned with Pentecostal family hell. An experience which possibly created the fierce persona that came to make Jones. Once liberated and unleashed onto New York City Grace begins a modeling career which steers into endless nights as a queen at disco haven Studio 54. Though ultimately her career as a model and musician would maturate and become well envisioned in Paris where her disco tracks were abandoned for the underground sounds of dub and new wave aligning with the Parisian elite. Most fascinating was her time with Issey Miyake which gave way to her posing and kabuki inflected performances. Please also enjoy the longform video, A One Man Show which she was nominated for a Grammy and so got robbed of. Purchase here.

        The Price Of Illusion by Joan Juliet Buck

        Possibly the best for last, this novel is a brilliant deconstruction of the fashion editors persona and mental state. Though jam packed with the editorial allure that made #BTSlife a starring aspect of editorial, Joan Juliet Buck’s novel posed more than the glitteratti which we so often use to escape reality. Her roots in old Hollywood are punctuated by legends who were mere family friends. Her love life was shown in a pace through ripples of male presences not to detract from the high stakes world of designers, Vogue and the endless fashion calendar. Opening with her firing ahead of the Prada show, the only American editor of Paris Vogue philosophical unraveling came as she knew her opinion would not matter. The most self affirming part of this book for anyone who is or wants to be involved in fashion comes towards the end as the author finds true happiness in community and the sobriety from a lifelong addiction to Vogue. Can we also enjoy the authors turn as an actress in 2009 Julia & Julia.   Buy it now

        The Solo Journey Experience | Ojai

        If you’re itching to get out of L.A. alone for 24 hours, here are firsthand tips on how to plan a solo overnight trip (if you’re looking for a zen recharge)

        Rico Starr | Gogo’s Entrepreneur

        From the closet to the bar get to know more about the creative multi tasking the gay clubs

        Dana Boulos | Talk By Brainfreeze

        The hidden entrepreneur gets vocal with her latest podcast Talk by BRAINFREEZE.

        9 Biographies for the Fashion Minded

        There is a certain sense of purity in the amount of matter of factness that is taken into clothing, fashion, and shopping habits. We do live in the age where sensory deprivation and Internet shopping reign supreme an era where whimsy can come off as trite and ugly can...

        Ty Joseph | Social Connecting

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        Natura | Lumina

        Every blonde deserves a fortifying treatment that will keep you brassless and malleable

        Bertie Body | Back To Bath Rituals

        Get to know the Australian brand brings sexy bath, with soul, scent, and marine collagen.

        Dine in Design : Spring 2021 Shopping Guide

        Restaurants are open for dining, spring time is in the air, there’s a cutie looking towards us, what shall we wear?

        ZARA FLORA | Don’t Call It Ikebana

        Get to know the journalist who took on a quarantine hobby and launched a successful side gig in floral arrangements informed by architecture, art, and getting back to nature

        Natura | Lumina

        Natura | Lumina

        Historic access to purple shampoo has always led to smelling like a granny, someone else’s granny, someone else’s granny you wouldn’t really care for. In the right circumstances can be quite attractive when lingering with a touch of chain smoked cigarettes. On the opposite spectrum hyper techno futurist packaging of some brands offer up chemical dreams of Blade Runner 2049, a bit too severe and zero chills.

        Whats a platinum with some ambition to take over the world and dirty blonde sensibilities to do? Hit up Natura Brasil’s Lumina range which is here to solve with Pró-Teia Biotechnology.  The product repairs hair inside out while also taking into consideration various hair textures. Where the hair market has catered to blondes of the granny and grunge leanings, sometimes a platinum would like a touch of nature after extended hour of processing, an area all too lacking, earthy vegan products aren’t only for our honey blonde cousins.

        The technology that is behind this range is a derived from studies on spider webs and cultivated with plant proteins which gives hair that additional support, 5x the strength while knocking out that brass. This hair system range coupled with the Dry Hair Instant Repair Ampoule makes for an amazing hair experiences. Combined they go into overdrive allowing a healthy hair experience that is malleable to textures while also able to hold. If any thing this can give you that beachy blonde shag with out all the salty dangers.

        The Solo Journey Experience | Ojai

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        BERTIE BODY – A clear mind can only take you so far. Exhausted of the hustle and endless parade of city life, Roberta Schmidt of bertie body found that after a long day bathing rituals and balneotherapy reinvigorated her and gave her the ultimate source of solace and recharge. “It’s really been a passion of mine for a long time and originally I became aware of the transformative power of baths whilst living in London.”

        Moving back to Australia she found herself starting her own project infusing superfoods and plant medicine into the bathing process. She mentioned a daunting thought, “Being the largest organ, our skin and dermal layers intake and uptake so many vitamins and nutrients.” With a range that includes four products including The Witches Brew (Pink), The Detox Cutis Cleanse (Green), The Biome Balancing Probiotic (White), The Youth Tonic (Blue). The range spans ingredients including CBD and probiotics. We took up the chance to ask her about this range that is at once soothing, holistic, as well as aesthetically aligned to the current tapestry of psychedelia through the ages. 

        What was your sampling process in getting the right ingredients together as well as the scent range?

        My sampling process was simply in my own bath time. This is a project which was really born out of love, and the need for the bathing ritual so I just started playing around with different flowers and oils. I was also sick of buying sub-par products in all honesty and thought people could benefit from the product. In terms of exact oils, I have my favorite scents and it was intuitive when picking one with different properties for each of the 4 types. It really helps to know what benefits each different oil or plant are imbued with in order to place things together in a recipe. For example, the anti-inflammatory effects of Frankincense.

        Has moving back to Australia informed the type of ingredients, did you source locally or get any inspiration from Asian bathing culture like in Japan?

        Great question BJ. I have always looked to other cultures for bathing and sauna inspiration, as I really feel drawn to the way other cultures integrate these rituals into their practices. Not only are the spaces such as Turkish Ottoman hammams and Japanese Onsens visually beautiful, but they serve such a great purpose to society. In terms of the ingredients, they are not limited to Australia, such as butterfly pea flowers which are predominantly south-east asian; but on a broader level my love of nature and natural therapies really does stem back to growing up around a lot of nature and really feeling connected to the plants and animals around me here. Growing up that way really helps you feel a familiarity and connection to these things.

        Your imagery is so potent I feel often times many brands avoid to confront the city life and instead go into an escapist route, how did these images come together? 

        Thank you. The black and white shots of me in the bath were my first official BB imagery, and were shot by my talented friend Natalia Parsonson. The rest are all taken by myself. I feel like I just create potent and honest photos, it’s a projection of who I am. Why pretend to be a certain way, stick to a ‘trend’ or play small? I want people as a society to get real and stop the masquerade.. It’s more fun and it’s a life ethos for me. I want real people with real thoughts, feelings and emotions in my orbit and I want to encourage this beauty in the world. That’s what the bertie body brand is. Unpretentious, real and potent. Anything but conformist or projecting something inauthentic.

        The colors are a wonderful detail which set your salts apart from the neutral colors in the market, how did you decide to take this route in the brand identity?

        I actually don’t explicitly remember, it just seemed intuitive to do it this way. Aesthetics are important for me and I think realistically for contemporary society as a whole. All things should be beautiful and functional! I hope to continue on my colourful escapades in the next range too.

        The use of marine collagen is so fascinating, what is it exactly and how did you discover it for your line?

        Collagen aids everything from your digestion and gut healing, to your joints and ligaments, as well as skin rejuvenation and anti-wrinkle benefits. Collagen is the fibrous protein constituent of bones, cartilage tendons and connective tissue. While you can eat plant based foods which may help ‘boost’ collagen production, you cannot find ‘vegan’ collagen products. The Marine Collagen I use is a pure form of hypoallergenic protein produced from krill. Typically, marine derived products such as Krill, fish skins or bones remaining from food production are thoroughly washed, then hydrolyzed by an acid and a food grade enzyme to yield marine collagen peptides, which have a low molecular weight for easy digestion and absorption.

        Chances are, any of the collagen products you have in your cupboard are either bovine or fish derived, however although not vegan these products are sustainable in the sense that they allow for the use of the entire animal. I actually discovered collagen a long time ago through drinking broths. My mother was a consistent fountain of wealth when it came to nutritional knowledge and a huge advocate for brain and skin food, funnelling benefits and uses of everything we ate into my brain from a young age. I guess this is most of the reason I find nutrition & wellness so intuitive.

        Photographs Courtesy of bertie body

        For more on bertie body visit http://bertiebody.co/

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