The World Is Your Canvas

It’s like a dream, inside a dream, inside a dream.

2020 was a challenging year on many accounts.

We returned from Jade Retreat in Nosara, Costa Rica on March 15th, 2020 in Newark, NJ, and were welcomed into customs by the CDC, an awakening of our new reality. Toilet paper was now a commodity.

On the beach in Costa Rica - The World Is Your Canvas - A Trip to Jade Retreat in Costa Rica

Highlights:
– My mother turned 90. She still plays pickleball and is an inspiration to all — we are blessed.
– My two boys have managed to navigate and adapt to us all living under one roof — we do argue over wifi speed and Xbox.

– I got engaged to the most incredible man in St. Barths on Bastille Day. The fireworks in the night sky confirmed that timing is everything.

2020 was spent taking daily walks in the Brandywine Valley, playing a lot of tennis, and cooking and eating a lot of healthy food. We had a small but beautiful Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family and Rhys, my mother’s first great-grandson. It was a time of pure joy and love.

The day after Christmas we were fortunate enough to return to Jade Retreat with another family: 5 teens and 3 adults. Jade is located in a blue zone, a destination where the energy feels pure: the perfect place to reset.

I have never been great at meditating. As anyone that knows me will tell you — I have a hard time sitting still. But I have learned this year that meditation can actually make you happier. According to a fascinating article about mindful eating via The Well, research has shown that daily meditation can shift brain activity toward positive emotional states…that make us more likely to engage with the world rather than to withdraw from it.

 

Watching the kids unwind at sunset the first night was all I needed to know the week was going to be the perfect medicine for all of us. We woke up to tennis, surf lessons, zip lines, quad tours, fresh coconuts, and daily walks in the jungle and on the beach. There are no words to describe how great it felt to watch them all unwind and start to relax.

My dear friend Cindy Pettinaro wanted to give back to the community. She took all the kids to the local grocery store and handed out chicken, rice and beans to 10 families. Seeing the smiles and feeling the love was priceless.


Watching everyone reset from the past year was like a dream, inside of a dream.  The first Jade ping pong tournament, laughing, learning how to open a coconut with a machete, seeing monkeys, practicing Spanish, and learning how to make beans and rice with Mau. It reminded us all to appreciate the simple things and to be mindful.

Just breathe. I am grateful for my family and friends.

x, Carroll

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Boss Lady: Gabrielle Mandel

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we talk to Gabrielle Mandel. Gabrielle is the owner and creator of Supra Endura, an arts and accessories collection designed to incorporate color, modern prints, and joy into everyday life.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your career.
I grew up in a suburb outside of Philadelphia. Growing up I was always really curious and creative. I studied fashion design at Syracuse University and for the last 12 years, I have been working as a designer in the fashion and home industry. I started Supra Endura about six years ago, it is an art and accessories brand for a creative life.

2. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
Running my own brand and doing freelance work on other brands keeps me energized and thinking about new things. I always like to try new ideas with my art and see what different directions I can push it in.

3. Your scarves are gorgeous and the tutorial for how to style them is super helpful! How did you land on creating scarves and encouraging wearable art in general?
I have a background in fashion design and when I first launched my brand I designed seasonal women’s wear collections. That was really hard to pull off as a solo entrepreneur so I made the transition to accessories and homeware, this was a bit easier and I did not have to reinvent the silhouettes each season.

4. We think it’s awesome that you donate a portion of your proceeds for every product sold. Why is giving back important to you?
I wanted to give back. As I worked more in the industry I began to better understand the negative effects of the fashion industry: material waste, pollution, rampant consumerism, unrealistic beauty expectations. I feel that giving $1 back for the items I sell to a cause that I believe in is a small way to counteract some of these negative actions.

5. What draws you in about Cool Effect and how did you choose them as your selected nonprofit to partner with?
Since I make some of my products overseas and with the pandemic, I was shipping a lot of my items so I wanted to work with a non-profit that helped to fight carbon emissions and worked on projects to end global warming. Also this year I did end up donating a lot to Philabundance as well, to help families in need during this tough time.

6. What sparked the idea to start a creative podcast?
I love podcasts; I love listening to long-form dialogues with people I admire. I felt there were so many inspiring people around me and I wanted to share the conversations I was having with them with a larger audience.

7. Share one piece of advice for a budding creative!
Just keep going. Give yourself time and space to explore your idea. Don’t be afraid to try something out of your comfort zone. We are all afraid of failure but don’t let that fear keep you from something that could change your life.

8. Who is a Boss Lady who inspires you and why?
I know so many awesome boss ladies who are killing it, but one I have deep admiration for is Antoinette Marie Johnson. I had never met her and e-mailed her on a lark to see if she would be on my podcast, I interviewed her and it was amazing, she blew me away with all she has accomplished. Since then it has been so great to watch her grow her marketing agency Cohere and her other amazing businesses. You can click here to listen to the podcast.

Just for fun…
My favorite color at the moment is: I like so many colors but I end up using Ochre a lot
Tea or Coffee? Tea! I can’t drink coffee it makes me very jittery
My favorite creative medium: lol, Photoshop?
Song I’m currently loving: a few: Walter Murphy – A fifth of Beethoven, Dirty projector – Overlord, Nilufer Yanya – In your head—- so good!
To me, self-care means: Self-care is listening to yourself and your body and understanding when you need to take a break and nurture yourself. I don’t think you have to spend money on products to make you feel like you are taking care of yourself. For me, self-care is a walk, taking a bath or a shower, eating healthy, and trying to get enough sleep.

More on Gabrielle
Website | Instagram | Facebook

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The Monthly Round-Up

Adorn Goods and our team have collaborated to launch a welcoming and intuitive ecommerce site! We’re so excited to be working with them to bring their thoughtful and delicious goods directly into your home. On the site you’ll find a shopping experience focused on blending the old with the new, antique with contemporary, mixing beauty and community.

We’re looking forward to working with Jill Bauer on a new project…but we can’t tell you very much yet! You may have seen Jill on QVC and The TODAY Show; she’s also a lifestyle expert, documentarian, and author…just to name a few of her incredible achievements. The Social Stylate team is beyond excited to welcome Jill into our group and can’t wait to see and share what we can do together!

New Client Alert! Introducing Beauty Little Secret. We’re so excited to join the BLS Beauty Tribe and help their team build the brand’s online presence. We recently launched their revamped website where they offer a curated selection of luxury beauty products and sell them at seriously discounted prices!

Our co-founder, Lauren Golt, wrote an article for Out & About Magazine featuring Wilmington’s hit pop-up Christmas bar, Blitzen. Lauren interviewed fashion illustrator and visual director Dallas Shaw, who (for the second year running) brought to life Blitzen’s den, giving us an engaging and personal look into the reindeer’s life outside of Santa’s roll call.

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Boss Lady: Ashley Breeding

Ashely Breeding brick wall white button down top
Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we talk to Ashley Breeding. Ashley is the Executive Editor at Delaware Today Magazine, an award-winning lifestyle magazine for the Delaware community.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your career.
I started out in my 20s as a community staff reporter for the Los Angeles Times, and learned quickly that I was more interested in writing about arts and culture than hard news. I became an entertainment reporter—covering music, film festivals, art exhibitions, that sort of thing—and realized I would have more creative flexibility working for a magazine, where I could also have a hand in photography and layout. I’ve now been with four different publishing companies, where I’ve worked on over 30 different titles that include custom magazines and books. I came to Delaware Today about a year and a half ago as the senior editor and became executive editor in May.

2. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
Ultimately, I’m always striving to become a better writer, to find a voice. I’ll reread something I wrote five years ago—or even several months ago—and cringe. It’s a constant work in progress. Sunny spaces, good coffee and the company of creative people also keep me motivated and engaged.

3. What topics are you most passionate about covering at the moment?
It depends on the day. Variety—experiencing new places, people, ideas—has always been the draw of this job. I don’t do well with routine or monotony. For this reason, I love travel writing, but it’s not something I’m doing as much now that I’m a mom and more settled. Having lived in an area of Southern California that was vulnerable to crises like drought and fires, climate change was and remains an important focus. In general, it’s my belief that as a publication that serves to influence people’s decision-making day to day, we have a responsibility to encourage more sustainable living. In a luxury lifestyle market, that means showing that you can enjoy the finer things in life while still supporting the environment and fair business practices. And where the two conflict, what’s more important?

4. Share a bit about your writing process. For example, do you have specific music or rituals you need in order to focus?
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Dolly Parton, but that’s because I have a 4-year-old at home whose favorite song at the moment is “Jolene.” The days she’s at school, it’s mostly Dylan or The Lumineers. And nothing happens until after I’ve had an espresso. Sometimes two.

5. How have you adapted to the evolving COVID-19 regulations?
Our staff has been working remotely since March. I know this time has been incredibly difficult for a lot of people, especially parents, but I find I am more productive when I can make my own hours. Taking breaks during the day—whether it’s coffee with a friend or a hike with my daughter or just 15 minutes of sunshine—is essential to keeping my energy high. I don’t think we’re meant to sit inside four walls all day. That does not inspire creativity.

6. Share one piece of advice you have for an aspiring writer or editor.
Find a profession and pursue freelance writing until you’re firmly established in your career. That said, unbiased, hard-hitting journalism is more important than ever, especially at the community level, so I admire anyone who dedicates themselves to the cause.

7. What are your career goals for the future?
It’s difficult to predict where any of us will be, because the news and magazine businesses are changing every day. My goal is to stay ahead of the curve. Despite ups and downs, it’s an exciting time to be in this industry.

8. Who is a Boss Lady who inspires you and why?
Any boss lady who juggles a demanding job, family and the proverbial pressures of just being a woman, and does it with humility and respect for others, is a hero in my book.

Just for fun…
If I wasn’t a writer/editor, I’d be
: A photographer.
East Coast or West Coast: That’s a tough one. They’re each magnificent in their own way.
Last book I read was: Am simultaneously reading Gloria Steinem’s “My Life on the Road” and Maggie Downs’ “Braver Than You Think.”
Favorite self-care technique: Massage, reiki, time in nature every day.
When I’m not working, I’m: Soaking up the joys of motherhood.

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