Being eco-chic and health conscious is super trendy right now. And that’s not a bad thing – but honestly, it’s not the best thing, either (I’ll let you read up on why HERE).
Just like with any trend, there emerges an elitist crowd preaching their perfectly manicured Instagram posts and power poses. It’s hip to be green – but the exclusiveness of the wellness world can sometimes be a turn-off to people who are curious, want to dip their toes in, but have no clue where to start. And let’s be honest, others making you feel guilty about that one bag of microwaved popcorn or two bottles of Corona is not the way to create habits that last in the long run.
I know. I’ve been there.
As much as I’ve tried, my skin just doesn’t have that dewy gleam reminiscent of jojoba oil and fairy dust – and many mornings I prefer to work out in the t-shirt I slept in the night before instead of my fancy stretchy mesh “athleisure” ensemble. I’m of the camp that thinks superfoods are super fab, but if your focus isn’t on eating enough healthy staples to begin with, there’s no amount of bee pollen that will catapult you into holistic glowy-ness. I curse accidentally, I snort when I laugh, and I’ve definitely eaten kettle corn for dinner more than once (being kind here) in my adult life. This doesn’t mean I’m not always striving to be the very best and most vibrant self I can be.
It’s people like Ashlee Piper that feed my curiosity to live more sustainably, eat more kindly, and all the while, make me feel okay being exactly who I am and where I’m at at this very point in time.
Ashlee Piper is, simply put, eco-badass at its finest. As the founder and Editor In Chief of The Little Foxes, Fashion Editor at Thoughtfully Magazine, TV personality and brand strategist, Ashley meets her readers and viewers exactly where they’re at and moves forward from there. She invites them into her ethically sound, cruelty free, vegan-fabulous lifestyle to join in where they see fit.
Ashlee’s not about forcing her ways onto anyone, but she is about living a conscious, compassionate, fearless life that helps everyone and everything around her rise and flourish.
Her tone is infectious, her knowledge is impressive, and her attitude is inclusive. She’s my go-to for living well with both class and sass. And I’m so thrilled she’s here sharing her wisdom here today – everything from body image and apologizing to effing the fear and reclaiming the good.
NAME: Ashlee Piper
HOW YOU’D KNOW ME: Editor-in-Chief at The Little Foxes, columinist for Refinery29 and other outlets, Creative Director, Fashion Editor at Thoughtfully Magazine, TV personality, and brand strategist dealin’ with all things vegan, cruelty-free, eco-friendly, and minimalist.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT MYSELF (AND WHY): Isn’t it funny that even when presented with this question, I start to demure my initial impulse of answers? I love that I’m fearlessly friendly, and generally courageous.
I’ve left lucrative careers without a net, moved cross-country on a whim, set up roots in new places without knowing anyone, stopped a busy 6-lane highway to save a rabbit that had been hit by a car. I try to live life following my inner compass of what feels right and damn, living like that can be scary and exhilarating and requires getting comfortable with the unknown.
I love other things about myself, too, but I think the element of moxie in my life has really brought the most magic and passion into my days.
WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF “POSITIVITY?” It’s like a muscle. Being positive when things are going smoothly is pretty dang easy. Staying optimistic when the shit hits the fan is way more difficult, and something I’m always working on. It requires strength to redirect your thoughts, courage to trust that the challenges will pass and are leading to something infinitely better, lightness of being to laugh it off and know that tomorrow is a new day, and a solid sense of the bigger picture (which I certainly struggle with at times).
WHEN DID YOU START TO LOVE YOURSELF – DID YOU HAVE A SELF-LOVE “TURNING POINT?” I think this is an ever-evolving process for me (and likely everyone else, too?). I started understanding myself better when I turned 31. I left my 10-year, established career to explore what contributions I could make in the animal rights field, and it was through those challenges of redefining and getting back in touch with who I was and what I stood for that really helped me see and appreciate myself.
Doing television has also been a constantly changing lesson in accepting and loving myself. TV’s not the most forgiving medium and watching my segments has made me more appreciative of myself.
As far as a turning “point” goes – I guess I’ve had none and many, if that makes sense. Every relationship or business dealing where I haven’t felt appreciated or acknowledged has certainly acted as a mini turning point, helping me to get a better sense of what I want and deserve.
HOW/WHERE NEGATIVE TALK SHOWS UP IN MY LIFE: Oh, everywhere. I, like most people, can be extremely tough on myself. So, even if I give something my all or do something well, I have to combat that impulse to find fault in the littlest things.
WHEN I TALK NEGATIVELY ABOUT MYSELF, IT’S USUALLY… About how I look or something I’ve done that didn’t pan out the way I planned or hoped. Instead of accepting that, hey, sometimes you can give something your all and people still might not want to hire you, book you on their show, give you a shot at writing an article, etc, I can tend to personalize it. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become better about understanding that life is more about showing up, giving it your best, and adapting to the outcome; and the pride isn’t necessarily in the outcome, but in the endeavoring.
WHEN OTHERS TALK NEGATIVELY ABOUT THEMSELVES… I try to acknowledge their feelings, but then build them up. Sometimes logic works remarkably well to show people the reality of their situation. Like, the unpacking of “But look what’s working here” helps to take the weight out of something relatively small that has somehow wormed its way and taken center stage in someone’s thoughts.
IT BAFFLES ME THAT WOMEN STILL… Apologize all the damn time. That’s something I’m really working on – ridding my dialogue of unnecessarily apologetic language. I mean, a legit apology when merited is always a good thing, but we demure on everything; it’s been ingrained in us from a young age.
I read a great article about how women need to stop using the word “just” – as in “I just wanted to circle back on this” in a work conversation, etc. We’ve been taught to qualify our statements and it’s completely unnecessary. We’re here, we’re valid, we have rockin’ ideas and the wherewithal to execute on them, and there’s no need to be preemptively sorry about that. And you know what else? We’re human. We’re allowed to make freaking mistakes. I don’t know why women’s mistakes are so often weighted more heavily than those of men.
I WISH THAT MORE WOMEN… Boldly acknowledged and promoted their achievements and the achievements of others. Since when is it a boastful thing for someone to humbly say, “I did a damn good job” or, “I’m proud of myself”? I think once we begin to acknowledge our own greatness, we can also effectively see it in others without feeling threatened.
THE COOLEST THING ABOUT WOMEN IS… Our resilience.
MY FAVORITE WAY TO SHIFT A NEGATIVE INTO A POSITIVE: Gratitude. It changes perspective, gets the good energy flowing, and shows us the reality of abundance that we’re all living. When I’m feeling blah or not enough, I write down everything I’m grateful for until I feel better.
MY TOP FEMALE ROLE MODELS: Ann Richards (she’s probably my favorite of all time. So smart, so southern, so sassy, so charming, and so damn effective), Elizabeth Warren, Nawal El Saadawi, Sandra Bullock, Amelia Earhart, Diane Von Furstenberg, Cate Blanchett, Betty White, Mary Kay Ash, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Holmes, Oprah Winfrey – I could seriously go on all day.
MEN CAN HELP WOMEN CRUSH THEIR NEGATIVE TALK PATTERS BY… Supporting us and providing opportunities for us to continue to rock the world. We’re all in this together and let’s face it, we can all afford to be kinder, more generous, more supportive of one another.
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FAVORITE NEGATIVITY-BUSTING ACTIVITY: There are quite a few – chatting with family or friends; cuddling my dog; taking a jog outside; listening to a killer playlist; making out with someone adorable; gratitude; getting all dolled up with no particular place to go.
Also, for a both physical and symbolic reasons, I find exfoliation totally satisfying. I get into the shower, scrub my dry skin with something gritty and fabulous smelling, and rinse off. It’s like a metaphor for shaking away the bad and making way for the good. You feel brand new.
FAVE SELF-LOVE RITUAL: I come from a long line of women who use a hot bath as a nightly ritual. It’s such a part of my life that a bathtub (preferably claw foot) is my #1 request when looking for apartments. I get the essential oils, candles, and a good book going and immediately feel more balanced.
FAVORITE FEEL-GOOD FOOD(S): Avocado toast; Vegan Mac and Cheese; Some kind of wonderful homemade soup or bisque; Pasta with pesto; there’s a bakery in Dallas, Texas that makes these unbelievable vegan kolaches. If I lived nearby, those might top the list of comfort food binges.
FAVORITE MOVIES(S) TO WATCH WHEN I’M FEELING DOWN: Elizabeth; Cinderella (I have no shame for my mega-love for the new live-action one. It’s so pretty and SO GOOD); Never Been Kissed; Legally Blonde (works every single freakin’ time).
FAVORITE EMPOWERING BOOK(S): You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero; Anything by Tony Robbins or Victoria Moran. And anything on minimalism – less stuff = freedom.
MY FEEL-GOOD PLAYLIST: Here it is on Spotify!
ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY…
- …4 year-old self: Stay as kind and inquisitive as you naturally are. People will tell you you’re “too sensitive,” but that is exactly what makes you wonderful and will lead you to your passion for righting injustice.
- …14 year-old self: Learn to love your body beyond size and weight on your own terms. I spent so much of my teens allowing bullies’ and boys’ opinions of me (which were usually negative because I was chubby, flat-chested, with braces, and a bawdy attitude to defend against criticism) to define who I believed I was, which led to me inwardly hating myself and medicating with food on the daily.
- …24 year-old self: Fuck the fear. Of people, relationships, loneliness, bosses, love, travel, of things not going according to plan, doing something wrong, making a mistake, misspeaking, things beyond your control – all of it. I’ve always been brave, but spent a good amount of my life making bold moves with fear in my heart. I now see that fear in most instances was completely ridiculous and just sapped the joy and confidence from the experiences.
5 THINGS, PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL, ON MY BUCKET LIST:
- Write a book on minimalist and eco-lifestyle.
- Be a regular correspondent on a national TV show (Ellen, hook it up!).
- Have my own national eco-lifestyle TV talk show.
- Meet my match and have/adopt children and animals like whoa.
- Run for and win a national political office where I can rep animal-, people-, and planet-friendly policies while wearing awesome pantsuits and a serious bold lip.
MY BEST TIP ON SELF LOVE: Remember that however you are feeling in the very moment, everyone feels that way sometimes. Even the most seemingly beautiful, together, accomplished, mega-Instagram-followers person combats feelings of failure, doubt, inadequacy, fugliness, etc.
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This really hit me when I was speaking at an event just this past weekend and this incredible woman – someone whom I’ve admired from afar for years – told me upon meeting when I said, “Oh man, you do so much. You’re such an inspiration” that she “felt like a failure.” This incredible, bright beacon of a person feels like a failure, too sometimes!
So, yeah, you’re not alone and you’re allowed to feel the bad, but it is your responsibility to get up and out of those feelings and reclaim the good. And gratitude really does work wonders to help anyone regain perspective on how we’re all living really freaking charmed lives.
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WHEN I TRULY LOVE ALL OF MYSELF… Life feels electric. I’m fearless. I walk taller and smile brighter. I’m more generous because I’m feeling and totally believe in the abundance of the universe. I have an endless reservoir of ideas and energy. I’m less likely to be mired down by the minutiae and bullshit and soar above to keep that good feeling going. When I truly love myself, I am better at loving others, accepting things for what they are, and everything feels possible.
RIGHT NOW, I AM MOST EXCITED ABOUT… upcoming TV segments and speaking opportunities and the book I’m working on. I never quite know what’s around the corner, but I always anticipate something good.
THREE WORDS TO DESCRIBE ME: Ebullient, intuitive, compassionate.
CURRENT MANTRA: Be Heroic. My father has said this to me throughout my life and I absolutely love it. It always fills me up and gives me strength.
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