The universe works in veryyyyyy mysterious ways I must say! But nothing is random!
A few months ago, I got a tag on Instagram from the She Only Lives Once Insta (@sheonlylivesonce), a repost of my Venice photo. I was beyond flattered that this super dope blog would shout me out like that! Long story short, I reached out, and the rest has been history in regards to my relationship with the SOLO gals.
Not only are both Ryan and Erica (the founders) major babes (these pics had me jaw drop) but they are doing it all - balancing work, play and creating an amazing community of women that encourage, support and uplift one another! Reading this interview I truly felt like I connected to so many things they talk about!
One of my favorite's examples of SOLO's badass-ness is the SOLO #SheForShe campaign:
SOLO's #SheForShe campaign is an intimate interview series showcasing the voices of female bloggers, entertainers and entrepreneurs.
In an effort to disrupt the social media façade, SOLO’s #SheForShe campaign asks influencers to talk candidly about the obstacles they’ve faced in their own lives, while also providing their best career + confidence boosting advice with their female fans and followers.
The best, right?
Girl crush basically.
Since that fateful Instagram day, we've been basically been virtual lovers/pals. It just so happens that Ryan, one of the writers, also knows a good friend of mine, and they both live in Santa Monica! So we're connected in a few different ways.
What I love as much as the SOLO gals, is the mission:
I feel like there are so many positive (and negative) opportunities availability everyday related to social media and the internet. It's a choice to either make it positive and lovely, supporting and uplifting or negative and troll filled. You get what you give, basically.
To see girls spreading positivity and helpful insights/advice/tips is #shitilike
Without further adieu, an interview with our SOLO babes:
Tell me about your blog and what its mission is:
RB: SOLO is about empowerment and authenticity— carving your own path, exploring your strengths, and being willing to learn and grow from the women around you.
We live in a socially obsessed society, and women are becoming more self-conscious than ever. We are conflicted by pressures to look good, feel great, and make more money, while wanting to do what we love, travel, and make a difference in the world.
Erica and I get it. We grapple with these pressures on a daily basis, and we know how difficult it is to manage it all. That’s why with SOLO, we not only want to provide content that speaks to the interests of the modern day woman (health, fitness, travel, entertainment, etc.), but also help readers find balance, build strength, and develop greater self-confidence as well.
What can readers expect when reading your blog?
RB: A few things about me: I was a Journalism major (I also took a TON of women gender studies courses), I worked as a weight loss consultant for two years, and I’ve spent a lot of time working in events and experiential marketing. I now manage events and business development for a boutique catering company called Urban Palate. So because of my background, experience and interests, the majority of my posts are related to health, fitness, self-care, and career tips.
EK: I’m originally from Michigan, lived in Chicago for a couple years and recently made my way out to LA. My professional background has mostly involved working with the collegiate audience: developing internship programs, college ambassador programs and providing career advice. I currently work for Neato: a collegiate marketing agency based in Santa Monica.
I’ve always had an interest in the bigger picture of life: helping others find their passion and their “calling.” These interests helped lead to SOLO, where I’m primarily focused on creating posts in the realm of health and spirituality.
In addition to our own posts, we will also share interviews from a range of successful entrepreneurs (“Solopreneurs”) and influencers (“#SheForShe”) – so that readers can get advice from women who have created their own unique paths to success!
Can you tell me more the rationale behind your mission? (which I LOVE)
RB: So glad you love it! ☺
Basically, we want to encourage women to focus less on how their life APPEARS to be—less time comparing themselves to other women—and more time developing their confidence, exploring their interests, and figuring out how to make their mark in this world.
We believe that when we nurture our MIND, BODIES and SOULS, we become stronger individuals and more effective leaders. With a greater sense of self, we will better be able to stand up for ourselves and command respect and our rights around the world.
What events brought you to a place where you had the realization that SOLO was something you wanted to do?
RB: I left a full-time, salaried career that had at one point been my “dream job,” because I’d become completely stressed out, anxious, and unhappy along the way. I started writing about my decision to quit, as well as the ups and downs of making a career transition, and I started getting really great feedback to my writing. I regularly began writing for Career Contessa and had articles picked up by Levo League and Refinery29 (which was insanely exciting!). Shortly after, I won a writing contest to write for Kaitlynn Carter’s blog, “The Western Wild,” and began blogging for Simply Stylist as well.
The more I wrote openly and honestly about my struggles, the more I realized that women crave content that touches on fear, doubt and insecurity, and I realized that my stories could help other women struggling to find balance in their personal and professional lives.
Around this same time, Erica was facing overwhelming stress in her full-time job, and had begun meditating, and exploring her spirituality. As an outlet for her stress, she decided she wanted to start a blog herself (originally called “Soul Motion”), and she ended up reaching out to me to see if I’d want to join forces and start something together!
Our interests and observations aligned perfectly, and after several weekly meetings, SOLO was born!
Why is it so important for women to find true beauty, fulfillment, and success within themselves? How do you cultivate this in your life?
RB: Everyone has a unique definition of beauty, success and happiness. If we go around killing ourselves to impress others, just trying to fit into a perfect little box, we will always feel disappointed, and we will only feel more ALONE.
Instead, we have to figure out what drives us, excites us and makes us feel proud. We must fill our lives with people that add value, activities we’re passionate about, adventures and new experiences.
For me, this means maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including consistent weight training and a balanced diet, and spending my money on travel & experiences (I rarely shop). I fill my free time writing and creating strategy for SOLO, and, outside of spending time with my boyfriend (who I live with) I make sure to plan nights out with my girl friends, “date nights” with my sister, and to regularly call my family and friends back at home.
^^^ I say this ALL THE TIME. That I rarely shop. Truly! I spend the majority of my 'spending' money on travel and experiences, and found I am so much happier that way.
EK: For me, this means pure acceptance of one’s self. Once we accept every aspect of who we are, we’ll see true beauty, fulfillment and success in all parts of our life. After acceptance, we will make choices and decisions that will further contribute to our happiness, which is absolutely crucial! If we aren’t happy and fulfilled, we cannot bring more happiness and fulfillment into the universe. It has to start with us first.
I'm learning self-acceptance through the work of SOLO, reading & exploring new self-love methodologies, meditating, indulging in my spiritual side, listening to inspiring podcasts and constantly reminding myself to enjoy every moment with my fiancé, my pup Bo, and my beautiful friends and family. Every moment is a miracle!
What are your daily challenges?
RB: My biggest challenge is super cliché- but finding enough time for everything I want to get done in each day. I have so many goals for SOLO: so much that I want to write about, so many women I want to interview and collaborate with—but my current job takes up the majority of my time, and I have to be OK with pushing things forward slowly, taking it one step at a time (until the day that we can work on it full time!!).
EK: For me, it’s pretty similar. Because I’m working a full-time job, wedding planning (so exciting!) and evolving SOLO – it can be a lot to handle. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and so I constantly have to remind myself to take pride in where I’m at. We both have so much we want to accomplish with SOLO and we just have to take it day by day. Patience is key!
^^ Wedding! Cannot wait to see this! (heart eyes emoji)
Who are people that inspire you?
RB: Outside of my incredible sister & supportive friends – I’d call out my mom. She had me at 41, and she had a really adventurous, full life before settling down and starting a family. She’s always been the primary breadwinner in our household (she worked from home when we were little), and I’ve always admired her for that. She’s got the perfect blend of funny & smart – and I’m so grateful to have such a strong female figure in my life.
Otherwise, I really admire women who are unapologetically who they are, and whose success is a reflection of that fearlessness! I know it’s an eclectic mix, but I’m totally in awe of Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Oprah, Ellen, Michelle Obama and Emma Watson. (To name a few)…
EK: I admire women who embrace all aspects of their femininity—including vulnerability—because there is such strength in that. Namely, female leaders in our world who may not be as outspoken or loud, but who still make an impact. Women like Pema Chodron, Christy Turlington, Amber Valletta, Jessica Alba, Latham Thomas, Gabby Bernstein and Cassandra Bodzak to name a few.
My mom has always told me to follow my intuition, to listen to my inner voice, and to let my emotions show—even if that’s sadness or anger. The point is never to feel sorry or embarrassed to show how we are feeling in a specific moment, because it’s how we honestly feel. My mom has always been confident in who she is and what she wants for herself and her family. She is strong, emotional, beautiful, exposed and sensitive—and she’s completely unapologetic for it. She inspires me daily with her ability to stay true to herself and now that I’m in my late 20’s – I’m finally able to understand and appreciate this priceless advice.
Are there any moments where you feel exceptionally happy? Or exceptionally frustrated?
RB: I’m highly competitive with myself, and I get really frustrated when I don’t get as much done as I’d wanted to! But this is a part of the pressures our generation faces—the pressure to do it all, while having a million distractions coming at us from every angle.
I’m exceptionally happy whenever I get to spend quality time with my boyfriend, my family, and my gang of girlfriends! I’m also exceptionally happy to travel and whenever I feel like I’ve written a good article, or gotten through an eventful week of work.
What advice would you give to others who are starting out on their blog journey?
RB: You have to understand that people won’t know you for awhile, and that’s OK! Every “somebody” was a “nobody” first.
Because the bloggersphere is so saturated, it’s important that your message connects with people in a meaningful way, or that you’re showcasing a skill or a passion that is a reflection of who you uniquely are – not a knock off of somebody else.
Also be prepared for the time commitment! There are so many details that go into the aesthetics and content of your blog, so you must have patience, and understand that it’s a gradual process.
Finally, it’s very possible that you’ll need to work on your blog while still having a full time job. You are going to want to work on it all the time, but it takes time to make money as a blogger.
What's been one of the greatest gifts in your life?
RB: In recent years, I’d say my relationship. Meeting Thomas has changed my life in so many ways. We’ve been together for 5 ½ years, and we’ve really helped each other become stronger, more confident and more open-minded individuals. We each have so much left to accomplish, and I’m so excited about our future together!
EK: For me, it’s my fiancé, Brandon, and my bundle of joy, Bo (mini golden doodle). Having Bo reminds me to love every aspect of my life and to love hard. Dogs have the biggest hearts, with no judgment—and we should too! Brandon has been a part of my life for a little over three years now, and within those three years, he has shown me endless amounts of support, love and respect, which helps make our relationship so strong!
^^^^ collective AWWW. This right here - is the best.
I love the SOLO #SHEFORSHE campaign can you tell everyone about it, and it's mission?
RB: #SheForShe is an interview series, showcasing the voices of female bloggers, entertainers and entrepreneurs.
Wanting to disrupt the social media façade, we asked influencers to talk candidly about the obstacles and insecurities they’ve faced in their own lives, while also providing their best career and confidence boosting advice for our readers and their followers.
(Click HERE to read the interviews we’ve done so far!).
To coincide with their interview, each influencer posts a #SheForShe giveaway on IG—asking their followers to share compliments about their BFFs, in exchange for some awesome goodies that we got donated from BeautyKind, Tribe-Alive, UNCVRD, Philosophie and Urban Oreganics.
What's a personal goal you have each set for yourself?
RB: Looking onward to 2016, a big personal goal is to start meditating more regularly, and incorporate yoga into my fitness routine! I'd also like to make more time to read (that’s why I’m asking for a Kindle for XMAS!), and to become a more confident public speaker.
EK: I’d like to make “me” more of a priority and to focus on self-nourishment. In such a hustling world, it’s so easy to get caught up in the every day chaos and forget about our own health, needs, and what we need to feel 100%. It’s in my nature to put other’s I love and care for first, but in order to show up for our family and friends, we have to show up for ourselves first.
Are there any practices you do everyday? Like a morning ritual?
EK: I have a morning ritual that I absolutely love that includes early morning warm lemon water, followed by a 10-30 minute meditation practice (depending on how many times I push snooze! Ha!) and lastly some free journal writing. I also love to wine down after mu 9-5p with a yoga session or a quick run.
^^^^ Preach. The lemon water thing I need to make sure to keep up with, but the meditation and journaling, is SO KEY.
What's one thing that's happened to you (good or bad) that's changed your life?
RB: Quitting my job to do some soul searching and figure out my greater “purpose” in life. Because of that, last year was extremely emotional for me—but I’m so excited about where I’m at right now and SO happy that I listened to my gut and leapt into the unknown!
^^^ I love this.
EK: To be honest, I’d say the development of anxiety. Most would look at this as a bad thing, but it’s guided me even further into the spiritual realm and has led to meditation, which is one of my greatest passions.
^^^One of my favorite answers to a question, ever. it's amazing what beauty comes from challenges in life.
If you had to tell everyone in the world one message what would it be?
RB: If you want something you've never had, you have to do something you've never done. If you're unhappy - take it in your own hands to change your situation. If you have a big dream –break that down into goals that are achievable.
Find out what drives you and what excites you, and you’ll figure out how to make your mark in the world!
What's next for SOLO?
In addition to continuing to write articles and advice related to our own experiences, we can’t wait to feature more interviews and collaborations with interesting, smart and successful females (bulking up our #SheForShe and “Solopreneur” content segments).
In 2016, we are also excited to grow the SOLO community and build out our “SOLO Storyteller” group—which is full of ambitious women interested in being mentors & writing articles based on their experiences.
How can people connect with you?
We would absolutely love to hear from you! You can write us at firstname.lastname@example.org and interact with us on IG too! @sheonlylivesonce
If you’re a blogger or entrepreneur interested in a collaboration or feature, send us an email and CC email@example.com.
THE BEST RIGHT? I know, I know. I felt like I was responding in some of these answers. Like about anxiety, meditation, finding your dream career....it's lovely to see other likeminded babes in the world doing their part.
Loving this - feeling good going into the holidays guys! I would LOVE to know your thoughts on social media today, creating a community, the evolution of blogging and the bloggesphere....there's so much good to discuss.
You guys know best, so would love to hear.
****Photo credit for this amazing SOLO photos to Monica Gauthier, @monicagauthier on IG