From the endless shrines and temples with their contemplative Zen gardens, to the narrow streets lined with traditional shops, restaurants, and tea houses, here is our Wanderful City Guide to Kyoto!Read More
by Oui We contributor: Sam Spahr
There always comes a day when boredom and lack of inspiration strike. Yuck, I know. Crawling out from under the covers is getting harder. You swear someone switched your morning coffee for decaf. Every move you made today was carbon copy of yesterday, and don’t ya feel a little icky just thinking about it?
Me too! Plane, train, or automobile, near or far, sometimes you just gotta get out there and find where your little soul spark ran off to. And it happens to everyone. I promise you. Painter to paralegal, poet to plumber, we need inspiration to get through the day, but where are you heading to look for it?
This question prompted me to reach out to a friend about her experience with runaway sparks and efforts to search for them.
Natalie Phillips @nattiephilphoto is a very much a modern woman (the kick-ass kind killlin’ it 7 days a week). No, really. Monday - Friday she’s an Admin Assistant at a local accounting firm and grows her business, Natalie Phillips Photography, on the weekends covering everything from weddings to lifestyle shoots.
Sam Spahr for Oui We: Natalie, working as much as you do, how do you know when your flame is fizzling? What’s your signal that it’s time to find a little inspiration to get through your jammed schedule?
Natalie: I can never pin point when the spark starts to disappear; I usually realize it after it’s gone. I get grumpy and feel tired, and that’s when I know it is time for a break. I think because I’m either at the office, on location, or turning out client galleries, I feel like I need a trip maybe more often than the the average person. It’s that feeling of being stuck in one place too long that can act as a signal for me.
SS: Tending to that spark can be different for everyone, some need rest, or a relaxing place to tap back in while others need more excitement or adventure. What’s your inspiration style? What kind of things do you look for in your destinations?
NP: I look for a place that gives me a balance between rest/rejuvenation vs. adventure. The destination has to fulfill the deepest parts of my soul, and for me that means it also has to be aesthetically pleasing. In fact, I’ll often check Instagram to see photographs of the places I want to go to make sure they are going to strike me visually. That’s a huge part of the inspiration for me.
SS: It sounds like a place really has to work overtime for you! Where have you been that matched the qualities you describe?
NP: I’ve traveled a good bit in the last couple of years: Mexico, Costa Rica, Europe, Canada and a couple of cross country road trips. But, I found Austria to be a favorite, and particularly Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. I’ve been twice, so I guess it really does the job for me.
SS: What about Banff had you coming back for more?
NP: That place is absolutely timeless. It’s a never ending fountain of rejuvenation, of everything I need. Just standing in the grandness of the landscape can have you feeling like you’re on another planet. I could go there twice a year and still want more - it’s never enough.
SS: Well, I will certainly be adding it to my list. Natalie, thanks so much for this quick share! Before we go, something tells me you already know where you’re headed next.
NP: Yes! I’m hitting Mallorca, Spain in a few short months.
Time to burn out the “un” from the “inspired” neon sign in your soul? Let us know where you’ve gone to find that pesky little spark again.
all photos courtesy of Natalie Phillips
Sam Spahr is an artist-educator who gets her kicks sharing the magic of the arts with kids and adults alike. She has a penchant for ancient artworks and helping others find the connections between now and then. When not inside a studio or bookshop, you can find her paddling out somewhere with her hubs and pup. She loves experimenting in the kitchen, but loves eating even more, especially in new cities and cultures.
The Wanderful Girl
The “Wanderful Girl” is a modern bohemian. She’s a nomadic bon vivant collecting perspective and style inspiration around the globe. - from "Wanderful: The Modern Bohemian's Guide to Traveling in Style."
Today's featured girl personifies the digital Glenda the good witch, with a little femme fatale twist. Her online publication covers everything from new age philosophies and stylish wanderings to stories about how women and girls can (and are changing) the world. She dives into the taboo on occasion and shares regular stories about how to heal yourself naturally ... and everything she does is with a serious cool girl vibe. After re-reading her interview as I prepared to post this I was seriously in tears.... I absolute adore her and everything thing she stands for. Besides, from one witchy woman romance lover to another, she's clearly a Oui We soul sista.
p.s. if you really want to do Cyber Monday right - shop artists, designers and magic makers: AND if you really want to do a travel wardrobe right, everything in Michaela's collection is perfection.
Interview: Michaela d'Artois
Andi for Oui We: We’ve been inspired by the mantra of Vérité (WELCOME HOME, FREE THINKING WOMAN. EMPOWER YOUR STYLE & LIBERATE YOUR MIND. #FEMMESOFVERITE) since the first moment we were introduced to you through our mutual friend (and serious babe Allister Ann).
Vérité’s philosophy of empowering women and creating community has been your core mission before the women’s movement took center stage this year, tell us about the background of the publication, and how it all came to be.
Michaela: I think I was just sensing a movement was upon us when I started Vérité in 2015. I mean I didn’t invent the women’s movement by any means but I really wanted to open a conversation to girls about empowering each other to pursue any kind of lifestyle they wanted! It all started when I was working in house at a magazine and realized we weren’t giving girls the right materials to educate, and empower their life choices. We were only feeding the feeling of inadequacy. So I flipped open my laptop, bought a web domain and got to work. It’s still very much a work in progress, but I’m learning things right alongside our readers!
AE: You’re the creative director, writer, photographer and often the star of Vérité features too - how do you do it all?
MD: Well, I have some really wonderful contributors and endless amounts of support from my loved ones who I couldn’t do it without. We launched a shopping portion to the site last January so that’s been a whole other beast to tame but I really enjoy doing this and I feel very privileged that all the tasks on my to-do list are things I am really passionate about! But speaking of to-do lists, I wouldn’t be able to do it without those either — they keep me sane and accountable!
AE: After spending these past 2 years traveling America for Wanderful, our 2018 will be dedicated to exploring international destinations - and you’ve covered sooo many, let’s talk about your life as a traveler. I want all your recommendations!
MD: Oooh, this is my favorite topic to cover. I love being able to give people recommendations more than anything! My mom is actually an international flight attendant so I sort of had this nomad blood in me from the very beginning — our whole family is like this. I’ve gone months living out of my duffle bag. It is really important to me to feel a sense of freedom in my work and my life, and travel has been my best form of education! My recommendation to be able to live a travel based life is to say “yes!” - move the life stuff around and make time for it. This is the advice I give all my girlfriends: you will never regret taking that trip, maybe spending a bit of that savings to go, but you will definitely regret not going.
My best destination recs would be Morocco, and the Amalfi Coast. Morocco really fed my soul with their food, colors, and textiles. I felt like I had made that place up in my head! Amalfi is a classic, plus I fell in love there so it’s really dear to my heart!
AE: What was the earliest trip that inspired you?
MD: When I was little we used to go to Mexico every winter (I grew up in Canada so it was a natural migration). Much like Morocco, the festiveness of the culture really stuck with me. Also this is where I cultivated a strong connection to the ocean. It was this lush, exotic place with amazingly welcoming people that really stuck with me and to this day.
AE: What cheats do you have for looking good while spending days traveling?
MD: Don’t set people’s expectations high to begin with? Just kidding! Like I said I travel really light no matter how long I’m gone (I only just recently invested in luggage with wheels). I hate checking a bag, and you never know what kind of train, bumpy plane, or boat you might have to toss your bag on to! To do so, I’ve created sort of a capsule wardrobe that can go from day to night, and place to place, this wardrobe is essentially what the Vérité shop is made up of! Aside from my day-to-day shoes (slip ons are best for travel days and TSA), I only bring one pair of Prada heels that I always know will be comfortable and look chic! And I forego products except an SPF, night cream, and sea salt spray (I like to see what local specialty products I can stock up on). Oh, and I almost only wear black — that way everything always matches!
AE: Tell us about a person you met on your travels that you know you’ll never forget?
MD: That’s a loaded question! I actually met my boyfriend on a blind date in the JFK airport to go to Italy together. Yes, we are both total crazy people. Luckily for us it worked out, and I wouldn’t be able to forget him if I tried because two years later we live together in LA.
AE: What’s one clothing item you always take with you on your travels?
MD: Those trusty Prada shoes. They have a chunky heel so I’ve done everything in them, including bike around cobblestone streets!
AE: Favorite souvenir?
MD: Boyfriend? Haha… I think probably my photos.
AE: You write odes to self love, share insta tarot readings & offer a guide to feng shui-ing your bedroom - we’re obsessed with allll of this — how did you get started on this path to mysticism, and even mysticism with a romantic twist?
MD: Actually I’ve always been pretty witchy. Probably another family heirloom. I’ve always turned to my pantry before the Doctor to cure something, or find a remedy, and it extends into my views on spirituality as well. I guess it’s just part of my philosophical journey to attaching meaning to life. There are elements all around us that I don’t think you can write off as “hippie shit,” it’s just way too real! Our periods being synched to the moon for example! I’ve always felt a crazy attachment to the moon to the point of worship, now it all makes sense! Things like Tarot, and mysticism are just ways to connect back to these ancient rituals and learn from those who studied spirituality before us.
In our content it’s just another way for us to open the conversation and say “Hey, maybe what your parents believed in isn’t right for you and that’s ok” In regards to the self love part: who is better to worship than yourself? We focus so much of our time as mankind dedicating to these higher powers, we forget how amazing we are, and it makes us feel insignificant when we can’t part the sea with our bare hands! As for the romantic twist — I can literally romanticize anything… I cry in Subaru commercials.
AE: For someone interested in becoming more involved in a mystical life, how do you suggest they begin?
MD: I’m definitely not an expert but I think giving yourself space to feel out what’s right for you is the best place to start. I wasn’t raised with one set religion so I feel like I had the freedom for a young age to figure out what felt right for me. Mine all kind of started with these moon bathing ceremonies that I do on my own every full moon. It’s just time for me to take some quiet moments, take note of what I’m grateful for, and say thank you. Then I realized this was my version of worship and it grew from there based in the natural world. This all led to me creating tiny altars around my house that are dedicated to nature and the divine feminine (possibly one in the same) — I put crystals, little notes, and fresh flowers on them.
Once I realized how much magic the world can give us, I researched deeper and found Aromatherapy, Ayurvedic Medicine, and Meditation — all practices rooted in Earth. Okay… I need to stop myself now I’m starting to sound like I drink my own pee! Just like any kind of belief, it’s not right for everyone and no, I can’t tell you that Tarot works but those cards have always set me on the right path!
AE: We’ve just returned from Mallorca, and you have a swimsuit named after the island(!) - tell us about the Vérité collection.
MD: Stop, you should have packed me in your suitcase! Yes, we do have The Mallorca Bikini! The collection is essentially just my wardrobe, online, for sale. I was always getting asked how I travelled so light, or how I always had such a strong sense of personal style, and the secret’s in simplicity. So I put it online! Everything right now is under $100, and they are just good staples. I wanted our shoppers to know it’s not necessarily about buying the most expensive thing, or shopping every trend every season but just having curated basics that could literally take us everywhere!
AE: The line seems to have a bit of a rebellious vibe, tell us something bad you did growing up that your parents never caught you doing?
MD: I mean they probably already know this by now but I used to have a fake ID that said I was 26 when I was like 16 that I would use to go clubbing. When boys would hit on me I would be like, “I’m almost 30, I could be your mom!” and show them my ID.
AE: What’s on your favorites list:
The book on your nightstand: The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, it’s my favorite book and my mom just gifted me a beautiful copy so I’ve been re-reading it.
Camera you shoot blog or insta photos with: Fujifilm X30 or iPhone 8
The app you can’t live without: The Podcasts app!
An object or charm you keep with you? A ring that’s been passed down to me
A film quote that inspires you? “When we talked, I talked about me, you talked about you, when we should have talked about each other” from Godard’s Breathless.
The drink you order when on a date? / when out with your girlfriends? An extra dirty martini with extra olives.
AE: Lastly: tell us about a moment you knew that magic was real.
MD: I think when the things I had daydreamed about when I was little started to come to life — but I think these days we call that Manifesting.
AE: Anything else you want to share?!
MD: This is literally the most fun interview I’ve ever done!
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