What Do We Do Now? By: Tedi Serge
It’s been 48 hours since millions of people united across the world to stand together for human rights as part of the Women’s March Movement. I attended the march in Los Angeles and participated by hosting a nonprofit informational booth for Sand Sisters LA, my youth empowerment and self-esteem building organization for girls. Throughout the march I cried, I laughed, I got mad, I felt at peace and I felt connected but I was still left wondering, “What do we do next?”
Here are 3 things we can do next!
1) Celebrate small victories. If you write a letter to Congress one day during your lunch break. Celebrate that. If you call your City Council and start a conversation about ANYTHING. Celebrate that. If you help a coworker complete a project. Celebrate that. If you picked up some trash off the ground and recycle it. Celebrate that. If you got a belly laugh in with your friends today. Celebrate that. Celebrate and be grateful for all of the positive you have in your life and you will attract more of it.
2) Get or stay involved. I don’t think we totally grasp the idea of how powerful our voice is. Volunteer in your community. Find a nonprofit organization that needs your passion and time or donations. Your talents and voice won’t go unnoticed.
3) Speak Up. Continue to be kind and peaceful in your everyday life. Stand up for yourself and the people around you. If you see something happen in the work place, at school or in public that is not kind or alarming, say something! We all have a responsibility to look after one another. In the end we are stronger together.
After seeing a successful peaceful protest with so many likeminded and loving individuals marching side by side, my faith was restored in humanity. Remember that this movement is a marathon, not a sprint. I will continue to remind myself to not lose hope by celebrating our small victories and staying involved in human rights causes.
If not now, when? When is it a good time to move to a big city, open our hearts to love, build a business or start a family? Life doesn’t give us the handbook on what’s coming next, so we have to make these brave decisions ourselves and build the lives we want. Model and swimsuit designer, Tori Praver, has done just that and takes this motto to heart by living in the moment and taking chances. The motto travels with her at all times, as the message is tattooed in sanskrit across her ribcage. Through her own hard work and determination Tori has branded herself to be an internationally known swimsuit line and female powerhouse, but through all of her professional success she is even more proud to be a supportive wife to professional surfer Danny Fuller, loving mother to Ryan Mahina and loyal friend to many.
Growing up in Maui, Tori lived the natural island lifestyle of slippers, bikinis and catching waves. Although island life through a looking glass may seem picture perfect, hardships came early in life which made her grow up fast. She said, “As a girl I would have described myself as independent. I thought I needed to be strong for my mom because my brother passed away when I was 13. I grew up a lot when that happened.“ Through the heartache, Tori matured quickly and nurtured many children in her community. To this day she has compassion and a strong maternal instinct towards children. Her mother, Lori, is a hero in her eyes. Tori looks up to Lori, calling her strong, smart, an amazing business woman and mentor. She laid the foundation of work ethic for Tori to go after her dreams.
Standing at 5’11” Tori is beautiful and statuesque. Growing up on the island, she was much taller than a lot of her friends and that led to teenage insecurities. “I was always the tall girl growing up in Maui where everyone else was shorter. A lot of the island has an Asian blend. That made me feel like I stood out. I was taller than all of the boys and I was not comfortable.”
Every girl goes through adolescence wonders, “Why me?” “Why am I different?” “Can’t I just be smarter, prettier, fitter, happier?” The list can go on and on if you let it. Through interviewing Tori, she inspired the idea that if you want to change yourself, the best time to take the first step is NOW. Even famous models deal with insecurities and have daily reminders that they aren’t perfect. Everyone is able to make decisions for themselves to be in positive environments and do things that make them happy and comfortable.
Tori decided to take things into her own hands and start a modeling career in New York at the age of 18. She said, “Things changed in my confidence when I moved to New York to model. I was surrounded by peers that were similar. Modeling can get to you and make you obsess with things that you shouldn’t, so I tried to keep a good head on my shoulders. At the end of the day I would go home and knew I had good friends and family. They kept me grounded.” To this day, Tori’s aloha spirit has stayed with her.
Tori says, “What you put out there is what you get back. It’s Kharma. What goes around comes around. Being nice to other women is only possible if you are confident and happy with yourself. You have to support each other. Don’t compete. Don’t be jealous. Bring each other up and be a community. This all comes with confidence.”
Her Malibu tribe of family and friends is what she lives for. They have built a community full of love, warmth, empowerment and support. Her best friends are a group of women who also have retail brands of their own. They are constantly promoting one another and bringing awareness to each others’ brands.
“We all have a cool relationship. We don’t have competition in our group because I see the differences in our brands…I am also still friends with my childhood friends. We have a feminine group of friends and I want that to be instilled in my daughter.”
Through Instagram Tori lets followers in on not only her professional life and growth of Tori Praver Swimwear, but also her private life. Tori’s account shows her transparent love for her daughter. Posts of adorable kisses, daredevil toddler moves, surfing with daddy and Ryan sporting the Keiki line all show how much Ryan lights up her life. Tori says, “Instagram shows everyone who you are. I am a mother and with that you get a lot of feedback from other mothers.” She said that some people will share their opinions and tell her to post more of her and not the baby. But Tori says, “Take it or leave it. This is my life.”
Tori’s company has had continuous growth, and is adorned by celebrities and featured in Vogue, InStyle, Sports Illustrated and many more publications to date. Tori is a wonderful example of how to bring to fruition the life you desire. Tori says the secret to accomplishing goals is to show up on time and come to work present. Leave your phone in your bag, your personal life at home and work, work, work. So go chase your dreams of career, family and fun. And remember if not now, when?
It all starts with a motto that can never lead you astray, “All we have is today, live it.” Live through the days of struggle, the days of fighting for survival, the days of building a loving family and the days of accepting self love. Pushing through the tough days and persevering proves to always land you on top in more ways than one. Our first inspiring woman is one who shares her past with her head held high and shares her visions of the future with stars in her eyes. This woman is Barbie Herron, Co-Owner of Head Regal; a brand that has soul and style. She is also an incredible mother of three, local badass, and PTA volunteer.
Barbie was born and raised on a ranch in Malibu, a barefooted, beach girl who had a love affair with the mountains and the sea. Growing up her mentors weren’t human, but rather superhuman, like Stevie Nicks, the idolized singer songwriter whom Barbie refers to as her “spirit animal.” With a lack of role models in her everyday life, Barbie turned to music for inspiration and an outlet to find her own way. At 16 she became a mom and this was the first time she felt unconditional love. The love she felt toward her first son, Lyon, was so deep, she knew it was time to form a sisterhood around her to help raise her family.
“Everything I do, is to set an example for my kids.”
The support of strong women was a part of Barbie and Lyon’s journey from the start on a daily basis. By being physically and emotionally present, Barbie and her crew built a strong foundation of love, respect and loyalty during Lyon’s upbringing, which is transparent in the man he is today. Barbie remembers the days when her and her best friends would walk down the street with Lyon all holding hands, a loving united front.
Lyon was diagnosed with Gardner Syndrome, a rare form of cancer, which led Barbie all over the world exploring Eastern Medicine looking for a cure. They are still fighting this battle today. Barbie’s fuel for life is her children. She also has two more beautiful children Harper and Bella, who bring so much joy to her life.
When asked, “Have you always been a confident female?” Barbie replied, “At 37 there was a huge shift in my life. In that shift, I accepted my fate. I had just left a divorce behind me and since I was from a nontraditional family, I never felt respected. I didn’t feel worthy of love, success, or happiness. The earlier you accept your flaws the better off you will be.”
During this time of hardship, Barbie went over to her friend and future business partner’s house, Amber Laforet. She was building a headboard and right when Barbie walked in the room she realized “we should be making these.” After receiving interest from multiple people, they put their savings together and started building and selling headboards one at a time. To let you know how cool these headboards are, their first headboard was sold to Beck and is now in his daughter’s bedroom. Impressive, right?
While pursuing their passion for artistry, creation and entrepreneurship, Barbie and Amber established Head Regal. They created a home and accessories line that showcased their “hippie-bohemian-beach-cowgirl-punk personalities…in an elegant, comfortable way.” The women did not want to lose their identities after having children (there are 5 kids between them) and they also wanted to keep family tradition in their homes in the aftermath of divorce. Head Regal is now a prosperous business that not only has amazing products, but has a soul to it’s purpose and a community it supports.
While interviewing this beautiful human being, I saw a confident woman who leads life in a way that took years of knowledge and experience to become. She starts every day with a meditation and that sets the tone for her mind, body, and soul.
“I am always wanting to be proactive about going from mentally selfish to mentally selfless.”
Since starting Head Regal, the sister-like duo put their products to selfless use by starting Cozy Courage, a non-profit providing their kantha fuzz blankets to children undergoing cancer treatment. 100% of donations are put toward the production and distribution of blankets to children with long hospital stays, in local hospitals and hospitals across the U.S. Barbie also started the Lyon Heart Foundation, helping single mothers with children who have rare forms of cancer receive funding, education and support. She is also a public speaker sharing her inspiring stories with others and volunteers in PTA.
“It is all about giving back. Philanthropy is the key to success.”
When asked what advice she would give girls about following their dreams, work ethic, and friendships with women she replied, “Nurture your dreams. Go to school and use that time to see where your strengths are. Take that strength and add passion to it. A good work ethic can be learned but is enate in the leaders and trailblazers we all know.” She also says to, “Show up for life! Be accountable and honest. Always keep your word and value people’s time.”
In a world where we tend to tear each other apart, knowing that relationships with women are important is key to having quality friendships. “Listen to your intuition about women, or anybody. I have a handful of quality friends and they are my sisters,” Barbie said. “In relationships with women forgiveness is really important. Forgive women, it’s only going to hurt you in the end. “
And lastly, I asked what is the key to life? Barbie replied, “Everyone has flaws and makes mistakes. Always be nice. Kindness radiates beauty. Kindness outweighs vanity.” And what a kind, radiant, beautiful person Barbie is. She is a inspiration and power source of love, strength and light. May we all take her insight to heart and be supportive sisters, mothers and friends in our communities. And remember, all we have is today, live it.
Author:Tedi Serge Editor:Sonya Serge
It was one of those “AH HAH!” moments. I was walking on the beach, trying to figure out my next career move. I had earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, but after spending time in the classroom, I soon learned it wasn’t the right fit for me. Being born in Southern California, I carried on a love affair with the beach and the deep blue ocean. Walking along the sand I thought, how can I capitalize on combining the two things I love most, the beach and teaching children? Even though teaching in a classroom wasn’t for me, I loved kids and I knew that teachers and counselors made the world of a difference in the children they taught. I knew teachers and counselors had conversations with students that were memorable and character shaping. I knew that the time spent at a camp or after school program needed to be with the right mentor for children to feel safe, happy, and inspired. So at that moment, I knew I had to combine the two elements in some way.
Being at a time in my life when I felt unsure about my future, I booked a surf trip to Costa Rica for inspiration. There among the ocean, rain forest and best food of my life, I experienced a very different lifestyle than that of the people living in the United States. In the Costa Rican culture, people spend their days outside and there is a large sense of togetherness and community. Their education is sadly secondary to other responsibilities, but the trip was a life lesson, on seeing how the water has created and maintained their lives. The community revolved around the water, the waves and made for a simple life of happiness, friendship and community. I had to add this feeling of togetherness to my big idea.
So, I purposefully brought back part of the Costa Rican culture to Los Angeles, for myself and for the girls who are growing up so quickly in our overstimulated society. Sand Sisters Los Angeles was born. I wanted to form a place where girls can simplify, be themselves and their best selves, gain confidence through water sports and empower each other. I started by taking one girl to the beach to surf and stand up paddle board and that has grown to become a beach camp in Playa Del Rey. From there it has grown to be an after school enrichment class in independent schools, a public class with the City of Santa Monica and Sand Sisters Saturdays. Sand Sisters Saturdays are a great opportunity for any girl in the LA community to come spend the day with us at the beach, hiking, in the music studio, or in an art studio. Every class is themed with a positive word of the day and a craft that follows the word. Some words we love to use are respect, inspire, trust, grateful, explore and health.
A year ago my sister came onboard, so the meaning has changed. The name once stood for “sisters” that meet at the beach and do camp like activities, but now it also means that we are the “Sand Sisters.” Two strong women developing a curriculum to change our youth. Two sisters fighting the odds and giving girls a place to show up and be greeted with a hug and know that they are loved and they are wanted. When these girls feel our sense of community at a class or event their spirits soar and their physical and mental health is top notch.
Visit our website at www.sandsistersla.com for our program details and community events!
This article was published by BOOST in May 2015.
Happy Spring Equinox everyone! With our favorite change of seasons, we are blessed to also experience a full solar eclipse and Super Moon on the same day, all three phenomenons marking the coming of Spring. Just as this season is celebrated as a time of renewal, so is this rare occurrence in the sky. It is a special reminder that our days of Winter are gone and our days of Spring will evolve to be brighter and longer.
Spring makes us want to jump for joy, dive into the depths of the ocean, dance, release the tension we have been holding in and spend time outside. Here is a list of our favorite things Springtime means to us.
1. Crisp & Clean: The moment you look around at the green vegetation growing and blue skies above, your lips can finally say, “SPRING HAS SPRUNG.” The green grass and flower buds bring instant gratitude. Deep breaths hold a new meaning when you can go outside after work for a sunset stroll and feel in your body the cleansing of the air.
2. Change: With feeling fresh, comes feeling renewed. Spring is a time to come out of hibernation, shed Winter’s thick skin and peel off the layers of the sluggish person we do not want to be anymore. Spring is an opportunity to move forward into who you want to become. The clean and crisp air mention above is a new source of energy. The oxygen that fills you from your head to your toes ignites recognition to be cleansed and renewed.
3. Bright Light: What’s better than being able to be outside until 8:00pm? NOTHING! More light means more playing, more beach, more swimming, more laughing, more accomplishments, more BBQing, more family memories, more friends, more hiking, more loving, more dancing, more exploring, more traveling, more fun and just plain MORE LIVING!
4. Ocean Love: We have been waiting all Winter to be able to jump into the waves sans wetsuit. No one wants to deal with the full body suction cup that still manages to let bubbles of freezing salt water roll down your back. Spring is a sign the water is warming up and getting ready for a summer of surf, stand up paddle boarding, jumping into the waves and enjoying the Southern California lifestyle.
5. New Friends: When you go outside and plan new activities, you cross paths with amazing new people. It’s important to keep your group of best friends who you trust and can read each others’ minds, but it’s also imperative to make new friends. By making new friends, they open doors to new cultures, food, music, networks, activities, and it makes you grow as a person.
HAPPY SPRING my little Sand Sisters! Let’s put the past behind us and only move forward with our renewed selves. Set goals to be the best person you can be, move your body daily and treat everyone with the same respect you would your parents or teachers. Being nice is cool and by being cool, you’ll attract cool people around you. 🙂
Sonya is the co-owner of Sand Sisters Los Angeles, an all girls youth program designed to encourage girls to lead active and healthy lives through water related activities and self esteem building. Our LA summer camp registration is open now at www.sandsistersla.com. Check it out!
“The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” – Benjamin Franklin
That quote is an oldie, but a goodie. Everyday we wake up with the choice to be happy and positive, or wear the weight of the world on our shoulders. It is hard to choose the first option when it is so easy to just lay in bed and order a pizza wishing you were prettier, richer, skinnier, more popular, or happier. Here are three simple ways to make your day great and to choose happiness.
The first thing to do when feeling funky is to GO OUTSIDE! Connect with the earth and soak up that Vitamin D. Simple things you can do by yourself or with your friends are to go on a walk, sit on your patio with a cup of your favorite drink, ride your bike, do cartwheels in a park. Twenty minutes in the sun will turn your frown upside down.
It’s also important to change up your routine. Do something out of the ordinary. Take a different route to work, go to a new restaurant, join a club or take a class. Sometimes we have to take things into our own hands and create an adventure in our daily lives. Don’t be afraid to do something different, if you like it great you will grow as a person. If you don’t like it, that is also great, at least you had a new experience.
Give your friends a call. Having a fun chat with your old friends is always nice. You definitely get a laugh in and it can change your mood. It makes you feel like you have a purpose and a real connection. It is nice to call people because it shows that you care. In a day that everything is online, a phone call means a lot and is a sure way to cheer you up.
Try one or all three! These happiness changers are a great way to get you back on track to having a happy and positive day.
New Year: New You or the Old You?
January, a time for introspections and reflections, leads us to questions like: Who are we? Where are we going? What do we want out of this life? Who do we want to do it with? The magnifying glass is on us all right now. Everyone is putting a lot of faith in the next year to come to bring change and inspiration. With the new year in full swing, it leads me to two questions for self reflection: What was wrong with me last year, am I really that bad? and Why do I need a new year to tell me the day to make a change?
All year long I thrive to be the best person I can in every aspect of my life. With the daily pressures coming at me from all directions, sometimes it is hard to not slip up. BUT I remind myself I am only human and I try not to beat myself up on the slip up. We are all souls yearning for permanent bliss, to reach all of our goals, to find feelings of true contentment, peace, quiet, and joy. No one wants to suffer, judge/be judged, or be unhappy. We are all on Earth to be brothers and sisters and make connections with one another. The other day at a church I attend, the monk gave a talk on New Year’s Resolutions. He made the point to let us all know that we are all only capable of so much perfection because we are human and we should not feel guilty for mistakes that have been made. We should blame God a little because he created us and has a sense of humor. I found this statement cute. He said it with a laugh, and the crowd laughed and it was like a huge weight lifted off everyone’s shoulders to know that maybe our mistakes do not define us and they are not entirely our fault.
Resolutions have been flooding social media feeds, and let me tell you, I have a list a mile long of things I want to work on, but now thinking about it I wish I wrote a list of things I loved about my life and about myself first. Why let a new year be a motivation for self-reflection in a negative light. Let’s all keep in mind that we don’t need to wait another year to make changes that make you a better human being. It all only goes up from here.
In the same talk the monk gave advice on what he does for his New Year’s resolution. He picks one word, every year and truly owns it. Once he has made that word/action a part of his practice for the year he adds onto it the next year. Imagine if you did this every year by the time you were 50 you would have an amazing collection of characteristics and accomplishments that truly represent what kind of human you are. So pick one thing, don’t make that list (unless it’s the love list). The list will be created when you have lived your life not hating yourself for being born with a few imperfections. I can’t wait to meet 50 year old me.
The beach is my best friend…is it yours? Obviously, the best day to go to the beach is a hot sunny day where you can relax and soak in some Vitamin D. If there is an opportunity for some time at the beach I suggest you take it, because you never regret a trip, walk, bike, or drive to the beach. It is always the one place on earth where I can reflect, unwind, breathe, play, smile, and laugh.
The beach lets you bring a party of friends and family to celebrate a birthday, it invites couples to stroll and fall deeper in love, it is an outdoor gym for many locals, and it is a place where you can come alone. A place where you can just show up and not be judged. Your race, gender, age and body type are welcome. The beach doesn’t discriminate and neither does anyone else at the beach because the other beach go-ers are there for the similar reasons, to forget reality for a moment, procrastinate some work that is due tomorrow, paying bills, trying to fit in, and grasping the last bit of the day before the next one.
We all have insecurities about being alone, insecurities that leave you feeling empty, overwhelmed, sad and scared, but why?! You always have your best friend, the beach. Show up for yourself and show up alone. The beach will be there to greet you with a sun kissed nose, sandy toes, salty air, and a happy soul.