Journey to my Inner Simple

Journey to my Inner Simple

The impetus for starting Lola & Gaia began more than 20 years ago, and finally came to fruition this year. It's been a long road, but I have finally begun to discover my 'inner simple'. Welcome to my journey...

In 2015, I had an awakening after finally emerging from 15 years of chaos (moving to new apartments in Brooklyn every couple of years, trying to have a baby, postpartum anxiety that lasted too long, different jobs that I ended up hating, doubts over how I was raising my daughter Sofia, and recurring panic attacks due to all the stresses of life in NYC). The events of 9/11 didn't help either after being downtown on Wall Street when those planes hit the towers. And then, of course, my father passing in 2013. In 2016, the initial ideas of an online blog were born. Inner Simple was my way of channeling and processing the realization that I had to make some serious changes. I landed a new job in e-commerce technology working from home (after years onsite at various fashion brands), and met some incredible women who shared similar struggles but were in earlier stages of their lives having not yet gone through what I had already experienced. The blog became the start of my 'therapy', a way to share my story and connect with others who might be starting a similar journey. This photo of 7 year-old Sofia on a beach in South Carolina inspired me to simplify, look inward and prioritize only those things that held meaning and joy. At the time, I drafted this mission statement:

 

To create a forum for other women to contribute their stories, share their life experiences, and begin to heal.

The past 15 years have been lived in a constant state of transition. It began with a move to New York City in the year 2000, and continues today 50 miles north in Cold Spring, a small town along the Hudson River. What happened in between was filled with angst... the typical love/hate every New Yorker has with the city that has so much to offer, and too much to run away from. My story is about the aspirations toward a successful career in one of the most fast-paced industries today, the birth of my daughter that we desperately tried for (unsuccessful initially), then awaited (after 3 tries with fertility treatments) and finally celebrated on September 8, 2008; the joy of motherhood along with the misery it brought due to the intense physical toll the postpartum years took on my mind and body; my attempt to get back into the workforce (minus the pre-baby passion), and the failures I experienced with each job along the way trying to be a 9-5 working mom commuting 3 hours a day in and out of the city.  This blog is my therapy, and my contribution to the world of working moms who feel that tug-of-war between work life and home life, watching your child grow up faster and faster before your eyes, and the desperate need to be present, both physically and emotionally.

So there it is... very simple, and simple it has become. My complicated, stress-filled life began to calm and became simpler, fuller, and much happier... I'm starting to feel like a whole person again, more centered and hopeful that the rest of my life will be lived with more intention. I've finally landed in a place where my colleagues are strong women who share similar stories of life's tug-of-war, whose fights are with the stresses of everyday, and not with each other (as it was with my previous employers).

We have common ground... we value the freedom and flexibility of our jobs; we love nature and the outdoors; we love to shop and travel; we enjoy our friends and family and the meals that we share; we love our children and the precious time that we spend with them; we love our homes and the care it takes to decorate (and renovate) them; we value our communities and the sense of place that centers us; we believe in good health and fitness, and that simple living begins there.

We believe that the small things we do each day will make a difference in the long run – whether that’s making, exploring, growing, reading, cooking, volunteering, escaping or relaxing. We do all of these things to find our Inner Simple...

Wishing you inner strength and pure joy. 

 

Writing that mission statement back in 2016 was the first step in my current journey. While the blog never launched, and that remote, flexible job is no longer, I started to hone in on my actual needs and wants, and identify those things that make me most happy. After years of working in fashion retail and e-commerce, I developed a love for design and technology. I had always wanted to design my own fashion or home decor line, but never had the time or mental space to start. I began spending more time in my garden, researching what species of flower or vegetable grew best in which season (my father lived in his garden; I attribute this affinity with plant life to him). My passion for nature and the outdoors grew, making more frequent trips to Vermont and Martha's Vineyard, stopping at every nursery and garden center along the way to find new things that I could put in my garden. I realized that I was most centered and at peace when surrounded by flowers and foliage. After my mother passed in June 2021, my path forward became even more clear - to marry a love for nature and design, and finally start a home decor and accessories line featuring my botanical illustrations and patterns.

In August 2023 Lola & Gaia was born! This new venture gave me an outlet to rediscover my love for painting and illustration, to finally use my hands and creative side of my brain again, to take a break from my computer and technology in general which was so much a part of my day job, and to get closer to nature and solitude which has done so much to heal me.

In the past year, the global concern about our environment began to inspire my daughter to launch the Habitat Revival Club at her high school, whose mission is to rid the community of invasive species by planting pollinator gardens in an effort to bring back the declining population of bees and monarch butterflies. She inspired me to learn more and participate in the causes and initiatives to save our planet. We've all observed the increased intensity of storms, rising temperatures, and higher than average rainfalls. It's no secret that pollution (exponentially increased use of fossil fuels, auto emissions, etc.), deforestation, depletion of natural resources and increased spread of invasive plant species are just a few contributors to our suffering planet. It's not too late to reverse the toll that these environmental issues have put on our earth. These issues motivated my daughter, and she motivated me - to do what I love, love what I do and make a difference. 

Lola & Gaia is the culmination of all of the above... join me on my continued Inner Simple journey for the sake of future generations. 

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