In recent years, I have committed to living a healthy and organic life from the food I eat to the face cream I apply. I’m not perfect at this, and I’m still learning, but the changes I’ve already made have been so rewarding that I wanted to share them others. I’ve lost weight, my face has cleared up, I’ve established a “look” I think is great for me, and I’m more alive and happy than I have ever been before. This is who I’m becoming now. It was not always so…

I grew up in a house with a fairly feminine mother and no less than five other sisters. To say our household was estrogen dominant is an understatement. As a little girl, I loved to watch my mother apply her makeup in the mornings, and I could not wait until I was old enough to wear it myself (in the meantime, I had my own Fisher-Price vanity and as many kid-friendly cosmetics as I could get my hands on). Despite a brief tomboy phase pre-puberty during which I told everyone my favorite color was camo (as in, yes, camouflage), I was always more of a girly-girl (I’ve become much less so since childhood, but this is still something I’ve learned I can be proud of and embrace about myself).

After college, I uprooted from my small, southern town in Tennessee and moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, which, in case you didn’t know, is one of the healthiest states in the nation—actually the least obese state and number one in physical activity. Impressively, for a southern belle who always carried her biscuits and gravy in her thighs and was nobody’s idea of slender, I lost twenty pounds my first year and another ten before I moved back home the year after that… without even trying (virtually impossible for somebody with my metabolism). I simply, easily, almost unwittingly, adapted to the lifestyle of that place.

I also began to learn how correlated beauty and health actually are.

However, whereas in Colorado I achieved results effortlessly and without really knowing why they happened, change was harder to achieve and retain once I moved back to my lazy, low-altitude, biscuits-and-gravy home state. So, I began to intentionally journey towards a natural and wholistic approach to beauty in fits and starts. I accumulated the knowledge I needed to make the change, but struggled to implement it.

I ran a half-marathon, trained for a full marathon, quit before I raced the full, became a vegan, hit the gym, lapsed from veganism, stopped working out altogether, ate healthily, binged on junk food, ate healthily again, lost weight, gained weight, broke out, cleared up, trained for another half-marathon, quit… You get the picture. Change is harder to come by once the going gets tough.

After my twenty-fifth birthday, I took a long, hard look in the mirror (literally and figuratively). I was frumpy and unfulfilled. Ever seen My Big, Fat Greek Wedding? Yeah, Toula in the beginning? … Me. I had gotten so frustrated with it all that I had given up on self-care altogether—gotten so far away from that little girl before her mother’s mirror. No exercise, no healthy eating habits, no makeup, no style other than a greasy topknot and sweatpants… And that was me. Every. Single. Day. I was totally unhappy.

Abandoning my essential self, in more ways than one, completely disrupted and destroyed my love for life and my peace of mind. Interestingly enough, my first name, Hayley, means “meadow” and my second name, Brooke, obviously means “brook” or “stream,” and my mother named me this because it reminded her of Psalms 23:2-3a: “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters; He refreshes my soul…” I had to, needed to, wanted to inundate my life with the peace and restoration my name suggests.

My journey back to beauty and wellness has been painstaking and rewarding. “Beauty” is a word I use for a state of mind and a way of living—a way of self-perceiving and self-caring—and, to me, it happens when a woman is thriving physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Perhaps in the wording there lies the key: beauty is not something that just is; beauty happens. When we take care of ourselves. When we enhance our well-being in a way that enriches our lives.

And it can happen to you.

My story is not your story. Whether you are a novice or an expert in the beauty world… this is a space for you! You may be a beauty beginner looking for a guide to the basics, or you may already be a pro and simply looking for some ways to simplify your routine or take a more natural and wholistic approach. Maybe you’ve already done so and would like to share your own tips and tricks with other like-minded women in the comment section… We’d love to hear from you!

This is a space where women can come together on the multifaceted subject of beauty and share with one another and encourage each other. No facades. No shame.

From beauty techniques to fitness to food to emotional health, we’ll explore different cosmetics, personal-care products, workouts, yoga flows, recipes, supplements, herbs for illnesses and irritations, and hobbies that promote wellness. All the things you want to know about beauty and wellness compiled into one website! (See what I mean by “wholistic”?) And all of it natural, healthy, and organic.

(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, trainer, nutritionist, herbalist, or beautician. I’m on this journey with you. All of my suggestions simply stem from my own research and experience. Where applicable, I will include credible sources and resources that I have found informative and helpful that you can also check out!)

So, whatever your background when it comes to beauty may be that has led you to peruse this space, I hope you find something to encourage and enrich you here. Something that inspires you to let beauty happen in your own life and body.