For the past 4 years, Flaam has been working on small-scale organic farms, in California, Canada and back to California. This past year, she had the incredible opportunity to work and live at Esalen.
Here is what she says…
Tell me about your beauty ritual ? What self-care tip do you swear by ?
My rituals are simple. I currently don’t wear much make up, so in the morning I use Everyday Oil (see below) and sunscreen (currently Mychelle Solar Defense SPF30) as suggested by my friend Rachel. She knows everything about skincare and products so I mostly just do what she tells me!
Otherwise I drink a lot of water, with lemon if possible! This is of course much easier when you live on a farm in California. No caffeine, but I drink tea religiously. My latest obsession is Smoked Earl Grey by Bellocq first discovered over breakfast with my sister at Gjelina in LA.
I’m adamant about getting a lot of sleep. It allows me to be engaged with the world and not move through life as a zombie. I have gone analog with a 10$ alarm clock and I always always read before bed, sometimes only for 5 minutes, or half an hour. There is something about the transition that feels essential to shut off my thinking brain and lull me to the dreamworld. I mostly use my kindle and download books from the library, and constantly have a queue lined up!
As far as routines go, I do what makes me feel good and try to be laidback about it. Self-care is becoming increasingly commodified and we have an industry that’s now banking on having consumers continue to live in a constant state of stress and anxiety. It’s important to remember that we do not have to spend money to take care of ourselves! In the US (but not only here!), a lot of the onus is put on the individual to take care of themselves, without enough, if any, acknowledgment of the structural issues that make it so hard to have a dignified life for so many to begin with. It feels important to note that the origins of self-care begin as political, with roots in queer black activist circles. Self-care, community-care, societal-care need to exist simultaneously for everyone.
What is the one product you would recommend to anyone ?
Everyday Oil is my absolute favorite product. I love how natural it is and the smell is so delightful and mysterious. It is kind of intoxicating ! I use it primarily as a face moisturizer, but will also lather it all over. It works for everything: as a facewash, for sunburns, insect bites, hair care. I have introduced this product to many girlfriends that now associate the smell with my home which makes me smile. I also love Skin Food (first heard of it on CupofJo). My hands are in the soil all day long and it feels so good on my dry skin. It’s rich when you put it on at first but it will get absorbed quickly.
I get quite overwhelmed by all the products out there. It takes money, time and energy to keep up! So I absolutely love finding the one thing that works that I never have to think twice about again.
Four years ago, you made a big change. Tell me about it.
After college I worked as an Environmental Planner in New York, a job I liked in many ways but still had me sitting in an office all day and feeling overwhelmed by life in city. I’ve been farming on small-scale organic farms (mostly veggies and flowers) since 2016. Growing up I loved being outside, learning about plants and animals, and cooking good food. It simultaneously felt like a leap and like the most natural thing. I studied environmental science in college and grew more interested in agricultural and food systems. This work has been meaningful and nourishing in so many ways. It feels incredibly empowering to know how to grow food. I am very privileged to have been able to work on farms with good labor conditions, which is not the case for most of the people growing and cooking our food, the majority of which are people of color. Industrial farming is a highly destructive model that harms people and the earth and cannot be disconnected from systemic racism and other forms of oppression. I want to do my part in helping to transform it.
Tell me about a woman that has inspired you ?
I’m most inspired by all the women in my life. Each of my friends move me with their own particular brand of thoughtfulness, insight, activism, creativity and care.
How would you define beauty today ? If you could go back in time and define beauty to your child or adolescent self, what would you tell her ?
I feel most beautiful when I feel present and in my body. After working outside all day, a long hike or a cold swim.. I seem to move through the world as pure existence. Not too in my head or thinking about how I look, but connected to myself, the people around me and the earth. Beauty is embodied aliveness. This is what rings most true for me. I would let my teen self know not to feel rushed, to give myself time and space to figure myself and the world out! I’m enough just by existing.
Thank you so much for sharing, Flaam ! I love and miss you.
All pictures taken by Flaam and her darling sister Ainhoa 🙂
ça veut dire : L’instant présent, la terre, l’eau, le ciel. La beauté, c’est savoir s’offrir à cela pleinement.