Welcoming Wellness Through Piece of Mind

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.” -Carl Jung

Recently, I have listened to and participated in many conversations about self-care.  It has been comforting to have this awareness and understanding that not everything is a “one size fits all”.  We all have tools and things we use to help ourselves, but it’s knowing that what works for one person may look completely different for someone else.  


Two tools that work for me - and have profoundly impacted my life - are a monthly visit with my acupuncturist (post here) and a monthly chat with my therapist.  These are my “self-care non-negotiables” that are constantly on rotation.  Therapy, for me, is for when life is easy and for when life is hard. It is a safe place and a non-judgemental place to be compassionate with ourselves and vulnerable with our feelings - whatever those feelings may be.  It’s a place where we go inward, being self-aware of our feelings and accepting who we are - the good and the not so great, and everything in between.  

See below for my interview with Morgan Morris, MEd, LPCA of Welcoming Wellness about her therapy practice and how she works with individuals to achieve better health through peace of mind.

“Setting healthy boundaries in my life and relationships reminds me that I am in charge of nurturing my joy.” ~Alex Elle

SS:  In this fast paced world that we live in, do you believe there is awareness and conversation around emotional health?  And a willingness to talk about stress and well-being?

Welcoming Wellness: I truly believe that in this past year, the landscape of mental health has seen landmark challenges and progress. Catastrophes, both made made and natural, have triggered our anxieties and have open our eyes to self-care, self-awareness, and compassion and helped us understand that they are more important than ever. There’s still much work to be done but I do believe our culture has made true strides in the arena of having conversations about mental health. We’ve heard from real life sufferers about their experiences with mental health, celebrities who have spoken out about their struggles with anxiety and depression, even learned what we can from controversial shows like 13 Reasons Why. Social media has provided a platform for mental health experts to share useful coping skills and therapeutic techniques to help those who are struggling and most importantly; our conversations with loved ones have become more open and welcoming to true struggles that we’re suffering with. The shift in people seeing the importance of communicating with friends and loved ones has been profound, particularly in our Charleston community. I am so excited to see the progress continue around the conversations about mental health and the importance of seeking help when needed.  


SS: What is your approach in working with clients to helping them become aligned with one’s mind, body and spirit?

Welcoming Wellness:  At the core of my approach is a genuine, authentic,and non-judgemental foundation;  I very much value and respect each individual's vulnerability and treat it with care and safety. It takes true bravery and commitment to engage in therapy and I feel absolutely honored to work with each person that sits in my office. Each individual comes with their own uniqueness in terms of values, beliefs, support system, and self-worth...in order to appropriately treat each client I tailor my approach to meet their needs. My approach incorporates all aspects of our experience on this earth - mind, body, spirit, and community. Those approaches can range from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction to Commitment and Acceptance Therapy...or often times a combination of several therapeutic approaches! I believe in therapy and have seen it change lives, particularly during challenging or transitional moments in life.

SS:  Let’s talk emotional boundaries!  One of the most important things that I have realized in working with my own therapist is how important my energy is to me.  To be fully present I have to protect that energy by building boundaries. Can you speak to how you work with clients to build boundaries, especially around comparison, negative self talk and prioritizing needs?

Welcoming Wellness: Practice them! Life is practice. Nothing worthwhile comes without it. Pleasing others, for some of us, tends to come before our own needs. Because of this we have little or no awareness around how to set or keep boundaries...If we do attempt boundaries people sometimes label us as heartless or wrong and they may demand explanations or outright ignore what we’ve stated. People with high self worth understand boundaries and they respect the people who keep them, because they keep them themselves! I always remind clients a few things to remember when setting boundaries:

1. It’s going to feel very uncomfortable and like your doing something “wrong” at first
2. Some people don’t respect boundaries because they may not know how to keep their own, do not take this personally
3. Full-filled people respect boundaries and are not hurt when others keep them
4. Struggling to keep boundaries is a manifestation of lack of self-worth
5. You are not required to give an explanation: silence is a response


SS:  Therapy isn’t a quick fix, it takes practice and consistency.  You have to do it over and over again until it becomes a part of who you are.  Do you recommend regular and consistent visits even when things are not in crisis?

Welcoming Wellness: Absolutely! There is always room for growth and clarity; therapy can help normalize emotions even when things aren’t in crisis. Your feelings aren’t wrong, or right actually, they are just very important indicators of what’s going on below the surface so it doesn’t matter if your feelings to don’t “measure up” to a crisis… they’re still real.

SS:  What does wellness mean to you and how do you use this in your practice?  

Welcoming Wellness:  To me, wellness means the state of being in good health and that includes emotional health. Therapy is HARD, just like physical exercise it hard, but with time you get healthier. I see therapy as a form of self care, similar to diet and exercise. Emotional wellness encompases a wide variety of components that includes us being attentive to our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Emotional wellness gives us the ability to be aware and accepting of our emotions, it allows us to cope with life’s challenges, and to keep problems in perspective.

For appointments with Morgan, in person or teletherapy, send her an email morgan@welcomingwellness.net.  Also, head over to the Welcoming Wellness website to learn more about their approach.  

As with anything that I share, feel free to reach out with questions or comments!

Follain: The Importance of Non-toxic Beauty


“I like my products like I like my people.  Non-toxic.”  

Taking care of my skin was instilled in me by my mother at a very young age  It makes sense, right? The skin is the largest organ in the human body and its purpose is protection, regulation, and sensation.  Over the years, I have really started paying attention to what is in my beauty products - from makeup to skincare.

Last week, I attended a clean beauty and wellness panel with Tara Foley (founder of Follain) and Rose-Marie Swift (founder of RMS Beauty), moderated by Jessica Morse (founder of Bare Beauty Blog and The Water Room).  The discussion was centered around how your wellness routine impacts your sleep patterns.  It was a real and raw conversation about the industry, where it used to be, where it is now, the trends of the pas, and the future of regulation.  

The origin of Follain is Irish Gaelic, with the meaning “healthy, wholesome, sound.”  Follain is one of the best beauty retailers providing the highest-performing, safest and 100% non-toxic products.  There is a “no toxins, no exceptions” rule for the products on their shelves, restricting over 30 ingredients.  And every product in their store goes through a rigorous five-step approval process.

Check out my interview below with the team of Follain about all things clean beauty.

SS:  What is non-toxic beauty and how can you tell if your products are really clean?  What should a customer look for and what should they avoid?

Up to 60% of everything you apply to your skin makes its way into your bloodstream. In the US, there is no governmental task force inspecting chemicals and ingredients used in personal care items. So ingredients like aluminum, found in antiperspirants, have free reign to run through your body, even though they’ve been scientifically linked to certain cancers, endocrine disruption, and Alzheimer’s disease.

However, that’s not the case in other parts of the world. In Europe, 1,500 toxic substances are actually banned from personal care products as well as 500 in Canada. In the United States, that number is just 30. Non-toxic beauty is derived from natural + safe synthetic ingredients, leaving out any ingredients that are known or suspected to be harmful in any way.

Customers should first start by looking at the list of ingredients in their products! Ingredients are listed from highest concentration to lowest. Then, look for any toxic ingredients. You can use our restricted ingredient list to know what to avoid and why each ingredient has been banned at Follain. Another helpful resource is our guide to popular toxins in the mass beauty market.

SS:  Over 1,500 substances are prohibited in Europe as too toxic for personal care, but only 30 in the US.  What do you envision for the future of the safety standards for the industry?


Our blog post here will give a more in-depth overview, but our hope is that green beauty becomes so ubiquitous that the need for Follain no longer exists. We want to see all beauty products and companies stand against animal cruelty, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish a list of restricted ingredients for personal care products and to recall products when necessary, more sustainable and green practices in beauty, and overall, better safety standards in the industry.

SS:  What is Follain’s approval process for identifying products?  Can you be both clean and efficacious?

No one should have to compromise their health for beauty. We follow a 5 step approval process, first searching for the highest quality products we can find. We’re not interested in carrying every product possible; we curate our selection to include only the best of the best, which is why we rarely carry a brand’s full product line. Next, we do the research so you don’t have to! We wouldn’t put anything that’s toxic on our skin, or yours. So before we go any further, we check each ingredient against our restricted list — which we continually update as new research comes out. We want to be absolutely sure we’re offering you the cleanest and most effective formulas. No downsides or compromises allowed. Once we’ve ensured safety, we test for effectiveness. For this, we turn to our beauty obsessed team as well as aestheticians, dermatologists, makeup stylists and other pros to use the product for a set amount of time and report back. We want to see how it works for a variety of skin types, ages and people. Tara personally tests every product, too. When we deem a product safe and effective, we go deeper with the maker, asking questions about process, purity and personality. We only work with people who build their brands on the values at the heart of this movement — supply chain safety, innovation and community building. And lastly, we launch!

SS:  How can Follain help a customer find the right non-toxic products for their skin type?  

Easy! Take the Follain Skin Quiz. This quiz will ask you a set of questions to narrow down to products that are best for you. We’ll then suggest a few products in each category for you to choose from (cleanser, toner, moisturizer, serum). We also offer skin + makeup consults (“Get a Clean Consult” button at the top of follain.com) through chat, phone, or in store. Rooted in our years of in-store experience, we’ll tailor a session to your exact needs, from a quick product question to a full analysis of your routine.

SS: What does wellness mean to Follain?

Wellness to Follain means taking small steps towards positive changes in your life. Whether this means switching over your skincare + beauty to nontoxic products, or trying a new exercise class! If nature is important to you, find a way to incorporate more outdoor time into your life. Maybe it’s a 5-minute stroll each day or a 30-minute hike once a week.  It’s all about finding health and happiness in your own unique way.

“You Do You”. If you can’t afford to switch over your entire skincare routine, start small! Make small steps each day, month, or year to create big change. And always do what feels right for you.

Head over to Follain’s website to shop all things clean beauty.  Use CODE: ref_sarahstarling for 15% off (with exclusions) your purchase.  

As with anything that I share, feel free to reach out with questions or comments!

A Consistent Meditation Practice with the Deliberate Method

Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet.  It is a way of entering into the quiet that is already there - buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day! ~Deepak Chopra

Throughout the ebb and flow of each day, I function with 1,000 tabs open in my brain.  I would guess there are many of you that feel the same way. Life is FULL - and full in a good way!  And in this full life, it’s extremely important to get to the point of knowing when to say no, knowing when to pause, and knowing how to recharge.

Mindfulness and meditation have helped me get to get to this point.  Don’t get me wrong, there are moments when I get in my head and over-analyze, but what brings me back to reality is the practice of stillness and silence.  

Did you know that spending 10 minutes a day on mindfulness can subtly change the way you react to everything?  In this article, Harvard Business Review shares five tips on how you can become more mindful.  Who doesn’t want to improve the way we engage with ourselves, with others, and with our work?  I have found a few different ways to meditate throughout my day - actions as simple as driving home from work in silence, practicing deep breathing exercises, and taking time for walking meditations and scheduling digital detoxes (especially in our over-scheduled days).  

See below for my interview with Hallie Buchanan and Lyn Talley of the Deliberate Method and their tips for a consistent meditation practice.  

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SS: Research has found that mindfulness training alters our brains and how we engage with ourselves, others, and our work. When practiced and applied, mindfulness fundamentally alters the operating system of the mind.  Why is meditation important to you and how has it impacted your life?

Lyn: It’s been a total game changer in my life when I really committed to creating a meditation practice. It’s reduced my anxiety and created more confidence in myself. I’ve connected more to my instincts, which has helped me make better & more aligned decisions in my business and supporting my clients.

Hallie: Quality of life, ease, joy, and freedom are core components to my existence and a major driving factor in the choices that I make. Over the years of studying what makes the most impact to creating the positive shift that I desire, it has become abundantly clear that the most effective way to create the things I desire is to shift my relationship to my mind and in turn the world around me. Meditation is the key to doing that.

SS:  Meditation + Mindfulness = Wholeness Why do you believe that mindfulness starts with meditation?  

Deliberate Method: Mindfulness does not have to start with meditation. You can start to be more mindful simply by becoming more awake and intune to the present moment throughout your day. We initially created Deliberate Method to support individuals in living mindfully in their real life. You can certainly experience a positive shift from doing this alone, but to truly create lasting change and establish a new way of existing in your day-to-day, a consistent meditation practice is key.

SS: What are the benefits of a successful meditation practice?  What are the most important elements to have a successful meditation practice?

Deliberate Method: The benefits of meditation are endless. It is one of the fastest growing bodies of research and a few of the benefits you will often find listed include: decreased emotional reactivity, improved cognitive flexibility, improved mood, improved impulse control, decreased anxiety, increased sense of calm.

We believe that the key element to creating a successful meditation practice is understanding your brain states. Rather than focus on length of time in meditation, focus on getting to the Alpha state. Rather than struggle in your meditation practice because your brain is over activated in Beta, learn how to work your brain down the rungs of the ladder, so to speak, so that you can train your brain to reach an Alpha state more regularly. This supports a reduction in stress, increased productivity, clarity, and even joy.

SS:  Mindful Shift: Reclaim your headspace and dial into your ideal zone for productivity, clarity, and joy.  How will this program help someone master a daily meditation? When will this start and how do we sign up?  

Deliberate Method: This is a three month program and in month one, we educate people on the key factors of brain state that are critical to creating a successful meditation practice. We teach individuals our Basic 5 Step Meditation practice based on brain state. We guide them through the steps, provide context and education, alongside support and accountability.

Month two and three take them even deeper into the benefits of what a meditation practice can offer: mastering your mindset, claiming the way you want to feel and being able to access that feeling on demand, and intentionally creating a life that is aligned with your vision for yourself and your future.

Our next program starts November 5, although enrollment continues through November. Individual’s can schedule Mindset Reset Strategy calls where we will spend 30-45 minutes with the individual to determine their dominant brain state, it’s impact on their current life, and identify their goals for moving forward. If the program is a right fit for them, then we will offer them an opportunity to learn more.

To sign up for your Mindset Reset Strategy Session- email: hello@deliberatemethod.com

SS: What does wellness mean to the Deliberate Method?

Deliberate Method: Being balanced in body, mind, and spirit. Feeling and embodying the fullness of your experience. The natural state of life when in balance.

“Wherever you go, there you are.” If you don’t develop your relationship to yourself inside, then it is impossible to change your relationship to your life outside.

Interested in learning more about the Deliberate Method, check out their website.  

As with anything that I share, feel free to reach out with questions or comments!  

Personal Wellness Toolbox

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental & social-well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” - World Health Organization, 1948

Over the years, I have created my own personal wellness toolbox.  It is a place where I can go for resources to help me navigate through emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical, environmental, financial, occupational and social aspects of my life.  Full of resources, contacts, and essential information, these tools are on constant rotation.

Whether they are recipes from my notes when I was studying to become a Certified Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition; charts and readings from my annual call with astrologer Maryellen; notes from years of life coaching with Ash Cebulka (re-read my interview with her here), my toolbox helps me to get my hands back on the wheel.  It’s a place where I can go to find the tools to work through things when I feel “stuck”, to navigate through a difficult situation, or to simply recharge and refresh when the unexpected happens, and I become unbalanced.     

There are two tools, however, that I do not have on a constant rotation that have profoundly impacted my life - a monthly visit with my acupuncturist and my therapist (more on that later).

Before we dive into talking about the practice of acupuncture, let me tell you about Cythera.  Cythera is someone that puts her heart and soul into her work, guiding her patients through their journey.  She helps people overcome and embrace emotional challenges, as well as physical health, by accessing the power of infinite within.  

See below for my interview with Cythera Wilkerson, Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.), Diplomate of Oriental Medicine (Dipl. O.M.).

“Health is a complete state of harmony of the body, mind and spirit.  When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.” B.K.S. Iyengar

Wellness Concierge Cythera Wilkerson

SS:  When I tell people I see an acupuncturist monthly, one of the first questions I am asked is “what do you go for”?  My answer is always, EVERYTHING! Why is acupuncture such an effective therapy?

Cythera: I feel that acupuncture is such an effective therapy because it pays attention to the whole.  When someone comes in with pain, it is important to listen to the information that is physically presented through this pain and it is equally important to explore the other parts of the system and how they are impacting this pain.  We are complex, intricate individuals and all areas of our life are multi-faceted, even something as seemingly simple as back pain. We experience trauma and judgement in our lives and we try to store it away. Acupuncture is a modality that allows these held areas to awaken and evolve.

SS: In addition to Acupuncture, can you speak to the benefits of Gua Sha, Cupping, and Chinese Herbs?  How would you define the difference between Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine?

Cythera: Gua sha, cupping, and Chinese herbs are three of the tools we use to help support the treatment principles which have been defined for each individual getting a treatment.  A common treatment principle for athletes is blood stagnation (blood not moving in an area which causes pain) from the extensive use of certain muscle groups. I might supplement the points I have needled with some gua sha in the area of pain because it is helpful in blood movement (Gua sha is a small tool used in a scraping motion on the skin).  I might also prescribe a formula with blood moving herbs to help support the work done in the treatment.

Western medicine is often focused on treating the presenting symptoms of a patient with less of an emphasis on the underlying factors, lifestyle components, and emotional health.  Chinese medicine has strengths in examining the situation slowly, paying close attention to elements of the whole system. Western medicine has strengths in treating symptoms that need immediate care, particularly to those that are life-threatening.  These are generalizations of experiences and stories I have heard from both. Many Western Doctors practice with a holistic approach and many Doctors of Oriental medicine practice with expediency and are adept in working in situations that require urgent care.

SS: What advice would you give to someone that is seeking out treatment for the first time?   

Cythera: There are a lot of different acupuncturists that practice in a lot of different ways.  Some really resonate with patients who are dealing with physical pain, others specialize in neurological disorders or autoimmune conditions while others enjoy work with psycho-emotional imbalances.  It’s important to know what you want to explore with a practitioner and find one that fits your mold (which is becoming increasingly available as the field grows!). Other than that, try to enter into the experience with openness to the possibility for change.  One of the biggest barriers to our health is the patterns we get into with our pain. Working to help shift some of those patterns can provide relief for many people.

Wellness Concierge Acupuncture

SS: Can you speak to the importance of building a long-term relationship with a practitioner as they provide treatment?

Cythera: One of the main benefits of working with a practitioner long-term is that it provides the body and mind a space and commitment to healing in a safe environment. We all have some resistance to newness and the practices and shifts acupuncture may ask of your system take time to “settle in”.  Learning to trust someone who provides resources that are supportive to your health is a valuable relationship to have and that can take some time to establish.

SS: What does wellness mean to you?

Cythera: Wellness is about understanding what your body is asking of you with the symptoms it’s showing you.  It’s about taking time to hear the body with an open, non-judgmental heart. It’s about trusting the moment and whatever that moment has to bring you, even when it involves pain.  It’s about reaching out for a community to support you and an ear to listen when that pain feels like it’s too much to handle on your own.

“Things don’t really get solved.  They come together and they fall apart.  Then they come together and fall apart again.  It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” ~ Pema Chodron

Interested in making an appointment with Cythera, check out the Blue Heron Acupuncture & Apothecary website for availability and to learn more about the different services they offer.  

As with anything that I share, feel free to reach out with questions or comments!

Wellness from Within

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients.” -Julia Child

Where did your journey to a healthier life start?  Was it something for you that made you think, “Hmm, what are ways that I can make small shifts in my day to day to achieve optimal health?  Are there things that I am doing on a regular basis that make me feel great, or not so great?”

For me, the journey started from within.  You see, at 28, I found myself on three major pharmaceutical medications.  Eventually, the side effects from the medications became harder to deal with than the “hard things” that they were supposed to be treating.  

That's when I started researching alternative ways to heal!  I am a believer that living a healthy life includes all essentials for well-being: emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical, environmental, financial, occupational, social.  The fuel that drives this is the food that we put into our bodies!

It has taken years for me to get to know what foods work for me.  How I eat is going to affect me differently than how you eat, and in my opinion knowing this is extremely important. Listen to what your body is telling you.

See below for my interview with Dana Bufalino, a certified holistic health coach and a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to understand her approach to the importance of nutrition and holistic living.


SS: “Let food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.” - Hippocrates, 460 BC.  Studies show that there is a real power in food. What you eat can have extreme benefits towards your overall health, allowing for a happier and longer life.  In your education and training, what are the most important foods to add to your diet?

Kind Roots: You’re speaking my language. That's my favorite quote! I truly feel we have the ability to heal ourselves with food every time we sit down to the table….which should be at least 3 times per day. Skipping meals or eating food that doesn’t support us is like putting sand in a gas tank. We can’t run well on bad fuel.

With that in mind, REAL food is the most important food that we can add to our diet. So many people in our society are pressed for time so are eating processed, food-like substances that lack nourishment and nutrients. Replacing processed foods with whole foods - vegetables, fruits, whole grains, meat/fish (if you wish) and healthy, unprocessed fats - will help alleviate inflammation, help drop the weight, prevent and treat so many ailments, the list goes on.

Within the real food realm? VEGETABLES. A piece of advice I often give: fill your plate with a rainbow of vegetables at each meal. It will give you a high nutrient profile, great fiber, alkalize your body and fill you up!

SS: As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, what is your approach to working with clients to help them feel wonderful, from the inside?  What are some of your specialties?

Kind Roots: When I start a relationship with a new client, my first matter of business is usually re-establishing their relationship with food…..helping them understand how to eat mindfully and that food can heal and fuel your body. Food is NOT the enemy.

I especially love helping clients alleviate migraine, many common skin issues and helping women regulate their cycles after birth control. I also have something very special relating to fertility in the works with Blue Heron Acupuncture & Apothecary that I am very excited about and will be announcing soon! Stay tuned!


SS: In this fast paced world that we live in, what are your tips for staying healthy on the go?  

Kind Roots: Plan ahead! Have healthy snacks/meals on hand. If the healthy option is the most convenient one, it takes more effort to be bad than it does to be good. Look at menus online to decide what you’ll order BEFORE you’re sitting at the restaurant with an empty stomach

Also, make food in bulk! Instead of making dinner for two, make it for four and save the additional portions for lunch the next day. Why do twice the work?

SS: Are there added benefits to your health by eating seasonally?  If so, what should we focus on when preparing meals during Summer / Fall / Winter / Spring?

Kind Roots: Absolutely! There are so many benefits to aligning your body with the seasons.

A few tips:
Summer: Lighten up! Summer is the season to eat raw foods that are cooling to the body so load up on fresh produce. It’s readily available and SO tasty! Fruits, raw lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, the list goes on!
Fall: Many foods that are harvested in Fall are (very conveniently) known to repair damage from summer months (sun exposure, dryness, etc.). Load up on squash, pumpkin, apple. Start to eat warmer foods as the temperature falls.
Winter: Ditch the smoothies and cold salads and opt for warm, nurturing soups, stews, teas instead. Keep that body temperature up.
Spring: Most of Spring’s bounty is naturally detoxifying. Cool, right? Asparagus, artichokes, etc. - all very detoxing to the body. Pay attention to nature’s influence and “detox” the rest of your diet as well. “Spring cleaning” is a phrase for a reason, after all.

SS: What does wellness mean to Kind Roots?

Kind Roots: Wellness means treating your body kindly from an all-encompassing standpoint. Eating food that fuels your unique body, practicing daily habits that feel good + make you happy, creating a positive environment for yourself, surrounding yourself with supportive, inspiring individuals. The good and bad news: there is no one size fits all approach. It is individual to YOU! Listen to your body and trust your gut - it will tell you what supports you!

“One man’s poison is another man’s penicillin.” We are all unique individuals who thrive on different foods and lifestyle choices. Find what works well for you and don’t compare your journey to your neighbor’s.

Interested in working with Dana, check out Kind Roots.  If you are in Charleston, you can make an appointment at Blue Heron Acupuncture & Apothecary for a nutrition consultation.  

As with anything that I share, feel free to reach out with questions or comments!

Hungry for HUSTLE

What attracts you to a company?  For me, in the world of health and wellness, it's the people and their enthusiasm for their product, along with the products themselves and the services they provide for the consumer.    

The founders of HUSTLE Smoothie Bar, have a contagious zest for life, for each other, and for their product.  Friends turned business partners, Helen, Kelly and Alicia, opened the smoothie bar with the simple goal of promoting an encompassing lifestyle of wellness.  

Every smoothie on their menu contains one HUSHUP + HUSTLE Blender Bomb.  My daily smoothies have never been better.  Whether making a smoothie at home or driving 20-minutes to pick one up, it's become a healthy addiction of mine.  My go-to favorites are The Peppermint Cacao and The Ginger Turmeric, always with Grain-Free Granola on top!

Check out my interview below to learn more!  

"I'm a hustler, baby!  I just want you to know." Jay-Z

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SS: I have an addiction, but in a healthy way!  For those that have not tried Blender Bombs, how do they make your smoothies unique?  

HUSTLE: Blender bombs are made with whole ingredients and make your smoothie a real meal replacement! They’re the perfect blend of protein, fiber and healthy fats to not only make your smoothies taste delicious but to keep you full longer!

SS: We are lucky in Charleston that we are able to come to the store (especially on the way to the beach)!  For those that are making Blender Bomb smoothies at home, what is your go-to recipe to share?

HUSTLE:  Our signature smoothie is the Chocolate Cravings Smoothie - made with cacao instead of cocoa and it’s a guarantee to curb your sweet tooth cravings!


Chocolate Cravings Smoothie
1 Cacao Coffee Almond Butter BB
1 frozen banana
4 ounces Hustle Mylk
1 Tablespoon almond butter
1 Tablespoon cacao powder

Note: You can also add 1 tablespoon of ground espresso for a little kick :) We use Second State Coffee in all of our smoothies.


SS: HUSTLE started as a pop-up location.  Do you have plans to expand?  If so, can you share? 

HUSTLE: OH YES! We want everyone everywhere to be able to stop by Hustle Smoothie Bar for a quick meal replacement option that is actually healthy! And tasty :) We plan to stay in Mount Pleasant but want to expand throughout the Charleston area (for all of our regular commuting guests!) then continue to grow.

SS: Helen, Kelly, Alicia - you are team of powerhouse entrepreneurs!  What advice do you have to those starting out with a new endeavor? What makes for successful collaboration and creating the perfect team?  

HUSTLE: A couple book recommendations for you!

1. The Magic of Thinking Big. This one will apply not only to your business but in every other aspect of your life. My personal fave :)

2. The E Myth - my biggest takeaway from this book was learning the different qualities of a successful business owner: you must channel your inner-entrepreneur, inner-manager and inner-technician and find the perfect balance between all three. Finally, you MUST believe and make decisions knowing that you are successful. Be smart but take chances and surround yourself with like-minded individuals who will support you. This endeavor was a huge team effort and we couldn’t have done it without all three of us and without our friends, family and community by our side.

SS: What does wellness mean to the HUSTLE team?

HUSTLE: Life is all about balance. “Sugar is bad for you” - ok well we put sweet delicious, organic fruit and local honey in our smoothies along with other powerful vitamins and nutrients to create a healthy, tasty smoothie for our guests. Wellness is about listening to your body’s ACTUAL needs - not what magazine articles and cereal boxes tell you because everyone is different. We also want to promote an overall lifestyle of wellness - we offer a 15% SWEAT discount if you come to Hustle right after your workout! We’re here to fuel your healthy, happy life :)

To make your favorite smoothie at home, head over to their website to order Blender Bombs and Grain Free Granola!  And for an extra treat, all HUSTLE retail products are 15% off through August.  Use CODE sarahstarling at checkout for your gear!    

As with anything that I share, feel free to reach out with questions or comments!  

The innate hunger to build, create, do something & try.
The ability to make things happen in light of knowing how to get there, but operate with the general principle that actions breed results.


Branch Basics and the Power of Pure


“If we can help change even one person’s life for the better with our products and education, then we consider it a success.  But of course, it is our utmost desire to enable and inspire as many people as we possibly can to live life clean and experience the power of pure as we have.”  
~Branch Basics

Finding cleaning supplies that are simple, affordable, and sustainable has been a challenge.  Not to mention, making sure the products work!  

I met the founders of Branch Basics at W.E.L.L. Summit in Boston this past April, and immediately fell in love with the Branch Basics story and mission.  This company is driven by a passion to help us thrive in our everyday lives.  They do this through their products with the goal of hopefully empowering customers to make daily decisions that positively impact health.  

Check out my interview below with one of the founders, Allison Evans to learn more about this amazing company!   

SS: Thank you for creating Branch Basics!  Did the idea to develop this product start after the Summer Detox you all spent together in the Texas Country? 

Branch Basics: We always say, “We never set out to sell soap”, and that statement is so true! Branch Basics is so much more than a cleaning line, but instead we use our products as a vehicle to educate and inspire others to create a healthy home in hopes that they, too, can experience a transformation in their health as we did. In that sense, absolutely, the “Summer Detox” was the launching pad for our company - when Kelly’s and my eyes were opened to just how powerful living in a truly clean environment really is. We learned that the things we put in, on and around our bodies can serve to rob and undermine our health efforts or to enhance and launch us to new heights. For me, this meant the reversal of severe PCOS, chronic pain resembling MS, and the inability to conceive naturally...all of which are things of the past!

SS: A lot of people say they have a hard time switching to non-toxic ingredients because they are not as powerful or effective.  What makes Branch Basics different, is there anything that it cannot clean?

Branch Basics: That is one of the main reasons it took us over 18 months and 100 iterations to create our formula! We knew that not only did it need to pass our high standards of safety (every single ingredient is pure, rated 1 on the EWG, and safe to use on the body), but it had to work! If not, people would move on. Branch Basics concentrate is unique in that it is ONE formula that, diluted with different amounts of water, can replace virtually every cleaner in your home. We joke that there’s not a stain it can’t remove! :) 


SS:  What is the mission of Branch Basics and what can we do to help spread the word?  

Branch Basics: As mentioned above, our mission is to educate and inspire others to create a healthy home, thus transforming their health. To this end, we share articles ranging from the importance of ridding the home of all toxic pesticides, cleaners, etc. and eating real food to the negative effects of EMFs and benefits of grounding. Basically, we believe true health is experienced when we can get “back to basics” and choose pure food and products for our homes and bodies. Pointing people to the plethora of articles on our blog, following us on social and encouraging others to take steps toward going “back to basics” is the most powerful way to spread the word!

SS: What does wellness mean to the Branch Basics Team?

Branch Basics: Wellness means getting back to basics - eating real food, thinking positively, and using clean products on ourselves and in our homes, thus allowing our bodies’ natural propensity to heal really kick in. We believe so much in the “power of pure”, as we have each witnessed first hand just how transformative a clean lifestyle can be. It can prevent cancer, reverse disease, rid of chronic symptoms, end infertility...the list goes on. 

SS: One of my favorite resources on your website (besides the shop) is The Branch Basics Soapbox.  Other than cleaning products, what are your top rules for living a nontoxic life? 

Branch Basics: The number one thing we tell people - the first place to start! - is to rid your home of all toxic pesticides, cleaners, synthetic fragrances, etc. Just get ‘em out! This one step is absolutely critical in the healing process and can do wonders overnight to your home’s indoor air quality. Use truly non-toxic cleaners and safe pesticide alternatives, when necessary. (They really do work!) Then look at your food - does it have added preservatives, dyes, flavorings? Is it clean and pesticide-free? Eating real food is truly medicine for the body. And what about the products we use daily on our bodies? Since our skin is our largest organ, these should be clean and free of health-robbing ingredients. And, of course, we are huge believers in the power of pure, positive thoughts. Take baby steps, move at a pace that doesn’t induce stress, because this alone can be toxic to the entire body. So, essentially, get “back to basics” and you will surely begin to experience the “power of pure” as so many others have!

For more information about Branch Basics head over to their website and be sure to use this code for a discount off your purchase! 

Discover Your Passions by Being Passionately FREE

Welcome to Sarah Starling, Wellness Concierge™, a platform to connect those who seek empowerment through health and well-being.

Through my own wellness journey, I have been fortunate enough to connect with thought-thinkers and change-makers.  

I thrive by learning and expanding; sometimes through experiences that I seek and other times through experiences that happen to me.  Instead of directly sharing my story right now, let me start by sharing the stories of the people and companies that have left, and continue to leave, an impact on my life.  

The programs and products that my go-to experts have created, have enhanced all aspects of my well-being: emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical, environmental, financial, occupational, social.  

It’s an honor to first introduce Ash Cebulka!  Check out our interview below. If only I could insert the sound of the cicadas chirping in the background while we sat in her backyard in Charleston sipping on Rose!


SS: For those that have never worked with a coach, how would describe your work?   

Ash: Well I don’t like titles, as you know, but the one that fits the most as of right now is Transformational Lifestyle Coach.  How do I describe my work? I help women who are either in a big life transition, or who want to go through a big life transition, navigate their way through a messy time in their life while helping them listen to and trust their intuition as they uncover their purpose and launch a purpose driven career.  

SS: Wellness, it is the IT the topic right now.  What does wellness mean to you?

Ash: To me it means taking care of your WHOLE BEING – mind, body spirit, and emotions.  It’s taking care of all aspects of your life. When I say taking care, it means educating yourself beyond what you even think is possible in any realm.  There is such a heavy emphasis on food and exercise, which is great and a part of wellness; but wellness is also making sure you are getting adequate rest, educating yourself about the sh!# that no one wants to educate themselves about - like finances and other areas of life that are points of stress.  Focus on these areas that bring up stress so that you can feel empowered. That is involved in wellness. Doing all of that helps you tap into your well-being.


SS: Passionately Free, you’ve described these as two of your favorite words!  Why?

Ash: Before we learn a bunch of dumb sh!# from the world, we are all born knowing that we are all Passionately Free.  I think that at our core that is who we truly are. We are born into this world full of passion, enthusiasm, and excitement; look at children they are such a great example of it.  Naturally feeling freedom, because freedom is a state of mind – I don’t equate it to how a lot of other people look at freedom, like having certain abilities to do things. I think that is part of it, but it really all starts in our mind and our emotional and mental well-being.  To me, I want to help people return to that remembrance of who they really are!

SS: Returning to Remembrance, I am certain is part of your Passionately Free Program that is launching next week.  Tell me about it!

Ash: I am SO excited about it!  Passionately Free - A surprisingly simple guide to help you uncover your passions, launch a purpose driven career and become the woman you were born to be.  It’s an online program filled with the best tools, practices, and strategies to help women eliminate overwhelm and take precious care of themselves, while they launch a purpose driven career.  It’s for women who are in a career that they cannot stand and want to dramatically change. To a woman who is a stay at home mom and hasn’t worked in 10 years plus and knows she wants to do something to tap into that passion, but has no idea on how to even start.  The online course has modules that you can do whenever and however you please, and you also get coaching calls - two personal one-on-one calls, as well as group coaching and access to an amazing group of women who are going the course with you. Truly building a community of women on a mission!  

SS: What is your biggest advice to creating what we truly want in this world?  

Ash: To me, this is four parts:

  1. You’ve gotta use your imagination, truly dream without any limits.  Because that is the gateway, showing you the coming attractions, that is what your imagination has the ability to show you!   Anchor into the practice of using your imagination often and trust what you see and don’t obsess about the how. Stay anchored into your vision, into the practice of using your imagination and stay curious about how it is going to happen.  

  2. Drop the shit about other people’s expectations and judgements of you.  If you really want to go after life and create what you want, you’ve gotta put on a little bit of blinders to other people’s opinions, limiting beliefs and fears.  Otherwise it is too easy to buy into other people’s stories. You are not here to live for them, you are here to live for yourself!

  3. Don’t just dream about it, do something about it.  You have to take action, because shit is not going to be handed to you on a silver platter.  No business gets off the ground by just thinking. Apple didn’t come about by Steve Jobs just dreaming, he took action.  Take action regularly.

  4. Know that fear is going to be part of it and you just have to move through it!  And the best way to move through fear is to take action!

For more information about Ash’s work, head over to her website and be sure to check out her new program Passionately Free!

As with anything that I share, feel free to reach out with questions or comments!  

“I believe we all have special gifts and a unique purpose inside of us.
It’s our responsibility to know what they are and how to share them with the world.
Owning your story, knowing your vision for the future and trusting your gut is the gateway to creating a life you love!”
~Ash Cebulka