One of my favorite discoveries this past summer (thanks to my friend Chrissy of In My Closet Blog) is GAIA Empowered Women - not only for the colorful fashion and home accessories but also for the purpose. Founder Paula Minnis created this online store in 2009 which employs refugee artisans in Dallas to create the website's goods, all made with sustainable materials. Now available on several online sites, as well as boutiques across the country, GAIA is transforming lives while also transforming homes and closets, including my own! I urge you all to check out the site and support these refugees, and in the meantime, here is a glimpse of the life of Paula Minnis.
Favorite Places -
Hotel? - Lake Palace Hotel in Udaipur, India
Resort? - Four Seasons Hualalai
Destination with kids? - Bachelor Gulch in Beaver Creek, CO
Destination with husband? - Mexico City
Solo destination - Antigua, Guatemala
Restaurant with husband? - Parigi (Dallas)
Restaurant with kids? - Fernando’s Mexican
Do you prefer the city or country? Depends on my state of mind.
The mountains or beach? - Same as above!
Boutique for yourself? - Cabana (Dallas)
Boutique for your kids? - Maisonette (online)
Home decor store? - Wisteria (online & in Dallas)
Jewelry store? - Aside from my wedding ring and 2 gold necklaces I never take off, I pretty much exclusively wear GAIA jewelry. Skincare store? - Greenway Shop (online & Dallas)
Travel Style -
Uniform? Easy throw-on dresses and K. Jacques sandals in the spring/summer; Sweater + rag & bone jeans in the fall/winter, with Isabel Marant boots
Accessories? GAIA, obvs!
Skincare on board? ‘Simple’ micellar wipes + SKII overnight miracle mask
Travel carry-on? Longchamp Le Pliage Expandable Travel Bag
Luggage? Tumi and Samsonite
En Route -
Favorite airline? - British Airways
Airplane activity for kids? - ‘Penguino’ Travel Boxes
Must-have for your child’s carry-on? - books, colors, snacks, blanket
Must-have for your carry-on? - Huge water bottle, snacks, books, and lip balm
Favorite travel gadget? - iPhone!
General travel tips? - Expect and be prepared for flight delays.
Looking back -
Best travel memory? Traveling to Africa (Tanzania, Zambia, Zanzibar, and Capetown) with my husband for our honeymoon
Most memorable meal? Private dinner under the stars on the rooftop terrace of the Taj Lake Palace Hotel in Udaipur, India.
On your bucket list? - Returning to Africa with my children
Mom uniform? Midi Dress (Ace & Jig, Ulla Johnson, Natalie Martin, and Doen are favorites)
Date night uniform? Same as above, just with heels!
Favorite shopping website for yourself? - Doen and ShopBop
Favorite shopping website for your kids? - Maisonette
Morning routine? - Wake up between 5:30 & 6am, wash face, start coffee, meditate for 20 minutes, work on computer for 30 min to 1 hour, get ready, wake up my 6 yr old twins, prepare their breakfast, then prepare their lunch while they eat. Out the door by 7:45 if we’re lucky!
Favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes - Breakfast: Jaded Ginger Snap smoothie from The Gem; Lunch: Whole Foods sandwich & chips; Dinner: sushi or my husband’s spaghetti with meat sauce.
Skincare routine? - AM: splash with water, then SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic followed by a face oil (either Vitner’s Daughter or Sunday Riley Juno), NeoCutis Lumiere Bio-restorative Eye Cream. PM: Avene Retrinal .05 cream + NeoCutis eye cream. Occasional masks/treatments - Sunday Riley, Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel, Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask, SKII Overnight Mask
Beauty tip? - Sleep!!
Favorite perfume? - Rose 31 by Le Labo or an Amber Roll-on fragrance from Whole Foods
Favorite room in your house? my “Mom Cave”, the screened-in porch
Favorite piece of furniture? - Turkish Bone-inlay table that converts to a backgammon board that once belonged to my mother
Favorite piece of art? - Jeff Koons ‘Puppy’, given to me by my husband when we got married
On your playlist? - This is so cheesy, but I really love this Pandora station called “Hipster Cocktail Party”, which is really funny because I don’t think I’ve ever been to one!
Bedding? - Boll & Branch and Matteo
On your nightstand? - Books and more books
On your reading list? - The Fox Hunt; Now Say This: The Right Words to Solve Every Parenting Dilemma; Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Recommended books? - Exit West by Mohsin Hamid; The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu; The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead; All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr; Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
Favorite magazine? - Domino
Favorite app? Waze
Favorite Instagram account? - @natgeo for inspiring images; @bobgoff for inspiring words.
Best piece of advice? - "If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff."
Favorite charity or cause? International Rescue Committee