On Being Green, Self-Love, and Writing : an Interview With Amy Jayne

Image from disguisedbyzebras.com
Image from disguisedbyzebras.com

Today I'm so excited to share an amazing interview with an amazing girl, who I discovered completely by accident through the Blogcademy forum and immediately felt a soul-deep click with. Amy Jayne's blog is one that inspires me daily, from treating my body with more care and knowing what I'm putting in it to following those wild dreams. Thank you so much for indulging me in this interview, my dear!

Hello Amy! Would you mind introducing yourself and what you do? Hey Indigo + all of the Spikes and Stardust readers, thank you for interviewing me for your AMAZING blog. My name is Amy Jayne and I run a Natural Lifestyle, Wellbeing & Beauty Blog named Disguised By Zebras. I set up my blog to help others make healthier & more mindful life choices as I document my green lifestyle journey. I write about self-love, being happy, nutrition tips, healthy recipes, inspiration and motivation posts, DIY skincare recipes, features on sustainable brands, natural beauty product reviews and posts on travel :)

The name of your blog, Disguised by Zebras, is FABULOUS. How did you come up with it and how has that name shaped your blogging experience thus far?Thank YOU! Obviously I love zebras. As well as loving the gorgeous animal, I became obsessed by zebras print around 6/7 years ago, I have zebra print shoes, t-shirts, suitcases, flip flops and blankets etc. So sometimes, I guess I can be 'disguised' by 'zebras' as I use zebra print as a part of my style identity.

Congratulations on graduating earlier this year!! As a fellow English Literature major, I was wondering what the landscape for us Lit kids looks like after school? Thank you again! Like all graduates, employers look for experience as well as academic qualifications. Over the three years at university I tried to do as MUCH work experience as possible. Not only does this look great for employers, it allows you to practice writing in different ways and identify what you enjoy! For a start, I started writing for music publications (Rock Industry & AltSounds), then I realised music journalism wasn't for me so I started writing for arts, culture + lifestyle publications - which I absolutely LOVE. Once you have your experience behind you it'll make it MUCH easier to walk into employment. You will also have a rough idea of what path you would like to take - which will reduce a lot of stress too!   The internet makes it SO much easier for writers to make money, we now have the accessibility to self-publish and sell e-books. Us Lit graduates are also sought after in the Digital Marketing sphere (eg. managing companies blogs, publishing press releases, writing website content, copywriting, writing SEO articles and managing business' social media platforms). I now manage content and social media campaigns for a digital marketing company, I'm soo happy to write all day even if it isn't about subjects I necessary enjoy.

Image from disguisedbyzebras.com
Image from disguisedbyzebras.com

Amy, I L-O-V-E all of your posts about cleaner eating, natural health and skincare, etc. Have you always been interesting in that kind of thing, or is it a more recent development in your life?THANK YOU for your kind words, I love that you enjoy my posts - it means a lot to me! I have always been interest in everything natural. I grew up on a small farm in the middle of nowhere so my childhood was spent running around fields, eating homecooked meals from our own produce, picking fruit, growing vegetables + rolling around in hay.   My loved ones health + wellbeing has an incredible effect on the way I live my life. Over the last 2 years, I have lost 4 family members to cancer. At first It made me panic. I was unbelievably sad and anxious. Since my nana passed away from leukemia last Christmas, I decided to channel all of my heartbreak into living a healthy, nutritious, toxic free life. And my blog is my way of encouraging others to live consciously, compassionately, healthily and happily.

Does blogging about healthy lifestyle choices help keep you accountable in your everyday life? Without a shadow of a doubt! Blogging about healthiness + self-love keeps me incredible focussed on keeping positive and mindful of my choices. When I have my down days, my blog helps cheer me up a lot. And I hope it helps all of my beautiful readers, too!

Your travel posts are so brilliant! There’s your personal stories, which are open and upbeat, advice about the city you were in, and specific places you recommend. Do you have any tips for someone traveling? My only traveling tip would be to plan beforehand. I love going to a new place with a brief idea of where to go. This will make sure you don't take up your sacred holiday time with researching an area.

Who are some of your heroes? Life inspirations, style mavens, people who make your soul shake.My nana and Bjork. My nana's positivity, strength & motivation will eternally inspire me. And Bjork's unique approach to music + style has always encouraged me to be creative.

You can only read one book, watch one movie, one television show, and listen to one album for a year. What would you choose and why?I don't like reading anything twice. But I could probably read Walden by Thoreau for a year. It would help me explore natural lifestyle and writing. I LOVE inspiration.   Moulin Rouge (or anything directed by Baz Luhrmann) - I don't really like watching anything over + over apart from Moulin Rouge or Romeo + Juliet or The Great Gatsby. These films make me sing, dance + cry. Luhrmann is unreal.   I'd watch Game of Thrones - I'm a huge lover of fantasy! There are so many storylines going on that I could easily get lost in the TV series for a year.   I'd listen to Waking The Fallen by Avenged Sevenfold - I'm a metal head at heart! I have been listening to this album for around 10 years now. This album motivates me as well as making me feel nostalgic of all of the times I have listened to this album throughout my life.

This is a space for you to leave any last remarks that you would like to share! Or, if you would like another question, here’s the last one: What advice would you give to yourself two years ago?The advice I'd give to myself would be to be present in every moment, cherish every second and to look for the positives in every situation. I find this helps me stay grounded and focussed on the 'now'.

Dismembered Barbies, Pop Culture, and Cats : an Interview with Gabriella

Image from www.pixieandpixier.com
Image from www.pixieandpixier.com

Today I have the pleasure of sharing an interview I did with Gabriella of  Pixie and Pixier, who is possibly one of my new favorite people. I found her blog when one of the Headmistresses of The Blogcademy retweeted her 1-month video recap, fell instantly in love, read nearly every page of her blog, and was itching to get to know her better. In the very short time we've known each other, I can tell you that she is a brilliant, creative, inspiring girl and a giant ray of sunshine on my twitter and instagram feeds.

Hey Gabriella! Would you mind introducing yourself and what you do?I’m a vegan cat lady who is obsessed with the internet and making things. I run an online shop, where I sell the clothing, jewellery, zines, and art that I make. I blog and make videos. Mostly, I’m just trying to figure out who I am and what I want to do.

I follow you on Instagram and have been following your travel to Hong Kong. What’s been your favorite experience thus far?Instagram BFFs! Hong Kong was insane. Going to Disneyland on Christmas day was a total game-changer and I now feel like I have to go for every holiday. Travelling is the greatest thing to do and is always full of amazing surreal experiences and also just really nice casual moments where life is just good. My favourites would have to be seeing a wild leopard mere metres away last year in South Africa, meeting one of my heroes, Kanye West, in an airport, and just walking around Venice Beach and feeling completely at home.

Any advice for crafty fashionistas who are traveling?Always keep your eyes open. Take photos. Be an awkward and embarrassing tourist. This applies to travelling the world or just going around your local neighbourhood. There is so much goodness and inspiration to see if we just bother to look. Oh, and always bring safety pins because no matter what you will lose a button or break a zip at some point.

You’ve also recently started a YouTube channel, right? How has that experience been for you, darling?Soooo weird! I wanted to do it for a while and eventually just made myself get over all the strangeness. It’s really fun though and feels special to connect with people on a different level. My channel is still pretty much in it’s foetal stage right now but it’s nice to try something totally new.

Image from www.pixieandpixier.com
Image from www.pixieandpixier.com

I’ve perused your Etsy shop (and tbh I want E V E R Y T H I N G) but my favorite item is your Barbie hand necklace. Which got me thinking, after lusting over it, how did you get into making jewelry? Especially cutting up Barbies and adorning their limbs as jewels.Thank you! I wear my Barbie necklace almost everyday and I can’t even tell you how many horrified looks I get or how petrified it makes small children! Which is what everyone wants in jewellery, right? I’ve been making stuff for about as long as I can remember. Since being about 10 I’ve been into the punk scene and obsessed with DIY, expressionism, and how people present themselves. I just really like the idea of wearing something that somebody has sat down and created with their hands. I couldn’t get what I wanted from the shops so I just made it myself. As for the Barbies, I had so many as a child and then I grew up and didn’t want to get rid of them so I just re-purposed them. What’s crazy is that I never cut one of my Barbie’s hair as a kid and now I have a box of their dismembered bodies under my bed!

A lot of what you sell in your store is pop culture based. How has pop culture affected your life, other than providing you an income?I live and breathe pop culture! Andy Warhol is my favourite artist and I’m obsessed with movies. I watch at least one movie everyday and it’s usually one of about 50 that are on repeat. A lot of what people are is the things that they like. When people tell you what movies or musicians they like you get an idea about who they are. When you look back at the phases of your life, a lot of it can be defined by what you were into at that point. Pop culture is powerful and fun, totally personal but also connecting. I think wearing a piece of jewellery with your favourite movie on let’s people know a little bit about who you are. And if someone sees you wearing Pretty in Pink earrings and they love the movie too, you can become instant BFFs!

How has life been since you left your day job? Also, kudos to supporting yourself doing what you love!!Well it’s only been a few weeks and most of it has been a holiday blur but I’m loving waking up and deciding how I want to spend my day. I’ve know for so long that I don’t want to work for someone else so I’m determined to make it work. Next year, next month, even next week, I might have another job but I know that the end goal is to work for myself.

Gabriella, I am smitten with all of your outfits! How did you discover your style? It’s so unique and colorful and, most importantly, fun.Why, thank you! I’m not sure I’ve discovered my style just yet. Sometimes I feel like I’m just fluttering around with no idea what I want to dress like but I think that’s the fun of it. It’s totally ok to dress like a different person every day of the week. For me, it’s important for something to feel special. I like to wear things that make me feel happy, powerful, and comfortable (both physically and psychologically) and that might put a smile on someone else’s face, too! It’s an overused cliché but just wear what you want. We’re all gonna die one day so I’ll wear this bright pink fur jacket to the grocery store if I want!

Image from www.pixieandpixier.com
Image from www.pixieandpixier.com

Who are some of your largest inspirations in life? Role models, dream makers, people who make your soul sing.Oh, so many people! Michael Jackson, Frida Kahlo, Amy Winehouse, Kanye West, Gala Darling, Mindy Kaling, Tavi Gevinson, David Bowie, the designers at Romance Was Born and Di$count, Jim Carey, Seth Rogen, Chris Farley, Steve Martin. So many people that I could probably never list them all!

You can only read one book, watch one movie, one television show, and listen to one album for the next year. What would they be?Ok. Book? I’d have to pick Chris Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-Conformity because I could never choose just one non-fiction and it about where my head is at right now. For the movie, Dumb & Dumber because it’s my favourite movie ever (and part of my shop namesake!) but the sequel is coming out this year so I don’t know if that would make it better or worse! The album would be Kanye’s College Dropout it is perfect and always relevant. Kanye has a bad rep and people always get confused when they realise how much I love him but this album is a masterpiece and it was his first one!

Herein I invite you to give any last words, advice, etc you’d like! If you need a question, here’s one instead: What would you say to someone who needs the last little push to follow their passion in life?For this I will say my 2014 resolution and ultimate goal/motto/drive in life – just do what you want. We can get so swept up in what others expect of us and what we expect of ourselves but you’re never going to get another chance to follow your dreams. Give yourself a chance, follow your passion, and do what you want. That’s all you ever need to know.

You can connect with Gabriella on her blog / etsy / instagram / bloglovin / pinterest / facebook / twitter / youtube