Rare Blooms

Stories of Resilience & Transformation

Kayten Schmidt

Kayten Schmidt

The Los Angeles based artist on real beauty and inspiration.

Q: What does a sacred space look like for you?

A: An elegant hotel room, I am my best self in a hotel. My mind is so clear when I'm alone in a hotel room, it's both a necessity and a luxury to sleep in one as often as possible. A space that I am not allowed to clutter or neglect.

Q: What does real beauty mean to you?

A: Real beauty means doing whatever you need to feel beautiful. Everyone has something beautiful about them. The right song, the right company, the right sheets or trousers or coat or shoes. The right gait when you walk. The right scent. You'll know when you land on it. I believe less is more when it comes to beauty, clean skin and makeup for fun. For me that is washing my face, putting on a rich cream like the Taos Blue Day Cream and a little red lipstick.

Q: How do you find inspiration when starting a project?

A: Writing and looking at a lot of imagery. Writing out the concept. Inspiration is a constant stream to tap into, it's finding the concentration and focus that is the challenge.

 

Q: How do rituals shape your day?

A: Rituals are a new thing for me, I am resistant to routine to a fault. I rebel against everything for no reason. Rituals are so important though! With work I've gotten into a flow and a ritual of archiving and going through my archive which takes forever, but it feels so right in my brain that I'm now addicted to doing a bit each day. It feels ritualistic bc it's a little pointless and redundant yet I want to do it just for the sake of doing it. On Mondays my boyfriend and I try to go for sushi in Little Tokyo for lunch and plan the week, a shared ritual.

Q: ⁠⁠What is your morning or evening routine?

A: Morning I wake up and make some Mariage Freres Tea, very strong. Then I start working in the morning light if I'm shooting or I catch up on email stuff. At some point I wash my face and put on a ph balancing toner and a face serum like Ayond's Rock Rose, my skin is fairly oily so I don't need much during the day. Then the day sort of flies by, I work out in the afternoon/evening, usually a neighborhood run or walk. Then I'll shower and this is where the real moisturizing begins, starting with Metamorph Cleansing Balm in the shower, and a mud mask on my pores. Afterward I put a rich cream on my face and a dab of Amber Elix oil on my face and generously on my décolletage and the tops of my arms and sometimes on my stomach. Then to bed early. Sleep on a silk pillowcase it really helps with wrinkles.

Shop Kayten's routine with the Resilience Collection.

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Kim Mupangilai

Kim Mupangilai

The Belgian Congolese architect paints a story around the importance of healing spaces.

Q: What does a sacred space look like for you?

A: Sacred space to me translates to ‘home’. Not so much the physical space, such as a house but more so the feeling. Home to me is a feeling of belonging, where my heart feels comfortable with all its surroundings. A space where I feel safe and secure and where I experience emotional warmth and the freedom to express myself, because my ideas and attitudes are in sync with those who I share ‘space’ with and that to me is sacred.

Q: ⁠⁠What is your morning or evening routine?

A: As I strongly inherited my love for skincare from my grandmother and mother, I take great pride in saying that I have had a skincare routine since I was 15. My typical morning routine consists of damping my face with cold water and microfoliating it with a concoction of Japanese rice powder, followed by patting my face with a blend of three skin-softening acids. I let it dry for a minute or two to then spray my face with rosewater. Once my face is hydrated, I then apply a vitamin C serum followed by the Taos Blue Day Cream, which makes my skin feel so hydrated and refreshed. My final and last step is applying 2-3 drops of the Amber Elix Face Oil to create that extra dewy look which leaves my skin feeling nurtured and looking glowy.

Q: Where do you draw inspiration to design?

A:  From the small and grand things in life. It can be as simple as seeing a certain composition created by shadow play on a walk with my partner to traveling to a different country and experiencing a different culture. Overall, I believe most of my inspiration comes from experiences in my daily life and not so much from books or the Internet/social media. The beauty of inspiration is that it is everywhere around us and we don’t always have to google it.

Q: What does resilience mean to you?

A: Resilience to me means to not be afraid of failure when you are trying something new or when you are just working towards your dream. There will always be things that don’t meet our expectations along the way. When we see other people “got it right” the first time, it’s most likely preceded by mistakes that we don’t see. Because failure is more certain than success, standing up after a failure is a much more important skill to learn than preventing the failure itself.

Q: Where do you draw inspiration from when designing?

A: When designing, my first inspiration comes from the client I’m creating for. Paired with the idea of bringing one’s private home into existence as well as opening it up to others as a space almost perfectly coincides with how I like to think about a space. By not only understanding the environmental aspects, I translate space, shape and form through understanding what one values in life. With the purpose to then better grasp and shape an interior, so that the interior reflects them. I’ve always been driven by the interior and the psychology of it, so when I design, I seek a balance and assemble both worlds—the interior space and the mind space.

 

Shop Kim's routine with Taos Blue Day Cream and Amber Elix Face Oil.

 

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Quenton Stuckey

Quenton Stuckey

The modern dancer and singer opens up about resilience and accepting yourself.

Q: What was one defining moment for you, in your life?

A: ⁠⁠Coming out to my father was definitely a defining moment for me. My dad is a preacher, so you can imagine the challenges growing up as a closeted black queer. I spent years living in my truth without him knowing. I felt I was strong enough to carry my pain and resentment. I was wrong lol. A series of events eventually lead me to discover that although I was living my truth to some, I was never going to accept or love myself until I confronted the person I needed that love from the most.

Q: ⁠⁠What is your morning routine?

A: I usually wake up at an ungodly early hour(not on purpose). Meditate or wash the dishes from the night before while listening to a podcast. I then do my skincare which starts with a cleansing face oil, the toner that all the girls foam at the mouth about (P50 1970), and then two-three drops of my Amber Elix Oil. I finish with an SPF.

Q: What does resilience mean to you?

A: I actually have been meditating on this for weeks and I'm not totally sure. To me, resilience is being black. It means adaptability, flexibility, and determination. This could be the dancer in me, but I think it also means conditioning.

Q: What is your idea of a healing space?

A: A good bath, a trip to the sea, riding in the car with your friends while listening to any throwback, and the feeling you get when you laugh so hard you can't breathe.

 

Q: What is real beauty to you?⁠⁠

A: Real beauty is anyone not pressed about how they are perceived, and my mother's smile.

Quenton is pictured with Amber Elix Face Oil

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Sissy Chacon

Sissy Chacon

The Los Angeles based stylist shares her feelings on beauty.

Q: What is real beauty to you?⁠⁠

A: I think real beauty springs from kindness, knowing who you are, and loving unconditionally.

Q: ⁠⁠What is your morning or evening routine?

A: I use a microcurrent device and red light therapy a few times a week. In the morning, after washing my face with warm water, I apply AYOND Amber Elix Face Oil to my face, neck, and décolletage followed by spf 30-50, and very simple makeup.

In the evening I wash my face with AYOND Metamorph Cleansing Balm, followed by the Amber Elix Face Oil and moisturizer.

Q: How important is the relationship of design and its environmental impact on the world to you?

A: It is important to me, so I am grateful for those who offer a product designed with low environmental impact so I have more opportunities to choose the least harmful option.

Q: What does resilience mean to you?

A: To me, resilience involves a lifelong cycle of factors, choices, redemption, healing, forgiveness, and responsibility. I think it goes hand in hand with having good character.

Q: What is your idea of a healing space?

A: When I can’t easily access a lush verdant forest on a tropical island, I resort to my own head for a good old fashioned attitude adjustment. I’ve worked hard to build a decent toolbox for that.

Q: What was one defining moment for you, in your life?

A: I kept a secret of a traumatic experience for decades. I was a child and didn’t understand the experience the way I would later in life. Understanding it came in stages, and over many moments of revelation as I matured and my awareness deepened . I carried it in silence to protect the people the women I loved most in my life. Only this year did I begin to put together how I still repeat certain patterns to this very day. I have come to believe that I redeemed that trauma for a good life. And I like the person I am. I appreciate how it shaped me. I can be of good counsel to myself, I am skeptical and cautious, I have developed a rich inner world, and I feel a sense of responsibility and protection to my creative community, even if from a distance. I don’t define myself by my trauma though, but by my authentic self and my character which were unearthed by that moment, only understood over a lifetime, and surely to be understood with greater depth and clarity throughout my remaining time on this planet.

 

Shop Sissy's routine with Amber Elix Face Oil and Metamorph Cleansing Balm.

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