Thanks for stopping by! Here on BECOMING LOLA I share stories on becoming minimalist, as well as living a pure clean life as a style-obsessed digital nomad with a no BS approach to ethical fashion + travel. Grab a glass of wine and start here: Building A Minimalist Wardrobe.


Aug 25, 2016

the minimalist guide to free DIY gift ideas for all your friends

Giving gifts is a truly wonderful way to celebrate the gratitude you have for special ladies in your life, and with a little creative thinking, I've come up with great ways to create special experiential gifts that may be a neat way to express how we really feel. There are many ways to be loving and caring with just a little thought and originality. For those amazing friends and family members, here are a few ways to have a lasting memory that will last for years. Without further ado, heere are twenty-five ideas that may build a bridge, grow a relationship or even change a life... that you can give for no other reason than it's Thursday.

25 Minimalist Female Friendship Gift Ideas

1. Make dinner for a friend so they can relax and enjoy their evening.
2. Plant seeds of your friend's favorite flowers and decorate the planter with the type of flower it is.
3. Offer your babysitting services.
4. Offer you medical advocate services. Many of our friends and family members have medical procedures during the year that can be frightening, so offer your time to make sure that they get the care that they need for the appointment.
5. Offer your maid services for those friends who may be tight on time and really need some help in their home.
6. Offer your help with a specific outside chore, like planting a garden, or putting together a swing set for kids.
7. Offer your baking or cooking skills.
8. Create a coupon for "3 emergency calls" for a friend going through a tough time who may have rougher times at night.
9. Offer to go to an event that your friend has an interest in, even if you don't.
10. Create a coupon for "Spa Day at Your House." Offer a foot massage, or a manicure.
11. Share time doing a special project or hobby.
12. Teach someone a new skill. For example, if a friend is not computer savvy and needs help with Excel and you are an expert at it, then you can offer that as a gift.
13. Make a special CD with heart felt songs that your friend can remember and relate to good times and hard times together.
14. Offer your time to help your friend paint or wall paper a room.
15. Create a coupon for your cat-loving friend for "3 Kitty litter changes---meow!"
16. For your church going friend..."3 Sunday Morning Church Times Together."
17. Offer to do the grocery shopping for a friend.
18. Offer to help your friend quit smoking through daily support for 30 days.
19. Teach a friend to swim.
20. Make snow angels.
21. Be a work out buddy for a friend who needs a hand with losing weight and eating better.
22. Offer to do a friend's ironing for a week.
23. Offer to help a friend move or arrange a room in need of love.
24. Offer to teach your younger family member how to drive.
25. Create a coupon for "10 Hugs for No Reason Other Than I Love You."

No matter what you decide to write on your coupons, keep the gift to something that is needed and would be appreciated. There are so many ways that we can be there for each other, and they don't have to cost a lot of money. Let your loved ones know how much you love them with the gift of shared time.

Tell me in the comments, what are some ways you like to "treat" your friends?
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Jun 1, 2016

girl crush of the day: joanna wilson phillips of menucation

Working girl or #Femmeboss: Femmeboss!

Name of your company:

Menucation Kitchen

Your position within the company: 

Founder and Culinary Nutrition Expert

Tell us a bit about yourself: 

I am a survivor of change. At my heaviest I weighed more than 400lbs, but in 2012 my husband and I decided to make health a priority - we switched to a whole foods diet, incorporated significant exercise into our daily routine, and adopted a rescue dog named Lola. I have personally lost more than 200lbs, my husband over 100lbs, and together we changed our lives for the better. I am excited to share my knowledge with the world and to create a healthier, happier reality for those who seek delicious food and healthy nutrition.
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May 29, 2016


This new weekly blog series is about becoming the future version of myself through developing this business, from the start to present time. It will focus on what I have learned, what and who inspires me, my goals, and visions. As grand and idealistic as it may be. Don’t be shy. I would love to hear about what you’re doing, what inspires you and what you’ve learned in your own journey, so comment below anytime!


Ummm, I went to school for fashion and journalism. What the hell!

This is always the first defensive statement that my alter ego dishes up whilst fighting with myself whenever I dare jump down yet another rabbit hole of serial entrepreneur madness.

There was the time I had an international newsstand magazine that sold like hot cakes. See, now that makes sense. Professor J over at CUNY in the English + Lit department would be quite proud. Then I did that thing where I was at the beck and call of every privileged upper east side hedonist who decided to experiment with eco-friendly living, which as absurd and niche as it sounds, was what landed my chocolate ass on the prestigious front page of New York Times’ business section. Now that’s some prime NYC real estate. But of course that wasn’t enough because, well ya know, myself - like every other New Yorker - was majorly obsessed with....wait for it...this is before botox....wait for it....before barre, and green juice, and collegiate hookups....obsessed with food. Duh! So I decided to be the grand madame of luxury food tours which turned into a luxury food gift company, which turned into a whole foods organic meal planning company. Which, bet you didn’t see this coming, turned into a eco-living women’s magazine. Full circle. My madness has its strategy, trust me. And because the world of print publishing is just oh so backstabbing (I see you B) that was put on the shelf so I could finally use my hard earned imaginary design degree and launch my eponymous design label which was genuinely a decade in the making. I vomited the story of that excitement back over here in this post.

So why the hell did a writer cum designer cum writer think it was smart to...oh I don’t know, become the next Mark Zuckerberg. (But like a really well dressed version, amiright!)

Apr 1, 2016

the minimalist working girl wardrobe explored and beaten to death

You know, the world is ripe with crap that can be misinterpreted including what is a minimalist wardrobe. Exhibit A: having a Napoleon complex doesn't mean you're short... because dude was actually above average height for the time period. It's called context people! Exhibit B: Monsanto can air as many bullshit commercials as they want, but their company is built on chemicals and mental slavery, so no, they do not really care about the health of your next meal. Exhibit C: Taylor Swift's latest album is not about your ex boyfriend, so don't take it so personally. I mean honestly.

But this minimalist wardrobe business, man, that's the most controversial of them all. Is it aesthetic, is it consumerism, is it mindfulness, is it social awareness? Could be a bird or a plane; who knows! Some fashion bloggers, who are otherwise completely rational, think a minimalist wardrobe is buying 30 new pieces every season. (UPDATE: Oh what do you know, said irrational fashion blogger has now closed down her blog, go figure...) In lamen terms, that's ten pieces in three categories, or three pieces for the freak who thinks they need ten categories of clothing every season. Real minimal ya'll.

Why so harsh Lola? Well just think about how much of a hedonist I am while shopping, as many of you are. Striving for perfection- the perfect white tee, jeans that fit like a glove, a cozy winter sweater. To buy that many pieces, 30 or above (because the free crap sent to bloggers needs to be included too!) is eluding to a certain air of mindlessness while shopping. It takes me days, if not weeks, to track down a covetable piece at a price point I am willing to suffer through at any given moment. So if I bought ten pairs of pants and jeans in one gosh darn season, something is wrong there. Don't you think? Isn't it beside the whole point to buy enough so you have a new item every single day for an entire month?

Then there is the flip side. The intellectual folk who are like, so mega. They dress in black death and goth purity. They sip blood for breakfast and salute an altar honoring Martin Margiela, Prada, Celine and Madewell. Don't take offense. I was there too. In a scurry to indulge in minimal style, I completely sterilized my entire sense of being by becoming a plain Jane in all neutrals. Shit happens, and it happened to me. Then I did this post, and remembered, holy crap, I'm actually Kim Kardashian deep down. Why the hell would Jessica Rabbit wear only black and white to appease the undefined trend of the masses? I am unabashedly feminine at heart, mixed with a bit of unshakable high glam-New Yorker all black/all day DNA, sprinkled with whatever is as easy to wear as a mumu.

Feb 4, 2016

networking tips: master the art of meeting new people like a boss

I don't claim to be the Warren Buffet of networking expertise, but trust when I tell you, relationship marketing has literally catapulted me to where I am now. And I'm talking the real deal shiz, not sleazy slimy needy networking. More like, genuinely being interested in people who are not yourself. What a thought! And while this isn't an exhaustive list of tips, practice with this little refresher and I'll be back with the ultimate guide to winning over every single person you meet, even if you're too anxious to even leave your house!

We live in a world that makes opportunities harder for women. Whilst the presumption is often that girl bosses, (AKA female entrepreneurs) need only wiggle their hips and bat their eyelashes to secure a deal, this is simply not the case; nor would the vast majority of women want it to be. Can I get a feminist amen! However, what this presumption does is make it seem like businesswomen are getting an easier ride, all the while also preventing them from using their genuine skills to impress on the corporate playground. In other words, it can be a ‘lose-lose’ situation for girls who lack the confidence to stand out from the crowd and crush the stereotypes with wit, charm, and smarts. And I know you have all of dat!

The reality is that the business world can be tough for women. Yet, when we do succeed, we often do so in such inimitable style and magnificence that it is difficult to imagine any other outcome. From Anna Wintour to Oprah Winfrey, Karen Brady, Victoria Beckham, Marissa Mayer, Sheryl Sandberg, and more – we continue to prove that, with the right networking know how, we can beat the boys club ten times over at their own game.

These networking tips and tricks will help you learn how to dazzle at any professional mixer event, no matter what the size or who might be listening. Hey, these even work for fashion week! If there are people, you'll be networking. Period.
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Feb 2, 2016

I used to write poetry...

You know, I use to write award-winning poetry. But now I live in a basement. Goals are funny, aren’t they?

Elders think I'm a baby, but it feels like lifetimes ago when I naively set foot upon the yellow brick road after college, positive that I would become the next best publishing legend the business world had ever seen. A media empire to rival Oprah and Martha Stewart. And guess what happened? I lost who I was more times than I can count. I compared myself; I discovered envy, greed, racism, competitiveness. All I wanted to be was a writer and designer, but what I got in return was a bit of emptiness. If only I had support. A sisterhood. A network. Community. This is why I launched Solo Girl Squad. For me. For you. For everyone. And I'm glad you chose to be here. It might have been a fleeting moment while you were busy with other things, but you reached for me and I caught you. So let's ride this together.

But I still wonder.

Did my addictive infatuation with paper come first, or did the poet? Journals, notebooks, wire-bound; perfectly encased in grainy leather hides or velvety card stock. Did I know what would come when the diary transitioned from shopping bag to the desk - a neighbor of pens and a wastebasket - this new tactile object altogether calling my name yet silent and still. Inanimate.

Or did I know my power? A true calling from birth. The involuntary manifestation of words into art. Are writers even humble? Did I reach for the leather-bound journal with all intention of birthing a pièce de résistance more so than being surprised by my own hand? I simply just never know. All I know is, long ago, in a naively happier life full of wonder, and that magic we call possibility, (or optimism for the romantics) I used to write poetry. Anytime it rained; when my heart was broken; when I wanted my pen and ink to sing the notes I could not hit, I would write poems. For healing, for dreaming, for prayer, for love, for art. I thought poetry would make me a woman. Make me into something great.

What happened?


how to shop for vintage on etsy like a fashion stylist

Every girl should experience the thrill of a good vintage wardrobe. Trust me, vintage nearly saved my life after becoming a minimalist. And yet, shopping for vintage clothing can be an exhausting, albeit a highly rewarding indulgence for those who are into mindful fashion. But what do you do if you want a beautiful retro piece, yet totally lack the time to search through a ton of racks? I mean you're like so busy, that you couldn't find time even if it slapped you in the face with a custom Birkin! Thankfully, Etsy has a huge variety of beautiful vintage clothing for sale. So that time you think escaped you, well, it will find you when you're sitting browsing Facebook for hours and rather be window shopping from the comfort of your home.

There’s some talk that Etsy is giving Ebay a run for its money. For a long, long time. The hype is true. Ever since its introduction on the world wide marketplace, Etsy has grown a reputation for having a huge variety of uniquely well curated vintage collections from the creme de la creme of veteran sellers.
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Jan 12, 2016

having no friends, now i know why i'm really sick...and so are you

So, you may have noticed I switched gears a bit on the Becoming Lola blog. It's a woman's prerogative, what can I say. I will always be a fashion rebel deep down, but the journey to becoming a minimalist at home has made me really face what I am missing beyond my four walls. I think material possessions are masterfully powerful in covering up the crap that you are trying to cover up in your mind. But here's the kicker: when your health starts to turn to shit, you can't really cover that up with concealer or a new dress, now can you? And let's just say I am perpetually chasing after the ideal "healthy" diet, and occasionally flirt with exercise, so I feel confident in that arena, but when it comes to rating my social health...well, then we get into a grey sketchy area. So dressing up and traveling is no longer my priority. If we were to turn this into trendy "new year resolution" jargon, I would say abandoning denial of how small my community is (relationships, friendships, connections, support system, buddy system, et al) is at the forefront like a goddamn glaring zit. And this year, I'm determined to pop that thing wide open and see what's inside. Gross right? Sorry, had to follow through on that metaphor!

So don't go anywhere, and don't get scared. Join me in the challenge. I'll still blog about girly stuff because I do have to put on clothes daily regardless, but I want to get dressed up for reasons I don't currently have. Like brunches with friends, or a girl's weekend vacay, or a date with an eligible bachelor not a life-draining twat. I have worked so hard just to be able to claim "I work hard...I'm working...I'm busy" that everything else has fell to the wayside. And in it's vapid place is roaring social anxiety and a phonebook full of names, but no one to truly call.

I think even when the shiny object syndrome of new year's resolutions has faded, most of us remain are interested in maintaining our health and increasing our eternal youthfulness, so it comes as no surprise the roll of preventive medicine has become almost as important in our society as the yearly checkup. But there may be a key aspect of maintaining excellent health that you've neglected: having several close friends. A bit shocked? Yeah, so was I.
© Beconing Lola • design Maira G.