Interview: My Morning Routine, Comfort Food, Sustainable Fashion + Simple Pleasures

Interview: My Morning Routine, Comfort Food, Sustainable Fashion + Simple Pleasures

What began as infatuation with the glamorous side of fashion quickly turned into a full blown love affair that enabled Agatka Kozak to not only carve an industrious career in fashion design, but would lead her to pioneer industry change towards eco fashion.

Agatka was born and raised in Poland, later moving to Barcelona to complete fashion study at ESDi and then to Istanbul to attend the prestigious Mimar Sinan. After successfully graduating from her fashion education, she moved to London, a city recognised as one of the world’s fashion epicentres.

In 2014, after working for both high end and high street labels and with some distinguished designers for LFW, and witnessing fast fashion’s destructive influence in the industry she loves, Agatka decided to launch her ECO-HOT label, COSSAC.

Designed in London and made in Europe, COSSAC promotes the minimalistic concept of Capsule Wardrobes, and offers a curated selection of contemporary threads and redefined basics with a sass edge. Sustainably designed and ethically produced, each quality garment is intended to be transeasonal, with the aim of minimising wastefulness and maximizing usefulness.

I love everything COSSAC is about and was super excited when asked to do an interview with them this month! Check it out below and grab this oversized tee dress – it’s seriously the most comfortable dress I own!


There are some women that just embody everything that COSSAC is about.

They are clever, sophisticated and above all, advocate the conscious cause in effortless style.

It’s why in our new series, we’re interviewing some remarkable #COSSACwomen to learn more about who they are and what makes them tick.

And we think you’re going to love our next interview… with wellness warrior Tara Mackey.

Tara has high energy, is multi-talented and wise beyond her years. This effervescent woman is the founder and CEO of wellness brand The Organic Life, is a soul singer, motivational speaker and the bestselling self-help author of ‘Cured By Nature’. She been featured in publications such as Forbes, Teen Vogue, Glamour Magazine, Vice and Well + Good. And if that wasn’t all, she’s been honoured with several awards for her business leadership and achievements in the health and wellness industry.

We adore Tara for her passion to make a difference and the positivity that she brings to each of her projects. Through this quick interview, we can see why she’s a woman going places. Her warmth and sincerity really stand out!

COSSAC: Describe your morning routine. 

Tara: Morning stretches, tea, smoothie and breakfast. Followed by a hike with my two rescue pitbulls, Raelie and Ruca. They love getting their energy out first thing in the morning – and I love starting the morning moving. Normally lots of silly dancing while I’m cooking. Then – I start work!

COSSAC: Do you remember the moment you “converted” to ethical fashion and became ‘conscious’ of the negative impacts of fast fashion?

Tara: I honestly become more aware of the truth behind the industry every single day, but my first “a-ha” moment was in 2012 when I was first reinventing all my personal choices. I realized when I started working with eco, sustainable and ethical clothing companies. I was like, “Wait, if they’re doing it this way… what is everyone else doing?” Then, when you start your research and education, you’re flabbergasted. I was just floored.

COSSAC: Sweet tooth or savoury tooth? And what comfort food do you turn to when “it’s one of those days”?

Tara: Sweet tooth for sure! I love dark chocolate – it’s a serious mood booster because of the high magnesium levels.

COSSAC: Name three of your ‘simple’ pleasures. 

Tara: Warm tea, spending time with my family, swimming in the ocean.

COSSAC: Most exciting thing that’s happened to you in the past 3 months? 

Tara: I was featured in Forbes in June, which was a huge dream come true. I also recently got started on some final edits for my second book, which is another dream come true. I’m so excited to share that in the coming months! I’ve been able to travel down to Tahiti, where I’m doing my November retreat, for the first time. So life changing! There’s a lot to be thankful for recently!

COSSAC: As an ethical style influencer, what’s your top advice for sustainable fashion designers and ethical fashion brands looking to grow their businesses? 

Tara: Social media is one of the most powerful tools you have to influence your business now-a-days. Your message has the potential to be seen by millions of people – overnight. Keep learning and keep sharing. The eco message will never get old. People always want to learn more.

COSSAC: Which fact about the fashion industry still shocks you today? 

Tara: I think the amount of waste, human rights violations and pollution that goes into making clothes. Millions of textile factories around the world are still violating environmental regulations, including discharging wastewater from hidden pipes and disregarding the health of their own workers. Also, I am shocked at how many of America’s favorite companies including Nike, Esquel, Walmart, H&M Levi’s, Adidas, and Burberry – have all been slapped with violations and shut down because of their treatment of the environment and their employees. Definitely a wake-up call to research where your money is going and what its truly paying for.

COSSAC: Who is your style icon and why? 

Tara: Janelle Monae, for sure. SUCH a style star. Edge, feminine, masculine, sexy, demure, symbolic, ironic. She just does it all so well and always looks like a goddess!

For more of Tara’s musings and track her health and wellness adventures, make sure to follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Photos by Arielle Levy.

How To Stay Active In The New Year

How To Stay Active In The New Year

   
 
January is the best time of year for a fresh start. Perhaps you’d like to be more thoughtful, more gentle or more kind. Maybe, like many of us, your mission is to get healthier or more fit. Whatever your goals, there are a few key elements to success that all of us can build on. These steps (no matter how small) can make any goal much easier to accomplish in the new year.
 
One of the big issues a lot of people face when sticking to their goals is the pressure they put on themselves. They focus on the resolution they’re setting, instead of the steps it will take to accomplish that goal.
 
Our goals should always be focused on self-love. This sets the stage for success, no matter what our ultimate objective is. Want to get in shape? I’ve partnered with Maurices this year to show you how to start!

 

 

The One Big Reason You Should NEVER Give Up

The One Big Reason You Should NEVER Give Up

5 years ago I tried to kill myself.

I still have the scars on my arm from this time in my life.

At the time, I was sick, I was sad, I was depressed and I saw absolutely no way out.

Through sheer will, a lot of determination and a crazy cacophony of coincidences, I ended up coming off all the drugs I used to treat my anxiety, moods and depression and instead, I began treating myself completely naturally with foods, supplements and mind strengthening techniques.

To my stubborn surprise – this worked!

I replaced feeling sorry for myself with feeling grateful for what I had. I replaced self destructive behavior with books and self-help audio about why I was the way I was. I replaced pity with willingness. I replaced hurting myself with meditating.

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It has been an incredible 5 years. Not only was I able to move out to California and make a home in LA & then San Diego, I’ve been able to create (and then bask in) accomplishments beyond my wildest dreams: starting my own award-winning company that gives back, writing a bestselling book about my journey, giving Raelie and my family the life I always dreamed for us, sharing my message all over the world.

Many of you have been there from me from the very beginning of my journey. Some of you even knew me before I began. Many of you met me with love and hugs and hangouts when I first started. Some of you started following along the way.

In getting to know you, my amazing tribe, and being a part of your stories, I am a much better and more learned, open and honest person for it.

I wanted to thank you. All of you. For reading, for being here, for supporting me throughout all of this.

This week I was nominated for Woman of the Year by San Diego Magazine.

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But it didn’t always start out that way…

So as a reminder:

If you’re having a bad day, don’t give up.

Don’t EVER give up.

Moments that seem like mistakes are the building blocks of your future.

Events that seem like tragedies are just necessary life trials that are shaping you.

Pain is temporary. Feelings are temporary.

Your temporary feelings will disappear into the ether.

They’re just waiting for you to form and frolic in your self-made happiness.

Don’t give up.

I never thought that in 5 years I would go from the most miserable person I knew

to holding my Woman of the Year nomination and walking a red carpet for my city’s #1 and oldest magazine, glowing with pride.

Don’t ever give up.

You are perfect.

You are worth it.

You are sheer moments away from your dreams.

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Feeling inspired? Beastly Threads is an eco-friendly and ethical company that donates proceeds to wildlife conversation to help save animals!

Save 20% with code ORGANICLIFE, and give back today.

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PS I get my sunnies at Sun Time in Grossmont!

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Why I Almost Said “No” To Marriage + The Big Thing That Changed My Mind

Why I Almost Said “No” To Marriage + The Big Thing That Changed My Mind

It’s still weird to say that I recently got engaged.

The idea of putting a ring on my finger (especially that finger!) was always a little crazy to me.

I barely wear jewelry unless it’s made by someone I know or has a special meaning behind it, and I wasn’t planning on getting married.

At all.

Never mind any time soon.

Hubby-to-be knew this.

So what made him think that when he got down on one knee and pulled this particular ring out of his pocket, I had to say yes??

What, in fact, made him right about that?

Yes literally just came pouring – with flowers and honey and love and kisses – out of my mouth.

To this man, and this ring, anything other than yes was no option.

This moment and this ring meant more than a proposal.

This ring? It was special.

It’s a gemstone. Naturally.

It’s an ethical, conflict free, fair trade, sapphire (both of our birthstones!)

It’s hand cut into a perfect heart and surrounded by reclaimed diamonds.

There was no mining, displacement, environmental disruption or bloodshed of any kind involved to source it.

The icing on the cake?

It was designed by him.

There is no ring like it – anywhere in the World.

The fact that he designed it is SO incredible to me. The fact that the ring is so thoughtfully sourced really means LOVE to me.

It really encompasses not only our love, but it envelops what’s truly important to the earth.

It’s the essence of who we are as individuals and also who we are as a couple.

It means he gets it.

It means he gets us.

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We care.

We’re both huge conservationists at heart (and in practice!)

T’s been surfing, farming, traveling and helping the World through various business endeavors since high school. His company, Waxelene, is organic, natural, pesticide free, gluten free, fully sustainable, wind powered, solar powered and uses BPA-free plastic and recyclable glass. goop just called them one of The 13 Best (Clean) Do-It-All Beauty Balms!

The last 5 years of my life have been dedicated to wellness, nature, exercise, self love and the health of humanity. This year, The Organic Life has recently been named one of The Healthiest Companies by San Diego Business Journal.

We spend our mornings hiking and our afternoons yelling, “STOP THROWING THOSE ROCKS AT THE CLIFFS!” to kids on the beach (ridiculous, but true.) We spend our nights catching solar eclipses on the shoreline and naming the stars.

It means my future husband gets me.

And I couldn’t say no to that.

In the spirit of this amazing time in my life, I wanted to share some important tips for making sure your soul mate gets you, too.

Read on if you plan on getting married, getting engaged or just plain love picking out some nice jewelry for yourself or a loved one – with no guilt!

Why A Conflict Free, Eco Ring is important to consider:

  • Behind the sparkle, the jewelry industry is plagued by human rights abuses and environmental destruction. Is this what we want to support in the name of fashion or love? Of course not!
  • Buying conflict free means you are sending a message to this industry that abuse to workers, children and the environment is NOT OKAY.
  • Only .01% of the world’s diamonds meet ethical standards for pure sourcing and exceptional quality, making your jewelry not only rare, but something you can be proud to wear.
  • Being responsible in mining (or, in the case of my ring – no mining at all) allows for a conservative approach to your bling.
  • Many companies who source ethical and conflict-free stones donate a percentage of profits to those who have been harmed by the diamond industry. This is a great way to give back!
  • Diamond mining has caused brutal civil wars. Purchasing a conflict-free diamond helps support peace.
  • Girls like me will marry you!
  • “Conflict free” are two great words to begin a lifetime together with, don’t you think? 🙂

So, I very enthusiastically said yes!

But what if the ring wasn’t thoughtful?

What if it wasn’t conflict-free? What if it hadn’t been totally perfectly representative of us?

What if it didn’t encompass us as people?

What if it didn’t mean, ” Hey girl, I totally understand you… let’s do this thang.”?!

What would I have said?!

Luckily, we don’t have to find out…

😉

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With Love,

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PS Although many of you have asked, I have not included specific resources for conflict-free diamonds or jewelry in this article because I believe that everyone should do their own research. What I felt was “right” may not feel “right” for you, and I want you to make your own beautiful, informed choices! I wish you the best of luck on your way!

The #1 Organic Thing You’re Missing That’s Affecting Your Health

The #1 Organic Thing You’re Missing That’s Affecting Your Health

I just recently gave myself a bold mission: make my entire closet organic. Yes, budget or no budget, I’m getting even more serious about my health.  And my goal is to transform and ramp up the whole thing – beginning with what I put on my body, as well as what I am putting in it. I want every single piece of clothing I own to be safe, which, for a thrifty gal like me, is quite the mission and may take a few months (years?) to complete and perfect. But I’m well on my way – and I’ve started with the most important place to sport organic clothing – our underwear!

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Yes, choosing organic underwear is the first – and perhaps most important – step to creating a totally environmentally friendly closet and preventing against irritation and disease. As someone who used to get frequent lady problems (kidney infections, pre-cancerous cells in my uterus – overall lots of time spent not having fun!) starting from “the ground up” this way is a great idea, since many dyes and chemicals can irritate us in our most sensitive areas.  And if you happen to be an animal lover, parent, healthy human or are concerned with environmental issues, take note: wearing organic fabrics has a major positive impact on your health and the health of our planet.

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“About 25 percent of the world’s insecticide use and more than 10 percent of the world’s pesticide goes to cotton crops. In 2003, that amounted to about 55 million pounds of pesticides being sprayed on 12.8 million acres of cotton.”

Here are some good reasons to go organic:

  • Organic cotton is excellent for the tender, developing skin of a baby – or anyone with sensitive skin. Organic cotton clothing is softer than conventional cotton clothing because the production of organic cotton does not involve the use of chemicals, so it causes fewer cases of allergies.
  • About 25 percent of the world’s insecticide use and more than 10 percent of the world’s pesticide goes to cotton crops. In 2003, that amounted to about 55 million pounds of pesticides being sprayed on 12.8 million acres of cotton, according to the Organic Trade Association.
  • Cotton crops have been plagued by numerous diseases and pests over the years, including bacterial blight, tropical cotton rust, verticillium wilt, reniform nematode, abutilon mosaic, ascochvta blight, southern blight, lef spot, bollworm, white fly, crown gall, lint degradation, anthracnose, leaf crumple, leaf curl, leaf mottle, leaf roll, areolate mildew, powdery mildew, black root rot, boll rot, sting nematode, charcoal rot, escobilla, stem canker, leaf spot, lint contamination, terminal stunt, cotton rust, southwestern cotton rust, anthocyanosis, blue disease, small leaf, psylosis, and phyllody. It also ranks fourth in the list of most heavily fertilized crops.
  • Organic cotton is grown using organic means without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides, therefore helping to improve the quality of the land, prevent water contamination, and conserve biodiversity. A field must be pesticide free for three years to be certified organic.
  • In organic farming, the ground is intensely detoxified before planting or harvest, organic fertilizer is used to produce the crop, the seeds are untreated and the soil has more water retention. Weeds are manually removed instead of mechanically or with pesticides.
  • The eco-friendly processing that does not compromise workers’ health and helps reduce water and electric use and toxic runoff, like non-chlorine bleach, silicon-free softeners and low impact, azo-free dyes.

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You are closer than you think to the farms, chemical factories and waste treatment facilities that handle toxic chemicals used on your hoodie and tee-shirt. By spending your hard earned money on thoughtfully made, organic products, you are using your consumer power wisely and adding your voice to a powerful movement.

GET THE LOOK:

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Brook There