Find silence — I love driving without any music on. It’s something I started doing at the turn of the year. It gives me time to relax, process, evaluate, think, and just ‘be.’
I had the pleasure of interviewing Annie Tevelin. Annie is a consumer. She is just like you. Annie struggled for years with cystic acne and after countless visits to dermatologists and tons of money thrown into skincare products, she was left with minimal positive results. Quickly, Annie realized she was just like millions of other women who had nowhere to turn. It was then that Annie realized her results were in the ingredients of the products she was using vs. what was being marketed to her. While working on commercial and music video sets as a professional makeup artist, as well as for a top luxury brand, Annie enrolled in a post-graduate program at UCLA & received a certificate in Cosmetic Chemistry. From there, Annie learned the truth about what is truly best for the skin, and more importantly, what works and stays working. From this knowledge came SkinOwl, a skincare company that allowed women to feel as good as they looked. A trusted brand, wherein the products smell good, feel good, and leave you glowing inside and out due to their fast-acting results. In creating SkinOwl, Annie knew she wanted to achieve three main goals, she wanted people to see results overnight, she wanted to provide more than just skin care, but deliver a core component of total self-care too, and she wanted women to feel like they had a safe haven to ask questions and receive quality advice about their skin in what can often be seen as a confusing industry. Annie found that when she made the choice to care for herself on a small level, it opened the door to more impactful and authentic decisions & transformations. Now an internationally acclaimed brand, SkinOwl’s sole mission is to educate you about your skin & deliver the best products, so that skin “care” can be the catalyst to caring about every genuinely important facet of your life.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?
Fortunately and unfortunately, my story begins with cystic acne. It stopped me dead in my tracks at age 27. I couldn’t find a product or doctor to heal my skin, which ultimately led me to take matters into my own hands. It didn’t sit well with me that there weren’t a lot of products that actually did what they said they were doing to do. I found a Cosmetic Chemistry certificate program at UCLA and it changed my life. I learned so much that allowed me to start formulating my own products and eventually heal my own skin. It was then that I had to share my formulations with friends, family, and whoever was suffering from acne. That was the beginning of SkinOwl.
According to a 2006 Pew Research Report report, 26% of women and 21% of men feel that they are “always rushed”. Has it always been this way? Can you give a few reasons regarding what you think causes this prevalent feeling of being rushed?
For the first time in history, we as a society have eyes on what the rest of the world is doing — how they are spending their time, how they are dressing, their achievements, their travels, etc. I believe this has turned our ‘to do’ lists into the need for ‘ta-da’ lists. I think witnessing other people’s lives in the way we are able to because of social media has created an epidemic of ‘stay busy’ and that life is only important if other people a) witness it and b) validate it. For example, if you did something amazing but your phone died so you couldn’t capture it, would you still find value in it?
Based on your experience or research can you explain why being rushed can harm our productivity, health, and happiness?
So many of us want to achieve and leave a mark on the world, which innately causes stress. It makes us feel like we don’t have the time to do everything we want to do or travel all the places we are “supposed” to travel. Stillness and pause are intentionally placed in our lives. Doing nothing doesn’t have the same appeal, unless it pushes you forward in some way.
On the flip side, can you give examples of how we can do more, and how our lives would improve if we could slow down?
I think we, as human beings, should explore the things that make us feel free a lot more than we do. Be it connecting with nature, talking on the phone with those we love vs. texting, or spending time alone processing our lives. When we do things that bring us pure joy, we are weightless. When we do what we think ‘looks cool’ or other people ‘like’ it creates a disconnect in our lives. For example, if people like when you show your daily workout on social media, but your workouts are your time to disappear and be alone in your own thoughts, how does that impact the things that bring you joy? I think people should do more of what they want to do and less of what they feel like they should do. Give yourself more time to think of what those things are now that we are fighting off more and more distractions everyday.
We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed. Can you share with our readers 6 strategies that you use to “slow down to do more”? Can you please give a story or example for each?
1) Find silence — I love driving without any music on. It’s something I started doing at the turn of the year. It gives me time to relax, process, evaluate, think, and just ‘be.’
2) Get Outside — There is a grounding that happens when I’m connecting with nature. I take in the sky, the warmth of the sun, my senses are engaged. It’s a “I’m human” moment. It slows my heart rate and allows me to ‘click refresh’ on an otherwise busy day
3) Phone a Friend — No one wants to make the call. No one want to pick up the call. It feels like an invasion these days. But everyone loves a good ol’ fashioned voicemail, leaving one and receiving one! It shows a level of care that means more than texting. Show the people you love that you’ll make the time to connect IRL.
4) Listen — We all have advice to give and stories to tell, but sometimes it feels really good to give someone your undivided attention. To listen, wholeheartedly, and not relate the story your hearing back to yourself, is a gift to those you love. In the end, pulling back from conversation, gives you a moment to rest as well. And your friend or loved one feels heard. A win win!
5) But first, PETS — Spending time with my dog reminds me how precious life is. While I’m out worrying, working, and doing, my dog shows me that life can be much simpler. Rest when you need to rest. Eat well. Exercise. And love the people who love you back unconditionally.
6) Recruit the Funny — About five years ago, I took a look at my social circle and thought to myself, “I don’t laugh as much as I used to.” While I think my friends had the potential to be funny, I think we were caught in a vortex of taking life too seriously. Over the last year, I’ve made it a conscious effort to surround myself with people who make me laugh. Life feels really good when you can’t catch your breath from laughing so hard.
How do you define “mindfulness”? Can you give an example or story?
Mindfulness is the art of being present and choosing to be exactly where we are and not overwhelmed by what happens to us when we get there.
Can you give examples of how people can integrate mindfulness into their everyday lives?
I like to remind myself that life can be split up into two categories at times: The things I want to do and the things I don’t want to do. Now, there’s always going to be things you don’t want to do but have to do (brunch at Aunt Millie’s) BUT in general, I find it helpful just to check in with how I’m feeling when agreeing to do something. Do I feel nervous, disconnected, scared, bored, unfulfilled? Or do I feel excited, overjoyed, or even neutral? Mindfulness is putting yourself in a situation, willingly, and seeing how you feel when you get there.
Do you have any mindfulness tools that you find most helpful at work?
For me, it’s all about having a set to-do list, that way I know what expectations I have for myself during the day. Sometimes, I put too much on my to-do list and it shows me that I’m unnecessarily adding stress to my life. Not everything needs to get done in a day, just because there are 24 hours available to me. Giving myself room for pause in my day allows me to be mindful of the things I’m trying to accomplish. It also gives me a sense of pride and a moment to process my achievements in real time.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to use mindfulness tools or practices?
I have my own podcast, called Off The Record, that focuses heavily on self-reflection, self-development, and gifting people a moment in their day where they can laugh, process, and slow down. I love listening to Chris D’elia’s podcast Congratulations, because he keeps it real while keeping me sane. I love reading anything by Brene Brown, Esther Perel, and Bill Bryson. A lot of times, I like to disconnect from sensory things in my pursuit of being mindful.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I try my best to live by the mantra “I am the sky, everything else is the weather.” I try to separate the things that happen to me from who I am as a whole. So much of life is what happens to you and it’s cool to not engage heavily with the things that don’t represent your wholeness. They can just be these things that happen to us and leave us and set us up for the next moment.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I have spent a lot of time thinking about my purpose and what movement I want to subscribe to and innovate. For me, this is The Parliament Project, SkinOwl’s monthly dinner collective that focuses on self-development, self-reflection, and selfcare. The Parliament Project is a disruption, a rebellion against today’s addiction to staying connected. It allows people the space to talk openly, connect with strangers, eat and drink to their heart’s content, and leave with a new found understanding of self. This has enriched SkinOwl, my life, and everything SkinOwl stands for.
Thank you for all of these great insights!