008: Building Your Business from the Ground Up with Bethany McDaniel from Primally Pure


Bethany is the founder of Primally Pure, a small business and brand based out of wine country California.  They creates toxin-free and completely natural skincare products. We met each other the Jenna Kutcher Mastermind that I’m in this year, and I was so inspired by her business.

Bethany built her business from the ground up.  And while there is no formula to success there is one secret from Bethany’s experience that will propel you forward:  invest into your success

In this episode, she opens up about every aspect of her business, from how she got her start to how much growth she experienced over the years.

Planting the Seed

  • Bethany and her husband both had 9-5 jobs, but he spontaneously decided to start a farm one day.
  • They began selling their food, quit their 9-5 jobs, and moved in with his family while they built their business.

Investing in Success

  • Six months in to launching the business, they rebranded and began hiring employees for Primally Pure.
  • After hiring their first full time employee, Bethany felt committed to the business’s success. With the help of employees, she was also able to take time off after giving birth to her daughter, June.
  • “I just went for it, and I’m glad I did. I couldn’t imagine it any other way.”

Surrendering to the Process

  • At the start of Primally Pure, there were only four products sold: deodorant, lip balm, body butter, and outdoor lotion.
  • Three and a half years later, Primally Pure offers over thirty products, including three of the original products (deodorant, lip balm, and body butter).
  • “I’m still leading the charge in that area but I have a lot of help now. I have a team of 13 and they’re amazing.”

Bethany’s passion for health and wellness shines through in everything she does and I hope the way she opened up about her process as a business owner was able to open up your eyes to the fact that we all have small beginnings.  But that doesn’t mean we won’t find success. 

“Trust in the Lord with your dreams every step of the way and He’ll make them bigger than you could ever imagine them to be,” Bethany says.

This episode is possible because of all of our patreons! If you would like to sign up to pledge monthly donations to help make The Refined Collective Podcast continue and grow, I would be so grateful. You can pledge as little as $5 a month!

Be sure and subscribe, rate + review us on iTunes!  It’d mean so much to us!


Kat Harris

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Life / News / Refined by Fire

Refined By Fire…From Pain to Empowerment | Allison Evans


Refined By Fire...From Pain to Empowerment | Allison Evans || The Refined Woman

Photos c/o Kristen Kilpatrick

Allison Evans is a co-founder of Branch Basics and lives in Texas. After experiencing a health crisis during her junior year of college and endless travels to specialists, she finally experienced true healing after moving to the Hill Country to live with her aunt, Marilee Nelson. She removed all toxic chemicals from her environment, ate real, whole foods and her symptoms completely disappeared. Her healing journey inspired her to co-found Branch Basics to help others experience how to truly thrive in their health. Allison enjoys researching all things holistic parenting, finding clean brands to use and recommend, and helping others navigate their health journeys. She also loves taking walks with her husband and teaching her one-year-old daughter Sloane silly dance moves!  

The fertility doctor seemed confident when he gave me my diagnosis. At 18 years old, I had one of the worst cases of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) he had ever seen, my ovaries covered in thousands of cysts. I trusted that the doctor knew all the answers, and no is a hard answer to hear.  No, I would not be able to have children on my own.

Going from Bad to Worse

In college, my health deteriorated before my eyes. What started as neck and shoulder tightness became extreme, chronic pain radiating from my face to my lower back. I lost motor skills, and my fingers and toes were practically numb. I traveled the country to see the nation’s top arthritis specialists and neurologists, receiving steroid injections on top of daily antidepressants, muscle relaxers, sleeping pills, and painkillers.

Perhaps the lowest point was that the smartest people in the room simply didn’t have the answers. I had become a sort of medical mystery, toting around an ever-growing file of blood work, x-rays, MRIs, CT Scans and EKGs.After two years of chronic pain and ample reassurance that my outlook was bleak, I made a decision that would change the course of my life:

I would no longer take no for an answer. 

I knew this would require trust in the One who knew my body intimately. This was surely the road less traveled.

Refined By Fire...From Pain to Empowerment | Allison Evans || The Refined Woman

A Natural Approach to Health

This opened me up to the advice of my aunt, who had used a natural approach to heal herself, her son and thousands of people around the country who suffered from various ailments.

I started on a journey to clean up the things I was putting in, on and around my body in order to let it heal.

As a result I…

Got off birth control

Cut out refined sugar, preservatives, dyes and unhealthy oils

Ate only real food

Purged my home of all toxic pesticides, cleaners and fragrances

Used only non-toxic laundry detergent and ditched dryer sheets

Limited Wifi usage.

I experienced a radical transformation in my health, my pain virtually disappeared, and I was able to get off all medication.

How had no one told me that something so simple – avoiding harmful chemicals and choosing health-giving food and products – would have such profound effects on my health?

Refined By Fire...From Pain to Empowerment | Allison Evans || The Refined Woman

Amazing Results and Recovery

A year later I went back to the fertility doctor, and a sonogram verified what I hoped to be true. I had reversed PCOS, having only a few small cysts on each ovary.

The doctor, in utter disbelief, wanted to know what I had done and what medicine I had been taking.

Finally, after having followed my God-given instincts and taking my health into my own hands, I was able to live a full life.  I saw a future where I was no longer victim to my genes or a dire diagnosis.

I went on to start a business helping others experience the “power of pure” as I had.

And against all odds, I naturally conceived two baby girls, one now a healthy, joy-filled toddler and the other growing beautifully inside my belly.

Actively Pursuing Health

But my journey didn’t end when I overcame health issues and got pregnant. In fact, it was just the beginning, as it opened my eyes to a world in which we get to play an active role in our own health — one in which thinking for ourselves gives life and freedom.

We live in a world that is rapidly changing. While technology and medicine are more advanced than ever, we are facing a healthcare crisis. One in 3 women and 1 in 2 men are diagnosed with cancer, a disease that rarely affected our children just a few decades ago, but is now the number one stealer of their little lives. If we don’t take action and become our children’s advocates, who will?My journey did not turn me into a woman who knows all the answers. Instead, it turned me into one who questions convention and finds hope in the midst of hopelessness.

Because for me, this is where freedom lies – this is where we live empowered and assured that the choices we make every day really do matter.

Refined By Fire...From Pain to Empowerment | Allison Evans || The Refined Woman

No Turning Back

I have ventured from victim to victory, and life will never look the same.   To some it may seem drastic — I have avoided unhealthy foods for over a decade, I treat sickness with natural remedies and switch my Wifi off each night, and I turned down “the perfect home” because the neighborhood has mosquito trucks.

When people ask why I do it the answer is always the same. Until I chose the road less traveled, following my instincts over the experts, my life was about survival.

Now, I am thriving.  And I have a family that wouldn’t exist if I had continued down society’s path.  How could I turn back?


Allison Evans


Podcast / Sexless in the City

Part I: Sexless in the City: Dating, Relationships, and SEX


Back in January, I was on The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey podcast. As her guest, I reflect on old jobs, old perspectives, and old heartache. It was the first time I did a podcast interview about my choice to remain celibate until marriage, and what that journey looks like for me. Ever since that episode aired, I have received over a thousand messages from people curious about my decision and my thoughts on dating, relationships, and sex. As more and more of you are expressing an interest in my sex–or sexless–life, I thought I would give you the opportunity to revisit it!

“God’s timing is different from ours.”

When relationships don’t work out, our first reaction is to be disappointed. But there are several relationships that I look back on and thank God it didn’t go anywhere. My girlfriends and I often say, “Rejection is protection” because the relationships that don’t work out can open you up to be ready for a relationship that will be the one you deserve.


“I know I would rather be single than with a man who’s not a good fit for me.”

Choosing not to have sex until I’m married is a decision I made when I was young. Now, as a 32-year-old living in New York, it can feel like God is testing me. I won’t lie, there were a few times I wanted to abandon my commitment and came close to it. Some things I remind myself of are the fact that sex would cloud my judgment. There are some relationships where it felt like all we had was physical attraction and intimacy. But that can’t hold a relationship, especially if you get married, have kids, and go through phases of not having that physical intimacy.

Sustainable transformation

Beyond this, I talk with Jamie about how I made practical changes in my life for my health and happiness, like getting sleep and taking time for myself once in a while. Too often we think we have to do it 100% or not at all, but that keeps us from change and progress. We have to be patient and intentional in the pursuit of our goals. Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s. We are all in process and that is okay.

Changing the dialogue

The Refined Woman was created five years ago while I was shooting runway.  While reflecting on this with Jamie, I remember a model coming up to me after a shoot and thanking me for simply asking her name. I remember thinking “What does it look like to offer a different dialogue in an industry that says I matter because of what I do, my status, the power I do or do not have.”

Five years into changing this dialogue, I am grateful for the tribe it has created. I hope this was informative for you no matter what your choices are or what your faith is. I’ll be working on more content related to my journey for y’all.

Thanks for listening, tribe. This episode was sponsored by Jamie Ivey’s Podcast The Happy Hour.  Each week she interviews a women of faith, living a purposeful life.  Subscribe to her podcast here+ find her on instagram here! Thanks, Happy Hour!

PS Photo c/o Sara Kerens

Kat Harris

PS I created a Free Resource Guide Called ‘While You Wait’ designed to give you tools to move through this season of your life with clarity and intention.



My mom is…


… curious about everything. She has a stack of books on her bedside table, and she knows the books she wants to check out at the library next.   She also mails me articles she thinks I’ll find interesting.

Growing up she made us a homemade meal every single night, and to this day she still does.  She is always researching and trying new recipes — last week she tried a new recipe for chicken Parmesan.

No matter her age she wants to learn, grow, and try new things.  I hope I can be as curious as my mom is!  I love you mamma! – Katherine Harris

my mom is a giver

… the most empathetic person I know. If someone needs a hand, is in the hospital, or needs a ride somewhere, she is always the first to offer her help. She may carry around too many of her own and other’s worries, but she has taught me that the simplest gesture can be a major help.

Mom, you’re a constant reminder that connections with others and sharing a loving hand is so important for our overall wellbeing and keep us grounded.  – Dianna Miranda

… incredibly smart.  As a kid I just thought everyone’s mom knew how to reupholster furniture or create their own Victorian herb garden, but as an adult I can see that when she wants to learn something she finds a way to figure it out.

She is always curious and her heart is open to new discovery. Our family has had countless conversations about things like the latest biblical archeological discovery and black holes. Her questioning mind sometimes works against her – she usually anticipates the ending of a book or movie, and she can be hard to surprise!

Mom, I love that you are never threatened by new information, and I’m inspired by your brilliant mind. – Elizabeth Boocks

my mom is strong

… so strong. She carries every sadness, worry, and anxiety her children have, and guides us through them without hesitation.

When I was sobbing with worry the day before moving in to college, she was there to comfort me, help me pack my bags, and make sure I was out the door to Newport. A long time later she told me that she cried on the way home after she dropped me off at school. But in the moments I needed strength, she gave it

Looking back as a graduating senior, I have so much I owe to my mother. I am constantly trying to find that same strength, and she is guiding me toward it every day. –Kitty Williams










Is Physical Illness Tied to Spiritual and Emotional Health // with Komal Minhas


Komal Minhas is a first generation Indian-Canadian immigrant who, in just the past two years, was invited to the White House to premier her documentary ‘Dream, Girl,’ was named one of Oprah’s Supersoul 100, and was on the cover of Power & Influence Magazine. Her passion is fostering the advancement of women and girls, especially women and girls of color. We got so lost in our conversation that we hardly got past the first question. There is just so much to share!

Working For This Life

My parents were able to build this huge life for me from scratch and I’m not gonna waste a second of it.

  • As a first generation immigrant, Komal is so grateful to her parents for setting herself up for success, but she recognizes that she has work to put in still.
  • Her parents are supportive of everything she does in life. They have led by example and encouraged her to work hard.

We Are Not Invincible

  • Right at the time when all of these tremendous accomplishments were happening in her life, she was hit with a diagnosis of a rare form of melanoma and the subsequent surgeries needed to remove it.
  • As a first generation immigrant and woman of color, Komal has always felt the need to push through everything, but this was not something she could push through on her own.
  • Komal opens up about her vertigo and partial vision loss she woke up with one morning and talks about her healing process.

“There Were Whispers”

I had developed a version of myself that only knew how to run.

  • Looking back, she sees warning signs that she was on her way to that breaking point. 
  • She sees connections back to her past, including witnessing abuse and violence as she was growing up.
  • She recognizes that she can’t place blame on herself for any of it. “ I did not do this to myself, but I can recover from it in the ways I can.”

The Healing Process

  • We talk a lot about something that I relate to personally: the connection between the physical, spiritual, and emotional health.
  • Komal found healing by practicing self-care: meditation, using a mindset coach, and seeing her doctors. “Doing the really tough things that build a strong foundation in our lives, within which, once that’s done, facials and manicures can actually make you feel good.”
  • We discuss the idea of cutting out the bad in life. While that’s a good practice, you have to make sure to have the hard conversations where needed.
  • She emphasizes that you have to allow your self to feel all of your feelings (especially the bad ones), because they are valid and you need to understand them in order to move through them. “What different perspectives can we give to the memories that are haunting us?”

Komal’s Favorite Things

Komal’s vision for herself and for the world is helping people realize all of the potential they have. So here is something she shares that will help you do just that: “There is a resilience that exists in all of us.” I am so inspired by this wonderful woman and I hope you are too. Who wants another episode with Komal? (Me!)

This episode is possible because of Refined Collective Patreon tribe! If you would like to sign up to pledge monthly donations to help make The Refined Collective Podcast continue and grow, I would be so grateful. You can pledge as little as $5 a month!



PS Join our conversation over on Instagram today about Physical + Spiritual healing.


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Life / The Refined Collective

The Refined Collective // Seasons + Cycles


Photos c/o Sara Kerens

This post is in collaboration with The Refined Collective Series. Be sure and check out the other ladies in this wonderful group Rebecca Hajek, Sarah Shreves, Jackie Viramontez, Brynn Watkins, Lauren Scruggs, Sephora Gabourel, Yvette Jain, Kait Warman, Ruthi Daughterty,

Have you ever heard someone complain about being in a season of singleness? It sorta makes me nauseous, but I can’t quite pin point why.

Usually when I hear someone talking about a season of singleness, it like it’s something that has been done to her that’s completely out of her control.   As if God was like, “Hmm… I know what’ll make her really upset…I’ll give her a season of singleness.”

I see so many women living like a victim to their singleness. It’s as if they are powerless until God magically places a guy on their front doorstep.

Playing the victim can be great because it allows us to throw ourselves a pity party and invite anyone who will listen to feel sorry for us (and trust me—they don’t want to listen to our pity party).

I can spot these women from a mile away. But it’s only because for years, this was how I felt about being single—that I was a purposeless, powerless, victim, and that God was holding out on me.

The Power of Taking Responsibility
At some point though, we have to take responsibility for the season we’re in — whether that’s singleness, marriage, motherhood, climbing the corporate ladder, or even heartbreak. I think today is a great day to do that!

So perhaps singleness isn’t a punishment, but a sacred gift. And in receiving a gift, we get to figure out how to steward and take ownership of it.

I believe there are powerful ways to actively wait, and make yourself available and ready for the type of relationship you truly long for.

For example, a friend of mine graduated from college, moved to New York, and started climbing the financial corporate ladder. He longed for a meaningful relationship and wanted to eventually get married. But the demands of his job kept him at the office until all hours of the night and he was single for many years. There was no way he could invest in another person when he barely had enough time to take care of himself.

After years of this, he finally hit a breaking point. He realized if something didn’t change he would end up rich — and alone. So he made a decision that changed everything: he created space by leaving work by 6:00 p.m.

He wasn’t dating anyone, but he wanted his life to have margin for the things he really wanted, so when the time came he would be ready for it.

It wasn’t easy, and it was counter cultural in his industry. But he understood that we need to create space in our lives for the things we value. How we spend our time reflects our priorities.

Learning to Actively Wait
Here are some things I’ve practiced over the last few years that have really supported me in my singleness:

  • Get Clear: What are your specific and unique passions, gifts, and skills? What lights you up inside? What is your vision for yourself, your family, community and world? When you look back on your life what is the legacy you want to have left? Use this time to get clear on the vision for your life so that when you’re dating someone you can see if there’s alignment in your values and the directions of life you’re both headed in.
  • Pursue Emotional Health: What I know about marriage is that even if you’re with your perfect match, it’s still hard. As a single woman I can be intentional about becoming the most healthy version of myself emotionally, spiritually, and physically while I’m waiting. For me that has meant investing in counseling and working through my past hang ups, going to personal development workshops, and making my physical health a priority.
  • Create Margins:  Make space for what you want, like my friend who longed for a relationship and created margin for the thing he desired. He didn’t leave New York City and hire a matchmaker. He simply made a strategic decision to leave work at a reasonable hour so that when he met someone he’d already have space in his life for her. (By the way within a few years he was married with a baby on the way.)

If I’ve felt lonely and aimless in my wait, I’m sure many of you have too. I know the deep ache of longing for a relationship, and I don’t dismiss my desire or pretend it’s not there.

There’s this weird idea that when we’re finally content, or when we least expect love, it’ll happen. I don’t necessarily think that’s true.

But I truly believe that we can move through singleness with purpose and clarity while we actively take steps to become the best version of ourselves.

PS I created a Free Resource Guide Called ‘While You Wait’  designed to give you tools to move through this season of your life with clarity and intention.





Boss Ladies / Life / News

Boss Ladies | Lorraine Bangera


Boss Ladies | Lorraine Bangera || The Refined Woman

Lorraine Ashrita Bangera launched Her Tribe Magazine in May 2017 as an online platform where people can collaborate and share their thoughts, stories and advice on life, faith, productivity, wellness, career, and culture. She lives in Melbourne with her husband Matt and has worked in publishing for the past five years. In addition to running Her Tribe, she works full time at a non-profit organisation as a content writer

As a child I dreamed of becoming
Someone who worked at a magazine. I was obsessed with magazines. Writing and design has been at the core of all my interests for the longest time.

The last photo I took on my phone
My husband, Matt, watching a pink sunset.

My guilty pleasure
Binge watching TV shows. I think I’ve watched One Tree Hill over 15 times.

One thing people might be surprised to learn about me
I’m an extremely silly person with my inner circle. I also love long conversations – which might be surprising because I tend to be very quiet most of the time.

My favorite way to unwind
Reading a book or magazine on happiness, faith or mindfulness. Reading helps me calm down and be more present.

Boss Ladies | Lorraine Bangera || The Refined Woman

My real life hero is
My parents are loving and faithful, my sister is an amazing soul, and my husband is strong and resilient. I also have so many friends and extended family who have taught me about courage, integrity, compassion, humility, grace, and having a good sense of humour about life. They are all my heroes.

What I love about my work
I love everything about it! I love creating content in every way. I love coming up with new ideas, but I also enjoy designing and branding my ideas. Her Tribe gives me a structure for my creativity and I feel stronger as a creative because of it. I also love writing and interacting with like-minded people. Before Her Tribe I thought there were very few people who think like me, but I’ve been amazed at how many people I consider my tribe! I think I love that the most about my work.

The hardest thing about my work
Learning to let go and not beat myself up if things are not perfect. I have control over the entire creative process, and can easily get carried away with overdoing it and not saying no.

It’s also challenging to be genuinely engaging on social media when there are so many fake accounts. However, it does make me very grateful to have readers who share their thoughts with me.

Boss Ladies | Lorraine Bangera || The Refined Woman

How I got started with my current career
I work on Her Tribe on a part-time basis whereas my day job is as a content writer. I’ve always worked in publishing and have edited a lot of magazine titles over the years. When I was 19, I had a writing internship for six weeks and ended up writing just under 90 articles. My editor at the time was shocked about my enthusiasm and honestly, so was I! I had never seriously considered writing before that. It was like a neon sign for me, after that choosing a career was a piece of cake.

One of the biggest mistakes I made when I was starting out
Letting what others say about me define who I am. When you’re starting out you can be extremely impressionable and no matter how hard you try people can get in your head. Most of the time it’s not malicious and could be a thoughtless passing remark, but if you hold on to all that they say you can’t be who you are.

The biggest mistake I made was trying to be someone else, but the truth is, being your true self is what opens the door to an amazing life.

I used to think success meant
Having it all. I thought juggling a successful career, having a family and achieving all my dreams would make me successful. But as I’m growing up I’m realising having it all is very subjective and keeps changing. “All” keeps growing bigger and bigger, and there is a big chance I will never be satisfied.

My current definition of success
I’ve redefined success as growth as a human being, being at peace with who I am, and being present in my life. Not looking at the future or being bitter about the past, but being happy (more or less) and present. I would consider myself a success if I can (finally) manage my life and expectations with grace, and grow a little every day.

An example of when I had to push through my insecurities
This happens every single day. Insecurity lurks at every corner, but I try not to let it take over. I just admit it to myself and others, admit I don’t know or I’m not perfect and let people help me.

Admitting it openly somehow removes the shame and defensiveness that comes with it. A good example would be in my marriage where there are times when I just have to be vulnerable and honest to get past whatever I am dealing with. Instead of ignoring it, dealing with it head-on has helped our relationship.

Boss Ladies | Lorraine Bangera || The Refined Woman

A few ways I practice self-care
I try to give myself grace. I think you can’t love yourself if you don’t love others, and you can’t love others if you don’t love yourself.

I try to do things that I love and rest when I have to. Lately I’ve been trying not to be ashamed about taking rest. I’ve discovered that it’s important to rest when you still have energy and not just when you want to pass out from exhaustion.

My happiest moment in the past 6 months
At the airport in Dubai, when I saw my family after nearly two years apart. It was the best moment and will probably be the best till I see them next.

I feel the most beautiful in my skin when
I feel like I’m at peace with myself and not harboring resentment or bitterness against myself or anyone else.

I wish I could tell my younger self
Believe in yourself, trust your instincts, and don’t worry so much. I was always very concerned about the future: my education, my career, my future partner. And it all turned out fine, better than fine, it turned out great actually.

A favorite quote
It’s never too late to be what you might have been – Mary Ann Evans

The legacy I hope to leave
I hope I am remembered for how much I loved, encouraged and cherished the people I love the most.


Lorraine Bangera





Failure, Vulnerability, and People with Chinae Alexander


And we’re back! In this episode, I am talking with the wonderful Chinae Alexander. She’s a Brooklyn-based entrepreneur, lifestyle personality, writer, speaker, wellness expert, and YouTuber who is currently in the process of writing a book and creating a podcast. Chinae opens up about failure, vulnerability, and self-love in this episode and I cannot wait for you to hear what she has to say.

People as Motivation

  • Chinae grew up an only child and moved often. As a result, she learned how to have real conversations with adults and confidently step into a room where she knows nobody.
  • As an adult, she is fascinated by others’ stories and passionate about telling those stories, establishing empathy, and working things out together.
  • “ People tell me things and want to talk to me about their lives and they want to listen about my life and we get to share this stuff in a world that so greatly wants us to push each other away.”

The Power of Vulnerability

  • Chinae encourages everyone to realize that from vulnerability comes strength. “Exchanging stories in this world is a powerful thing.”
  • We talk about the #MeToo campaign, something Chinae inspired me to use my voice in. It’s important to share your stories no matter how insignificant they may seem to you. People need to know they aren’t alone.
  • “This feels hard, but it’s the necessary difficulty to thrive.”
  • Chinae shares a slash & burn analogy with me as we talk about how sometimes you need to experience destruction in order to regrow.

Self-Love Over Body Positivity

    • Chinae was overweight throughout college and held so much confidence during that time. Out of an appreciation for herself, she got into fitness. However, once she got into the best shape she had ever been in, she felt that confidence leave her. “ I don’t need to gain the weight back, but I need to get the mindset back.”
    • She expresses that 24/7 body positivity just isn’t realistic. We should instead strive for self love, and we show ourselves some grace in the moments we aren’t feeling positive. “It doesn’t make you a failure if you aren’t positive about your body all the time.”

“If you failed, it means you tried something. People can perhaps lead a life of no failure but it’s going to be a really small life. “


Allow for Failure

  • Chinae reminds us that good things come from failure, noting that everything considered a “failure” in her life has led to a success. “Our failures aren’t failing; they’re a part of our story.”
  • Though failure is good, and Chinae even gets excited about the idea of it, not everybody opens up their life to the possibility of it. “People have a very small vision of where they’re going and they have no idea the perspective outside of that.”

Chinae’s Favorite Things

Chinae leads as a person through encouraging people to live their lives, use their voices, tell their stories, and foster understanding. I’ll leave you with some advice she would share with her younger self: Consistently press into being good” and “Your plan is not yours.”

How can you lean into the possibility of failure and lean into those vulnerable moments in your own lives?

Thanks for listening, tribe. This episode was sponsored by Branch Basics, a brand created by women with the goal of revolutionizing the home with non-toxic cleaning products. These products bring simplicity and functionality into your life and I’m all about that. They gave me a special code to share with you for 20% off your first order: (refinedcollective). Thanks, Branch Basics!

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Inspiration / Life / News / Wellness

Inspired Living // Getting Back to Basics & Transforming Your Health // Marilee Nelson


Inspired Living // Getting Back to Basics & Transforming Your Health // Marilee Nelson || The Refined Woman Photos c/o Kristen Kilpatrick

Marilee Nelson is a Texas-based Environmental Consultant, Building Materials Specialist, Medicinal Cook, Board Certified Nutritionist, and co-founder of Branch Basics. She is on a mission to inspire and motivate people to experience the transforming power of eating real food and creating a truly healthy home. She lives in Texas with her husband and enjoys playing the piano, spending time outdoors and visiting her grandchildren.

We often stand at different crossroads in life. Thankfully, we have the power to meet these situations with our deepest intuition, unafraid to say no to the norm.

Years ago, I was told by doctors that I could never have children, and that I would need to go on dialysis and receive a kidney transplant.  My response to these bleak diagnoses rose up from my heart spontaneously, “I am just so glad you are not God!”

I knew I didn’t have to be subject to the limitations the medical world was offering at the time. There had to be another way, and I began to search for alternatives.

I had the same response when I was told my son would never recover from his catastrophic exposure to pesticides, and I began studying how chemical exposures and the environment impact health.

After a steep learning curve, our family transitioned to eating real food, using safe products, and living in a healthy home.  My son fully recovered – and I never had the kidney transplant!

I believe we can transform our health by making everyday choices to help us thrive. The price of convenience—new technology, fast food and instant everything—is robbing us of the richness that life has to offer.

The ability to live a vibrant life is at stake, but we have the power to take control. These simple changes and additions to your daily routine (that cost little or no money) can significantly impact your health and wellbeing.

Eat Real Food

Eating food that hasn’t been processed is foundational to health. It reduces inflammation, balances hormones, and improves gene expression.

  • Begin to remove processed foods from your diet, pay attention to labels, and try to shop from the perimeter of the grocery store where organic fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and bulk foods are found.
  • Increase your vegetable intake and make your plate colorful with variety.
  • Try to reduce your meat portion if you are typically a big meat eater.
  • Don’t be afraid of fat! Eating high-quality fats and oils like avocado oil and ghee is incredibly beneficial to your health.
  • If you eat something processed — read the label!  Try to avoid GMOs, excitotoxins, additives, colorings, preservatives, processed sugar, andharmful oils like canola oil.

Inspired Living // Getting Back to Basics & Transforming Your Health // Marilee Nelson || The Refined Woman

Stress Busters – Timing is everything

  • Take regular breaks during the day. Set a timer so you don’t get lost in the busyness! Taking a short walk or stretching will make you more productive!
  • Boost melatonin production. Stop working on any digital device two hours before bed. If you must stay up and work, turn on “Night Shift” if you own an Apple device, or install software that can reduce the melatonin-disrupting blue light spectrum on the computer like Iris Tech or Just Get Flux.
  • Make sleep a priority! Going to bed by 10:00 pm reduces stress and maximizes rejuvenation. The gallbladder starts its cleansing mode between 11:00 -1:00 am, so it is best to be asleep by 9 or 10 pm.

Inspired Living // Getting Back to Basics & Transforming Your Health // Marilee Nelson || The Refined Woman

Reduce Your Exposure to Harmful Chemicals

A home free of toxins enables our body to use its energy for rejuvenation and healing instead of detoxifying harmful chemicals.

  • Review and identify toxic products in the home. Use your nose as a guide. If they smell they may have a synthetic fragrance, they may contain antimicrobials which are designed to kill, endocrine disruptors that can cause fertility issues, neurotoxins that affect our behavior and mood, carcinogens that cause cancer, irritants that trigger lung and skin issues, and more.
  • Remove unsafe products. Begin to remove any pesticides and toxic cleaners found under sinks, in cabinets and in bathrooms. This can dramatically improve your home air quality and is an easy first step in creating a healthy safe haven.
  • Replace with safe products. Branch Basics makes this transition easy! Read how to cleanse your home in 3 simple steps, here.
  • Open your windows for 10 minutes in the morning and in the afternoon to flush the air in the home. Indoor air in our homes is typically more polluted than the outdoor air.
  • HEPA vacuum your home to reduce chemicals that ride on dust.

Inspired Living // Getting Back to Basics & Transforming Your Health // Marilee Nelson || The Refined Woman

Guard Your Mind

We cannot make changes to our diet and physical environments without also paying close attention to our thought processes. Replacing negative thoughts with positive ones can improve blood quality as your stress levels become lower.

  • Try journaling
  • Pray, meditate, or do restorative yoga.
  • Start feeding your mind with what is true, good and pure. How you look at life is the single most powerful healing tool you have. Fill your heart with compassion and love. Every thought we have sends signals to every cell in your body.

These steps will change not only your health but your entire outlook on life! I hope that these suggestions will be used as a guide to help you thrive because we all deserve to live the most vibrant lives possible! 


Marilee Nelson




Joy in the Power of We with Emily Sexton


Entrepreneur Emily Sexton went to college with the goal of becoming a backup dancer for Britney Spears, went to work at a Swiss investment bank after graduation, and is now the owner of Flourish Market, a boutique that features products made from artisans all over the world. A 2 a.m. Pinterest scroll sparked the idea for a fashion truck or, as she calls it, a “boutique on wheels,” which has now become the Flourish Market shop. The shop is based in Raleigh, North Carolina where this amazing lady lives out her message.

Looking for Purpose

    • Emily’s shop features artisans from all over the world through Flourish Market, some of whom are from third-world countries.
    • “The women in our community want to join a story that is bigger than themselves.”
    • Her hope is that women in the first-world can learn from the women in the third-world countries represented in her shop. “They hold on to the truth of who they are.”
    • She remembers opening Flourish Market on Black Friday and not having any discounts, but having women buy products anyway. “Women aren’t necessarily looking for deals; they’re looking for a purpose.”

The Luxury of Excuse

  • Emily is a Type 3, or “The Achiever” in the enneagram test. This involves a fear of failure. Emily often thinks about the women in third-world countries who can’t afford to be afraid to fail.
  • She notes in her advice to herself, that sometimes it’s easy to stew in your worries and frustrations.
  • She acknowledges that we are our own worst critics, and we shouldn’t be. She tells the women who come into her shop, “In honor of [these women in third-world countries], let’s not let our inner critic win today.”

Living Her Message 

“My hope is that when people shop with meaning with us, and they wear the pieces from our shop, they feel the dignity and worth they’re sending to the women on the other end of the purchase.”


  • When she was first having her shop built, she invited 20 women to come in and write their insecurities and fears on the foundation wall of the dressing rooms. After these were covered up in the building process, the same women wrote words of affirmation that spoke to their worth on the wall to be seen by all who step inside a dressing room.
  • “My vision in life is to meet women in their most insecure moments and flip that script for them.”

Be Aware of Your Community

  • How much time do you spend online? Probably a lot. That old saying that you are the sum of the five people you interact with the most doesn’t just mean in person anymore. Emily realized this and decided to limit herself to following 100 people on Instagram and it shifted everything in her life towards good things.
  • She opens up about a time she challenged herself to not say anything negative about another woman, no matter if they were directly in her life or a celebrity she will never know. She thought it would be easy, but it was not. She remembers thinking, “Lord, change my heart.”
  • She appreciates the idea of community over competition and has learned these lessons from the artisans she works with.
  • One of the most important people in her life is her husband, Chris. She notes that they’re completely different but feel so known by each other. “One hug from my husband, Chris, completely disarms me.”

Emily’s Favorite Things 

  • Fake succulents are perfect for anyone who struggles to keep real succulents alive. It’s not as easy as it looks!
  • She’s loving globally inspired textile trends because it allows for artisans to do their trade.
  • She also gushes about Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. Sarah has amazing Instagram stories and had an interview Emily loves on the podcast How I Built This.

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Kat Harris

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