With this series I am sharing my absolute admiration and honor of beautiful empowering women whom I feel deeply inspired by. Each is unique but they all share one important quality – living what they love with authenticity. I am impressed by their courage, passion and success. Connecting & supporting each other is a theme close to my heart and through this space I will share their beauty and creativity with all of you.

Get empowered and inspired – Time for girl crushes & intriguing details!


This is a moment I have dreamt of (yes, I know it sounds a bit dramatic, but it is actually the truth) I am sharing the magical world and wisdom of Elenore Bendel-Zahn, founder of earthsprout. She is, among other things, a whole food chef, organic gardener, and health coach. Her blog played a huge role of inspiration to start heartybite, her way of living sparked a flame of curiosity and thirst for consciousness in me and for that I am ever grateful. I can remember Earthsprout, when it was “just” a blogspot – and I followed her journey ever since. She kept evolving and really found her voice in this overflowing blogosphere over the years. I am still in awe and enjoy her writing and recipes because she does her own thing, I love her adorable planet-loving attitude, her photography, insta-inspirations…oh and did I mention she is a Super-Mama and total babe living in Sweden?
Earthsprout the website, is where you can find extraordinary plant-based creations made out of such a passion and love for the plant-based world like this and moreover she created an App “The 30 Raw Breakfast” + has her own “Nordic Superfood Mix“. And if that isn’t striking enough, next to having two cute sons and running her business, she co-hosted a tv-show last year called “Vegorätt” its in swedish but I watched it anyway – because the scenery!!! And you can understand the recipes, sort of. It’s worth it.
Besides that, Elenore wouldn’t be in the series of Inspirational Woman, if she wasn’t authentic and radiant through what she is doing – and she is. I am stoked she joined and my praising could go on, but let her words show you more of her. Read all about her musings, what sparks a flame in her life and how she serves nature. Thank you dear Elenore.




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With this series I am sharing my absolute admiration and honor of beautiful empowering women whom I feel deeply inspired by. Each is unique but they all share one important quality – living what they love with authenticity. I am impressed by their courage, passion and success. Connecting & supporting each other is a theme close to my heart and through this space I will share their beauty and creativity with all of you.

Get empowered and inspired – Time for girl crushes & intriguing details!


Wow, I remember starting the Interview-Series and knew intuitively that it would bring me towards “meeting” / connecting with stunning women from all over the world. And the following lady is no exception. Meet Tonya, an artist in the kitchen and beyond. Her Business TheWellWoman is a beautiful place for modern holistic wellness. Her visionary, creations, style and words touch and amaze me. Inspiration galore, from just scrolling through her Insta-feed. But what pulled me to interview her, was her authentic way of living out her passions and soul work.

Harness self-trust and develop your capacity to feel, listen and follow your intuition. You will not be lead astray.

She works as a nutritionist with clients, as a plant-based chef, teaches workshops, you can find her on innovative pop-up dinners and events. I am happy to have her here, joining the other talented ladies in this Series. Empowerment! Thank you dear Tonya, you are special.
To my readers, enjoy this intimate conversation with Tonya Papanikolov, get to know her passions, how to connect a holistic lifestyle in the modern world and quite good advices.



Tonya Papanikolov


Woman. Cook. Teacher. Lover.


Food as an art form to nourish and inspire connection to the sustenance, healing and greater power of nature.


Curiosity, yoga, intuition, leaning into discomfort, an openness to change my lifestyle when it was making me unwell, key friendships


Water. Morning meditation. Smoothie/breakfast/elixir. Matcha or sometimes coffee with coconut milk. Evaluating my to-do list and prioritizing. Emails. Work [which ranges day to day since I’m freelance: Sometimes I’m working in kitchens, creating menus, recipe development, prepping for a dinner I’m hosting, private chef work, seeing a client, creative work…]. Yoga at some point in the day. Tea. Making a delicious dinner with music on. Talking to someone I love. Finishing up work/plans for next day. Reading. Relaxing. Bath. Back rubs.


It is the greatest honor and privilege.

At the best times, it means being wild, free, powerful.

At the worst times, it is a crusade against inequality.


Meditation. Living and teaching holistic wellness. Eating plants. Choosing local, organic food.


My family. Being born in Canada. My parents and grandparents who immigrated to Canada from Macedonia. My friends, loved ones, community. Doing heart-centered work I’m deeply passionate about. I could go on and on.


Being able to share happiness, laughter, life with my partner and loved ones.


Eat plants and whole foods, organic and local if possible. Look at your body and spirit as a whole. We are not compartmentalized. Everything is connected. Learn to listen to your body, tune into your energy and intuition and trust it.


I aim to do this through the food I create and the experiences and rituals around them. I’m preparing a spring equinox dinner in a couple days. The season is inspiring the menu and equinox traditions are inspiring the installations, sound and ritual that we’ll guide the guests through.
I also find this connection by leaving the modern world (the city) and going into nature!


Freedom, creativity, art, love, nature, plants, women, travel


Personal growth?

Staying open and aware to the growth happening each day

Lesson learned?

To trust. Myself and others.

Advice given?

Stay woke. Advice given before I knew what the phrase meant.

Advice for women?

Harness self-trust and develop your capacity to feel, listen and follow your intuition. You will not be lead astray.

Advice for success?

Take time alone, away from what everyone else is doing and saying. Sit, be meditative and listen to what you are called to do without outside influence. Don’t try and do it the way anyone else is doing it. Find authenticity in your creative expression and connect to something greater than yourself.

Advice for your younger self?

Same as above.

Quality in a woman?

Vison. Clarity. Directness.

Relationship Advice?

An honest, open, compassionate heart

Thing you always carry in your bag?

Dehydrated snacks. My day planner. A good pen. My recipe book.



Yoga. Meditation. Cooking. Warm elixirs. Dry Brushing.


Cooking. Meditation. Reading. Baths. Love.


Washing my face twice a day. Hydrating creams. Gau Sha massages. Facials. Saunas. Everything Living Libations.


Food. Herbs. Probiotics. Supplements (when necessary). Vitamin D. Coffee enemas. Essential oils. Acupuncture. Laughter.


…for your soul?


…for your heart?

Love. Blinding, nonsensical love.

…for the mind?

Meditation. Herbs. Yoga. Art.

…for your body?

High quality food. Breath. Movement. Touch.

…for your spirit?




Smoothie with supportive nourishing ingredients


Bowl of kitchari


Some beautiful and big creation of delicious plant food


Seed granolas, coconut yogurt – both homemade


How to choose?!


Cacao, always!!


A warm elixir


Elf in LA



Kitchen appliance?

Japanese knife


Currently: The Course of Love
Sex, Time, and Power: How Women’s Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution


I listen to everything.


‘Journey Through The Secret Life of Plants’, 1979


Rainer Maria Rilke — ‘The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.’


Yoko Ono, Georgia O’Keefe, Yrsa Daley-Ward


Big Sur





Way to move?

Slowly. Intentionally




All of them, the one’s I have yet to meet

Beauty Product?

Everything Living Libations for skin. RMS Beauty products.


Vintage mostly. My Levis jeans. My Kamm pants. Lots of hats.



Website Facebook Instagram


First picture via Sofia Banzhaf, Rest by Kelly Brown and @thewellwoman_

tasting / testing with beet pigments

A post shared by Tonya Papanikolov (@thewellwoman_) on



With this series I am sharing my absolute admiration and honor of beautiful empowering women whom I feel deeply inspired by. Each is unique but they all share one important quality – living what they love with authenticity. I am impressed by their courage, passion and success.
Connecting & supporting each other is a theme close to my heart and through this space I will share their beauty and creativity with all of you.

Get empowered and inspired – Time for girl crushes & intriguing details!


What a babe! Liz Smithers, the next fabulous women of my INSPIRATION-Interview Series, is the mind behind elikeaton. It’s a healthy lifestyle website where you can find all sorts of alchemy, recipes, musings, stunning pictures, products and wisdom. She wants to help you “steep in your journey to high-vibrational living”. I stumbled upon Liz (based on Kauai btw) on instagram and was hooked ever since. Her company creates spirited food rooted in plant chemistry + elevated apothecary staples. Their newest addition are bioactive nut butters.

You can find alot on the internet, but not your own personal wellness recipe

I love the honesty and sensuality of her words and imagery. It has a way of saying: Just enjoy the heck out of your life with every cell and every breath. Be free and feel sexy, share it, own it!
I am deeply inspired and grateful Liz for your sparkly work you share with us.
Read all about her passions, rituals and adaptogenic love affairs in this interview.


YOU ARE…Liz Smithers

PATH OF SERVICE…elevated lifestyling

YOUR MISSION…to provide convenient, eccentric, and mystical products in the form of language + substances to help pave the path to expansion of consciousness.

WHAT LED YOU TO HERE…An extremely debilitating case of negative self talk, substance abuse, and body shaming.

A TYPICAL DAY…MCT coated matcha-moringa lattes + yoga clients all morning. TRX or Ashtanga practice before I create in the kitchen. Photograph my creations and then get lost in my computer fort he rest oft he day until my boyfriend comes home. Researching, emailing, masterminding, blogging, brand building, reading over and over again the benefits of an adaptogenic-based diet.

WHAT DOES BEING A WOMAN MEAN TO YOU? Being flawlessly imperfect and owning it. Not being afraid to shake your shit and stand up for what you really believe in. Knowing how to cook a high vibrational 5 course meal from scratch.

EXPRESSION OF CONSCIOUSNESS & SUSTAINABILITY? It is something that takes practice. You become what you practice. If you practice conscious living, mindfulness and positive thinking, the way you brush your hair and speak to your clients will be just that. Sustainability is a side benefit of conscious living!

WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR? I am grateful that i experienced struggle early on and that it came out of nowhere. I was very protected my entire life and grew up in a home that was very much provided for. I had all of the „things“ that one could want growing up, except for awareness of my body + mind + the actions that followed. When I hit my twenties, life caught up to me fast and the things my parents DIDNT teach me I had to teach myself. I was forced to humble myself as my ego was shut down when I realized that there was more to life, compassion + self love, than having „things“

IDEA OF HAPPINESS? Making raw cheesecakes + drinking strong medicinal mushroom lattes dancing to The Lumineers with sun or beach breaks in between ☺

PHILOSOPHY ON FOOD & WELLNESS? It cant be something that you find on the internet. You can find alot on the internet, but not your own personal wellness recipe. Reaching high vibrational living is in my opinion, rocket science. Its hard man, and can slip away easily if you let it! I flushed animal products from my system years ago and I truly believe, as long as you supplement with substances that offer a whole different prism of potency, you are just fine leaving the piglets + calves in the pasture……I tend to follow Ayurveda most closely when I feel like I have hit a wall and need some guidance so there is a little ghee and eggs in my diet but fort he most part I function best off of lots and lots of fat + fruit, minimal protein, and activated seeds + nuts + grains. I think I love coffee as much as I love my family so probiotic rich drinks + foods are a must as the acid in coffee really can rip up my system. I also keep my coffee consumption to a 3-4 times a week minimum because of my vata body constitution. Coffee will send me off my rocker if I let it!
I exercise pretty much every day. Im addicted to movement and bodies are supposed to be in motion. The stress of not being able to move literally sends me into a swollen state of discomfort. Its MESSED UP. ☺

HOW DO YOU CONNECT NATURALISM & THE MODERN WORLD? Insert natural things, thoughts, and foods into our modern life. Dont hold back any opinions you have, stay raw. And eat LOTS of raw. I am huge on food. Its the most direct way we can flood ourselves with what we want to eventually become. The more you eat foods from the forest, not the factory, the quicker youll move into a synchronistic state of pure harmony. If you have someone over for coffee, blend some pine pollen + raw honey into it. Use kombucha over soda water for mimosas on the weekends. Bring plants inside, especially if you live in a city. Dont be afraid to walk around without shoes on.

This ones hard, Im easily inspired by people. If you want to feel good about yourself, hang out with me because I will shower your work in compliments! I have noticed a dramatic shift in peoples overall compassion for others within the last few years and I truly think its because millenials have switched up the game and let their creative power FLY. Now everyones experiencing a surge of inspiration and realizing they are capable of innovation too. Its beautiful.
WHO inspires me? The Savana podcast, my childhood best friend Ellery, my dad (he has put so much faith in what im starting!), Nitsa Citrine, Taline Gabriel, the beautiful hippie chicks who cashier at health food stores, Beyonce, Victoria Secret models (no shame!), my mom + sister as a collective unit because they are the same person and set my selfish tendencies straight sometimes!, Frida Kahlo, The Jungalow, Amanda Bacon, Regina Ferguson, Mary silcox.

Personal growth? Cutting out the attachment to material goods.
Lesson learned? You cant take without asking.
Adivce given? Stick to your word. I struggle with this as my schedule fils up quickly.
Advice for women? Dont ever let negative self talk patterns strengthen themselves. Catch them before its swallowed you. You are beautiful in your own way.
Advice for success? Dont stop.
Advice for your younger self? Start looking inward, not outward for answers.
Quality in a woman? Confidence. Its something no one can deny you of.
Relationship Advice? Maintain separate lives.
Thing you always carry in your bag? Citrine + quartz.

Daytime? I binge on adaptogens.
Nighttime? Sesame oil massage.
Beauty? Make a steaming hot pot of water and fill it with whatever herbs you can find from your garden (rosemary, sage, mint). Add cloves, cinnamon, rose petals, literally any plant foods. Cover your head in the pot with a towel and steam open your face until you have sweated everything out. Make a paste of Moringa powder, avocado, sea salt, and honey and apply to face. Let mask sit for 10 minutes and then wash off and follow with coconut oil + rose oil to moisturize.
Medicinal? I make a paste of Chaga, Cordyceps, and Reishi mixed with colostrum, + honey and eat it like pudding. Multiple times a day!


…for your soul? Eat what you crave.
…for your heart? Allow yourself to be sexy, vulnerable, and expressive.
…for the mind? Eat LOTS of fat.
…for your body? Make sure you move every day and massage yourself often. Feel your skin with your hands. Have lots of sex.
…for your spirit? Dont try and follow some sort of spiritual path that someone else is. Let yourself define your own concept of what spirit is. Definitely dont be afraid to express yourself. Oh and take part in shen building exercises and meals……lots of Pearl powder, matcha, reishi, and good conversation will nourish the spirit. The spirit just wants to believe.

Breakfast? Organic apple slathered with ELI KEATON BIOACTIVE BUTTER (coming soon!) + a matcha latte (i dont eat much for breakfast!) Usually have a coffee around 11 am too ☺
Lunch? Some sort of large greens salad with toasted nuts of ANY kind and garlic tahini dressing
Dinner? THAI HOT curry please with pecan crusted tofu wedges.
Snack? Dry roasted sweet potato fries or frozen mango ☺
Recipe? Dumplings by Emily via thisrawsomeveganlife
Treat? Dates stuffed with almond butter + a little coconut oil ☺
Drink? Alcoholic: Mexican mojito (tequila) non alcoholic: raw coconut water
Restaurant? Currently Caffe Coco here on Kauai
Skills? Knowing how to take a good picture or build something!
Kitchen appliance? Oh m gosh. My vitamix.
Book? Any book that has to do with Chinese medicine, self discovery, or Ashtanga yoga
Music? I love anything from Trampled by Turtles to Wu Tang clan to Stevie Nicks
Movie? Prooooobably The Great Gatsby.
Quote? I think that little by little Ill be able to solve my problems and survive –Frida Kahlo
Artist? Mary Silcox. Shes an all around artist of music , paint, and fashion. Based out of Richmond, Va.
Place? My moms kitchen
Element? Earth
Country? Spain
Way to move? Ashtanga yoga
Herb? Pine pollen
Plant? Spider plant
Beauty Product? A good sea salt scrub for face + body
Clothing? Flowy, tight waisted, cotton, leather clogs



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All Pictures via



With this series I am sharing my absolute admiration and honor of beautiful empowering women whom I feel deeply inspired by. Each is unique but they all share one important quality – living what they love with authenticity. I am impressed by their courage, passion and success.
Connecting & supporting each other is a theme close to my heart and through this space I will share their beauty and creativity with all of you.

Get mesmerized, empowered and inspired – Time for girl crushes & intriguing details!


Oh if there is one lady in the whole universe who I would fly over for my wedding someday to create the most amazing cake(s!) it would be Emily (…and of course because I want to finally meet this awesome canadian girl who started a raw-cake revolution and inspired me to give it a try back in the day) Emily von Euw is the brilliant creator of the award-winning blog This Rawsome Vegan Life and three cookbooks. Around 5  years ago I started reading her blog and was intrigued by not only the simple raw cuisine but also her raw unique touch to it. Honest & authentic –  is what first comes to mind, when I think of her work.

“I aim to be aware of my privileges as much as possible, consider their potentially damaging effect on others, and try to minimize that.” 

Emily wants to eat and share food that makes us feel good. A simple message which aligns with her mission of veganism and activism, symbiotically with the earth. If you have not yet been on her rawsome-web-world, I encourage you to do so because who does not want Fudgey Chocolate Peanut Butter Slices in their life? And those? Or how about some Chocolate cookies smooshed with raspberry cream? It is a healthy dessert paradise to say the least! Read all about her journey, wisdom, body-image and mission in this honest and beautiful interview. So grateful for you Emily & all that you do! You are a rockstar!



YOU ARE… alive (I think), tryin’ to minimize suffering in the world through my lifestyle, and breathing.

PATH OF SERVICE… makin’ yummy vegan recipes for the world (via my blog, and my cookbooks which you can find on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository and where ever books are sold)! Also getting more into speaking up on gender issues.


WHAT LED YOU TO HERE… that question is impossible to answer, because I do not understand how the universe works!! But basically every second of my life has led me here, and in alternate universes I would be on a different path. I am really glad this is the world I am in though, because it’s pretty great. Anways I guess a more appropriate answer is: I loved baking, then I decided to go vegan because it’s just the smart thing to do, so I re-created my baked recipes into raw vegan treats. I also always liked photography and writing, so when my parents told me I should put my recipes on the internet, I got over my lack of computer skillage, made a blog and put all my interests together.

A TYPICAL DAY… wake up, drink a litre of water, do computer stuff ‘til I get hungry. Then I make a smoothie or oatmeal or just eat a bunch of fruits and go to the gym with that energy. Pump it out. Lately I have been really into lifting heavy with the barbell. Get home and eat more fruit or oats. And keep drinking water (I try to get in a gallon a day). Then I make a recipe for my blog or work on a cookbook (although I FINALLY finished my third one a few days ago so now I am takin’ a break). I consider this my “work”. Hah. I love to hike, bike, listen to records, go to the farmers market or grocery store, or check out events in my area like art/music shows; so then I will probably spend the rest of the day doing that. Then I make a giant dinner of rice, veggies or whatever is in the house and watch a movie or documentary. Banana ice cream will definitely get in there somewhere, at some point.

WHAT DOES BEING A WOMAN MEAN TO YOU? I don’t know if I really like identifying with that word these days. I prefer to think of myself as simply a human being instead of allowing my body to be placed into a binary system (of males and females). This way of thinking gives me more freedom to express myself however I want. But in some sense I definitely still resonate with the word “woman” because I am alive in a world that still recognizes sex/gender as a very important aspect of who you are, and thus I have shared experiences with many other women. To me it means I am still a second class citizen compared to specific male groups in my culture, but these days the sexism is very subtle so often it goes undetected. But looking on the positive side: it means I am a tough-ass organism who is emotionally-aware, compassionate, and the source of human life. It rocks.

EXPRESSION OF CONSCIOUSNESS & SUSTAINABILITY? The thing you have to remember is that you can never be the perfect vegan/eco-concious person/saver of the world. The only thing you can do is IMPROVE everyday and become more aware and make more responsible changes. Sure, I call myself vegan which means I am living a “cruelty-free” lifestyle but I don’t know how the guy who worked on the banana farm I got my bananas from is treated. And don’t get me started on non-food purchase choices. It seems like buying a bra from Victoria’s Secret is an innocent, fun thing to do. Nope, they use child labour. And frankly there was probably some BS involved in the process of me getting this Apple laptop. So simply being a citizen in a more developed country (and most likely less developed countries as well) requires you to make seemingly innocent choices that actually have really shitty effects on a lot of different factors (people, planet, animals). I just ate some veggie sushi with Jack – yum – and we had to throw the styrofoam in the garbage; it’ll take a bajillion year to decompose. I am not trying to bum everyone out, and it’s not like I am constantly living in a depressed state over this, but we need to recognize it! So we just gotta keep making better choices and consider all those involved as much as possible. I feel it’s our responsibility. If we are gonna buy that bra, we should be responisble for knowing how it got there on the rack. We cannot trust companies to do this. ANYWAYS: I TRY to be live sustainably and conciously by being vegan, buying clothes/shoes almost exclusively from thrift stores or else (organic, sweat-shop free threads!), buying lots from the farmers market, biking places or taking transit, using organic simple ingredients on my bod (like oils, apple cider vinegar, fruits and oats), using eco-friendly, locally-made cleaning products. Let’s also keep in mind I have the ability live like this because of a lot of luck: I am white, female, living in a more developed country, financially-comfortable, able-bodied, educated, and all those other priviledges we lucky folk tend to take for granted.

WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR? All the cheap sushi in Vancouver. The veins in leaves. My cat/lover, Dante. My human/lover, Jack. My BODY. Tahini. Papaya. Spring water. Sunshine on my skin. Sweat. The barbell. Mariah Carey. Herman Hesse. Organic cotton. Oh my gosh and the concord grapes that are gonna be at the farmer’s market soon.

IDEA OF HAPPINESS? Kinda just all the stuff above brought together in an off-the-grid house in Keremeos, BC. Still haven’t been there but they grow organic fruit everywhere so.

PHILOSOPHY ON FOOD & WELLNESS? Eat whole foods. Preferably local, organic and colourful. Wellness is a holistic concept that involves food but so much more: mindfulness, self-love, exercise, hydration, relationships and longevity. meditation will help everything.


WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU? Vegan ladies I follow on IG who are killin’ it in the gym everday. People who Rich Roll interviews for his podcast. Hercules & Love Affair.



Personal growth?
Growing in self-love everyday. I used to have a serious eating disorder and I don’t think you ever really recover because it’s a mindset more than anything else BUT I have learned to love myself as I am, most of the time. Letting go of stuff (including gender restrictions, clothes I don’t wear, objects I don’t need, people who don’t inspire me). Going harder in the gym. Wearing mostly organic fabrics. Shaving my head.

Lesson learned?
Get to know yourself and find others who inspire you, then work to take something useful from all those people and work it into becoming a great version of yourself. Do not stop improving. Do not apologize unless you really mean it. Buy a Diva Cup (for yourself or for someone with uterus who you care about). Do not lower your standards for anyone. You are better than that.

Adivce given?
Eat whole, colourful plant foods all the time and drink lots of water. Sweat and breathe deeply every day. Meditate everyday (even if it’s just 5 minutes, all you gotta do is go somewhere quiet, breathe deeply, and repeat a word (ex. Om) over a few times until you kinda zone out but also feel really peaceful).

Advice for women?
Get a Diva Cup. Shave your head. If you wear makeup, get it organic and natural (although FYI you’re already a babe, you don’t need makeup). Don’t take no shit. Consider dating or at least making love with another woman, it’s very gentle and sweet. Lift heavy weights with good form and get STRONG. That’s how you get confident. Don’t worry about the thigh gap. Do a sexy photo shoot with yourself. Throw away magazines that have skinny, 12 yeard old-looking models posing in weak, inferior ways. Check out plus-size models and realize that is how MOST OF US look and it’s fabulous. By that I mean most of us are plus-size or larger and these skinny chicas we see on TV, movies and mags are a minority body type. Human bodies are not beautiful or ugly, they’re a spectrum of different, unqiue shapes, sizes and colours. Embrace the one you have because no one else gets to live in it. Just my opinion. I am all about self-love and strength. Don’t care about what your body LOOKS like, care about what it can DO.

Advice for success?
Do you. Do it strong. Do it better than anyone else is doing it. Share the shit out of it on social media.

Advice for your younger self?
Don’t waste time with people who don’t make you happy most of the time. Don’t buy crap you don’t need. If I am 15 or younger: go vegan now!

Quality in a woman?
Sensuality, fertility. Strength and perseverance during Menstruation Week. Mmmmhhhm.

Relationship Advice?
Do not lower your standards. Do not settle. Demand exactly what you want in bed (or wherever you’re doing sexual things). Buy some good quality dildos and organic vegan lube and use on each other. Role play. They need to make you a better person or else get out of the relationship. They also need to allow you to keep being yourself, don’t let them complete you; be a complete person who loves another complete person.

Thing you always carry in your bag?
Organic vegan lip balm, my glasses, my debit card, my phone, water. I SHOULD always carry reusable bags but I keep forgetting.



…for your soul?

…for your heart?

…for the mind?

…for your body?

…for your spirit?

Eating clean, mediating, having sex, working out, taking baths, petting Dante (all-in-one answer).



Breakfast? Green smoothie

Lunch? Fruit

Dinner? Veggies, greens and rice with tahini.

Snack? Dates or fresh fruit.

Treat? Vegan pizza.

Drink? Water or pineapple juice.

Restaurant? Axum Ethiopian. Get the veggie combo. Or sushi. Avocado roll for life.

Kitchen appliance? Vitamix.

Book? One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garica Marquez

Music? At the moment… R. Kelly – Ignition (THE ORIGINAL, not the remix).

Movie? I really liked the feminist vibe in Mad Max. Also really like Bram Stoker’s Dracula… Les Triplettes De Bellville… Oh and The Shining.


Artist? Michael Flomen

Place? The house in Wells Jack and I are stayin in right now.

Way to move? Dance.

Herb? Basil.

Plant? Maybe the olive tree. But I love them all.

Beauty Product? Apple cider vinegar. All my food.

Clothing? Organic cotton thongs (from




Website Facebook Instagram


All Pictures by Emily von Euw via ThisRawsomeveganlife



With this series I am sharing my absolute admiration and honor of beautiful empowering women whom I feel deeply inspired by. Each is unique but they all share one important quality – living what they love with authenticity. I am impressed by their courage, passion and success.
Connecting & supporting each other is a theme close to my heart and through this space I will share their beauty and creativity with all of you.

Get mesmerized, empowered and inspired – Time for girl crushes & intriguing details!


With art you can create a vessel for connection. I felt an instant connection to Vanja, the talented artist behind Merakilabbe and the woman who you get the chance to read about in the ongoing interview series. I saw and understood her vision through her drawing and choosing of words and symbols. Art can be a sacred act, as I am a creative person and have been drawing my whole life – Vanjas creations are incredibly inspiring.
Her work goes beyond, she uses mandala, female shapes, ancient symbols, poetry and nature to synthesize new and old dreams. It is healing arts and a celebration of the sacred female in all of us.

You do not have to have all the answers but do what you love, and what truly makes you sing.

Get to know her story & advices – let the images communicate their magic. I am inspired by her way of living with authenticity and grateful that she shares her visions with all of us through her art and also her words in this interview! Thank you Vanja.



YOU ARE… Vanja Vukelic of MerakiLabbe

PATH OF SERVICE… Healing Arts through Narrative Cosmic Illustration and Sacred Geometric Portals + Thai Massage Therapy

YOUR MISSION… To encourage and nurture healing, welness, awareness and personal growth in us all so we can empower ourselves to create our own realities.

WHAT LED YOU TO HERE… Passion to express myself and connect with minds alike.

A TYPICAL DAY…   usually awakened by my man’s soft kissess, and deep sniffing / loud slurping coffee noises around 6am. During the summer i go out in our yard and stand with my bare feet on the grass where i spend few moments in gratitude for Pachamama. Every morning I nurture myself with this smoothie : bananas, strawberries, brazil nuts, almonds, coconut oil, cinnamon, pecans, honey, spoon of spirulina, chia seeds, flax seeds and almond milk. Then after a super hot shower I am off to my (day) job where i work as a Social Media and Event Organizer at a Baby Store in Toronto. There goes about 10 hours of my day. Nights are always different ; from cooking dinner at home, spending time with our freinds, relaxing to some psychedelic downtempo, yoga, chanting, watching movies, long walks to staying home and creating from the source within.

WHAT DOES BEING A WOMAN MEAN TO YOU?   To me  It means to honor the sacred feminine within.  To be in harmony with the great mother goddess and live in full respect for all existence. To have responsibility of my thoughts, actions, and words and expand my vision beyond my physical plane.  To be creatress of life and in tune with all life cycles while accepting myself in my light and shadow in order to grow and evolve, but most importantly  it is knowing i am one with spirit through which i see my potential of manifesting visions into reality in this cosmic web.

EXPRESSION OF CONSCIOUSNESS & SUSTAINABILITY? I am a huge advocate of self- expression through conscious living and self -reliance. I feel deeply that all of us are capable to live a self-sustained life, but it really is a matter of our own choosing. I can only speak for myself and say that most important part of my life currently is being  conscious of my thoughts and actions while sustaining myself through my creations, growing my own food and living life on my own terms.

WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?   I am grateful for my health, for my most amazing parents and family, my cat who I am learning so much from, and my man who is allowing me to be fully myself in all colors, forms and sizes. I am grateful for everything and everyone in my life, from the smallest ant to the largest star in cosmos.

IDEA OF HAPPINESS? I am not sure who spoke these words but my heart recognizes them deeply : Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony ☺

PHILOSOPHY ON FOOD & WELLNESS?  For many years I’ve been ignorant and self-destructive, especially when it comes to food. This has changed, as now I know that the most important journey is that of healthy living through which we can ascend to higher dimensions and grow into better human beings. The reason I became a holistic practitioner is to spread the awareness of self-love and healing so we all can live our utmost potential.

WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU? Mother Nature is my truest inspiration. From the stars filled sky, to wise old trees, all the beings on earth, the air we breathe, I am so enchanted by all existence. I am also moved by sacred geometry, ancient civilizations and human psyche. My loved ones are my daily inspirations and my guidance to becoming the best version of myself in this dance of life.



Personal growth?  So much to say here but I have read somewhere that a bad day for your ego is a truly wonderful day for your soul and I apply this every time I observe my thoughts, feelings or actions. It’s hard work to stay hooked to infinity , but what made me grow personally more than anything else is staying connected to nature more, my own self, and excluding everything and everyone who does not fit in my vibrational field.

Lesson learned?  Every exit is an entry somewhere else.

Advice given?  That of impermanence.  That nothing stays the same, everything changes and that we are pure consciousness observing these manifestations.

Advice for women?  Be yourself. Do not compete. Do not envy. Show the world who you are because you are Needed and you are Beautiful and do not have anyone else tell you different. Be honest with yourself about all your strengths and weaknesses and share this light with others.

Advice for success? Align yourself with your soul’s purpose. Be patient. You do not have to have all the answers but do what you love, and what truly makes you sing. Make that your work and don’t stop until you succeed. Failures will come, obstacles too, but they will only make you stronger, wiser and closer to your dream.

Advice for your younger self?  Do not worry what others  think of you, it only matters what you think of you.

Quality in a woman?  Fearlessness, Independence and Humor

Relationship Advice?  Do not expect others to know exactly how you feel, what you think and so on… Direct Communication goes a long way in sustaining a healthy relationship.

Thing you always carry in your bag?  A Book, tons of pens, my wallet, bottle of water, pashmina and a deodorant.



Daytime?  Purifying home with Palo Santo in the morning and stretching.

Nighttime?  I rarely skip my cup of Chai ritual every night.

Beauty? Morning : I cleanse my skin with Sukin Cleanser combining of chamomile, witch hazel, green tea and aloe vera and apply their facial moisturizer made from rose hip, sesame and jojoba oil. Sukin Skincare is best I have ever used. It is a Vegan, Organic  and 100% certified carbon neutral company that my Skin adores! At night I apply their  Purifying Facial Mask made from Kaolin Clay as a gentle treatment to soothe, de-stress,  and tone my skin.

Medicinal?  Mandala Silent Meditation  and Bound Lotus Kriya are my daily rituals, as well as smoking ganja at the end of the day.



…for your soul?  Reading and Writing

…for your heart?  Cuddling with Andre and Nega (my cat ) + Travelling

…for the mind? Entheogens (they also nourish my  soul, spirit and the heart as well ) ☺

…for your body?  Walking, and a lot of walking + healthy diet and stretching

…for your spirit? Diving deep into my soul’s ideas and transforming them into illustrations, being full on silly with Andre ( we love being kids together ) and dancing to psychedelic sounds!



Breakfast?  My fav brekfast usually consist of 1 bowl of fruits+1 bowls of veggies and yogurt on the side.

Lunch? Oh anything Persian, Mexican or Indian. It hurts me to choose favorite there.

Dinner? Rice and Gucamole with some Yam on the side.

Snack? Almonds, bananas, and watermelon.

Recipe?  We eat mainly raw at home, but when we do cook it usually is a soup.

Blend 6 tomatoes- 3-4 garlic cloves ( we LOVE garlic ), 1 large carrot, 2 tea spoons of oregano, 1 whole onion, bunch of parsley, hand full of chia seeds,  teaspons of turmeric and cumin and blend all together! Once in liquid form, squeeze 2  whole limes and let it simmer for 40 minutes. We make this soup few times a week and love it!

Treat? Yes!  love treats : any kind of ginger molasses honey cookies, tea biscuits especially when filled with chocolate,  nutella crepes , anything  coconut filled, chai lattes .. i will stop now. ☺

Drink? Water, or a freshley squeezed watermelon water, or tea. I try not to drink anything else, but i have to be honest and say there is an occasional mojito or a beer when i go out.

Restaurant?  Sheherzade, Persian Cuisine in the west end Toronto. Most fantastic food!

Skills? In myself : Writing and Direct Approach in communication. In others: Physical strenght and physical discipline, because i have none (yet) .

Kitchen appliance? The most amazing set of marble knives ! I love cutting fruits and veggies with them but sometimes i get carried away and test them on other surfaces, at which point Andre comes to rescue and takes them away from me.

Book? There is no book in the world that i love more, or that I have read more times then any other. It is Siddharta by Herman Hesse.It deals with  spiritual journey of self discovery and has touched me profoundly in many ways.

Music? Reggae, Psychedelic Trance, Psychedelic Rock, Techno, Ambient… Some of my favorites are : Groundation, Gregory Isaacs, Bjork, Portishead, PJ Harvey, Lights in Babylon, Boris Brejcha,  Chandra Lacombe, Deva Premal, Grouch, Pink Floyd, Carbon Based Lifeforms..and more….

Movie?  Sidewalls

Quote?  “I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”          ( Anais Nin )

Artist?  Alejandro Jodorowsky and Marina Abramovic

Place? Andre’s chest ☺

Element? Air

Country?  Brasil

Herb? Cumin

Plant?  ALL Succulents

Beauty Product? Anything from SUKIN Skincare Line

Clothing? I love baggy, breathable handmade clothing. Anything  cotton, hemp, linen or bamboo



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