What can’t you live without these days? We’re sharing another in our series where I ask some inspiring women this same question. Today I’m excited to introduce you to Etienne, a researcher, friend and all around lovely human. Here’s what she’s loving…
Etienne is a humanity-centered research and strategy leader passionate about designing inclusive experiences for all. She is a Principal Researcher at Amazon and has previously led research teams at Uber, Method Products, and The Clorox Company. She is the founder of Redefining Having it All a non-profit organization that supports female empowerment through diverse stories of women’s ambition around the world.
She just launched Seven Days to Redefining Having It All – a free action journal based on the seven universal pillars from her global research with 100 women in 12 countries (India, Liberia, Myanmar, Sweden, to name a few)! Each day is filled with inspiration from diverse women around the world, reflections, and simple actions you can take to redefine wholeness for yourself. Follow her on Instagram @redefininghavingitall
I’ll let Etienne take the mic from here!
It’s been 365+ days since our lives came to a screeching halt. In the “before times,” I had just returned from my The Huddle in Palm Springs and was days from hopping on a plane to Sydney, Australia for ethnographic research. I was getting ready to photograph and interview women in a 13th country in a year for Redefining Having it All, my passion-project-turned-non profit that supports female empowerment through celebrating diversity. Our kids were busy with school, sports, friends, and graduation performances. But all of the sudden, everything changed. We quickly embraced our new sedentary lives. We are striving to retain what we have learned from this challenging year, feeling extremely grateful and hopeful for our re-emergence into our brave, new normal.
Here are a few things I can’t live without:
MORNING WORKOUT ROUTINE
Morning routines have been key to keeping my spirits high, especially through the toughest of times (think: surviving, with the hope of thriving). I have loved movement in all forms throughout my life—yoga, kung fu, dance, pilates, swimming—but I have always depended on classes. Over the past year, I have enjoyed so many forms of workout—all remote and with my lady friends. My favorites have been TRX Live Workouts (especially TRX Yoga with Krystal), X’Core (using a skateboard instead of a Pilates reformer), yoga with Naushon Kabat-Zinn (one of my favorite yoga teachers IRL). In between, I love my Peloton rides with Ally Love and my Alo Moves power yoga.
STRONG MORNING BEVERAGE GAME
My morning beverage game is strong. I begin the day with a bottle of water with a dropper of flavorless, liquid electrolytes before I workout. The afterward, I have either organic black tea with milk, Third Culture Matcha with frothed milk—or, if I’m feeling fancy, I’ll make black tea on the stovetop with chai masala blend from Oaktown Spice Shop. In the last few months, (as I’ve been seeing myself age right on video conference), I have been adding a scoop of collagen into my morning beverage. This makes for a great liquid breakfast that gets me to lunch.
THE PERFECT LIPSTICK FOR ZOOM CALLS
If you know me, you know that I have never worn lipstick until the pandemic. It’s the power suit of Zoom. I keep a few of my favorites in an espresso cup on my desk. For shine, I love my Quartz Shimmer Beyond Gloss from BeautyCounter. For some color, I wear 107 Dahlia from Shiseido. And for conference talks and special Zoom appearances, I go with 04 Cana from Aveda.
Since I am seen only from the shoulders-up these days, I have gotten some bolder-than-before earrings and short necklaces. I love my pieces from McMullen, my favorite boutique, a Black, female-owned store that supports emerging and underrepresented designers, that is world-class and right here in Oakland. My go-to earrings from McMullen are by Khiry and Lizzie Fortunato. I just ordered a piece direct from Bangalore from The Jewelry Project by Deepti Sudhindra, an amazing female designer, whom I met in my travels.
TRAVELING FROM HOME
Travel is perhaps our favorite family past time—for myself, my husband, our kids, and my parents. While we haven’t been on a plane over a year, we travel in other ways. Our favorite original series that tells the real, human stories of people all over the world is Little America (Apple TV), an anthology of true, coming-of-age stories of immigrants in America (our kids’ favorite is tied between “The Cowboy” about a Nigerian college student who falls in love with cowboy culture in Oklahoma, and a “The Manager” about a 12 year-old boy who is left to run his family’s motel when his parents get deported). Other favorite movies on the dramatic side for adults have included I’m No Longer Here and Adú (both Netflix). But our absolute family favorites are Fresh Off the Boat (the first U.S. sitcom about an Asian-American family) and Blackish. We roll on the floor, laughing out loud at these shows, which we consider “edutainment,” in which important lessons about race, class, identity, and growing up are discussed in a hilarious way.
VIRTUAL COMMUNITIES OF WOMEN
I have loved supporting women through our journeys throughout my professional work and personal life. I have loved The Huddle, Tara Mohr’s Sunday Sessions, and Lean In Circles—all communities of women supporting women from different angles, with the singular focus of becoming your authentic self.
TRAVEL THROUGH COOKING
We have revisited places we’ve been through food from around the world. My husband has really honed his cooking talent during the pandemic with all sorts of adventurous menus. We’ve stocked up on some new favorite cookbooks: Burma Superstar, Xi’an Famous Food, Das Cookbook, and Japanese Soul Cooking.
Check out the whole What We Can’t Live Without series right here.