Woman 2 Woman interview - Karmen Novak
Entrepreneur. Founder of Flower and Spice, modern apothecary.
We started with the Woman 2 Woman campaign exactly one year ago! I knew that one day I will have to do this interview myself, and I think now is a perfect time! I love reading other women's stories and I hope you will enjoy reading mine.
Who are you today and what is different than ten years ago?
When I was 30, I thought that I had my whole life ahead of me. I had a great job as a video producer, lots of friends and the world was my oyster. I was eager to find what the world has to offer.
Now, at 40, I am learning how to slow down, how to respect my body, my mind, and how to look at the world from a different angle. What is that I can give to the world, not the other way around! I would say that I listen better to others and myself; I am trying to understand my emotions and I am learning that we are all different and that every person is its own universe. That opened so many doors to possibilities, for love, for change, and for growth. I learned that age has no relevance when it comes to starting over, learning something new, to move forward. I can say that I am happy where I am at this point in my life and am very much looking forward to new adventures.
Do you have your spirit animal?
I can’t say I do, but If I had to pick one, that would be a horse. Horses are my favorite animals. Horses are calm but strong, they can be very timid but still powerful. I think that I have some similar characteristics.
What are your guilty pleasures?
I think I spend a lot of money on wellness, massages, spas, and I also really enjoy good food and good wine. I would not necessarily call it guilty pleasures, since I don’t feel guilty while enjoying it. ;)
How well do you know your darker side?
A few years ago, I got acquainted with anxieties, which basically is the other name for fear. I had a few health scares in a short period of time, which really knocked me down. I never thought about my health, it was always taken for granted until then.
I struggled for years to recognize these unwanted emotions, and now I can stop it before they take over. I learned to do this through theraphy, I am also trying to relax more often and not stress out about things that I can't control. I am a bit of a control freak, so this is not the easiest for me. :)
How are you handling it?
I decided to always look on the bright side of life, and even if I struggle with handling stress, which can be a big trigger, I manage to talk myself out of it and think of everything good in my life. It’s usually working. I have my relaxation techniques that include breathing, walking, I often use incense/essential oils for aromatheraphy and take long baths.
Who do you let into your home?
I love my home, it’s my calm sanctuary, but having said that, I love to host. Since I love cooking, I really enjoy cooking dinners for my friends. My friends and family are always welcome.
Who do you let close to you?
I was told, many times, that I appear unapproachable. That surprised me since I think that I am a very open person regarding getting to know others. It is true though that I don’t open myself to others very often. I could not say who are those who really know me, but I do have a few very close friends and family members that probably know me best. I open myself to those that I love.
Where or what is your happy place? How do you find peace?
I love being at the seaside. I love to look at it, smell it, or swim in it. I love long walks at the beach, which really calms me down. I could stare at the horizon for hours.
How important is a connection with nature for you?
Connecting to nature came with the time when I was creating Flower and Spice. It was after I moved to The Netherlands and took a bit of time off. I realized how much stress and damage a high paced lifestyle caused. My body was in distress. I had problems with my skin, hair, sleeping; everything was out of balance. I started to eat healthier, sleep more, and get everything my body needed from nature. Food, skincare, and general lifestyle. I walked in the forest more often, and that really gave me energy.
Nature is essential for my wellbeing. Even if I live in the city now, luckily Amsterdam is quite green, I need my dose of pure nature on a regular basis.
How do you take care of your body, mind, and soul?
I am trying to eat healthily, sleep enough, and exercise. I have been doing strength training for years now, just to keep my body a bit stronger. I love going to a massage, I am going almost every week, and I also love to visit the sauna once in a while.
It’s tough to keep my mind calm; I feel that I have a million thoughts in my mind at any given moment. To unplug, I watch marathons of series on Netflix with a cup of tea in my hands, scented candles, and a cozy blanket.
How do you take care of your skin?
Well, this one is easy; I use my products, a Flower and Spice regime. I created products that my skin loves, and they smell exactly the way I like it, so I am enjoying this part of aromatherapy as well on a daily basis. I combine it with products that my co-skincare formulators made since I really like trying new things. There are so many amazing products out there.
What do your daily, weekly and monthly rituals look like?
Daily - I love to drink my coffee in bed while I scroll through my messages and see what my friends have posted on their social media. I miss my friends and family, and this is the way I feel I am staying connected with them.
Weekly – I am going for a massage regularly. My posture is not perfect, and work stress keeps my neck tight, so I really need it and genuinely enjoy it.
Monthly – I am trying to travel, even if it’s only for a long weekend. I love to discover new places, meet new people and see something I never saw before.
Which piece of wisdom from your grandparents or parents do you carry with you?
What I learned from my elders is that life is short, that we need to care for others as well as ourselves; we need to be respectful and present. Time and attention are the most you can give to people you love.
Which wisdom can you deliver to others?
I don’t think that I am in a position to share any wisdom since I am still trying to get some myself. I recommend you to be nice to yourself and others, keep an open mind, and accept diversity because only when you do, you get to see all the beautiful shades that life has to offer.
Woman to Woman. What advice would you give to your 15-year-old self?
Everything will be ok, and anything you will do is going to be a lesson, not a mistake.
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