Stella Simona is a Los Angeles-based creative entrepreneur and the designer behind heirloom jewelry line Haati Chai (and co-designer of its sister line, Amarilo). Stella's designs incorporate hints of East meets West and represent her heritage, culture, and journey towards self-discovery, functioning as everyday heirlooms to be passed down from generation to generation. We catch up with Stella about her morning rituals and how her connections to her immediate surroundings allow her to reflect on personal growth.
Stella wears the Tulia Pant in Camel
Do you have a morning ritual? If so, what does it consist of?
I take my mornings slow. I wake an hour before everyone else in my home does and spend the first hour in the bathroom indulging in beauty rituals -- a nice face mask, facial massage, oils. The next hour I spend breastfeeding and bonding with my newborn. There’s a cozy spot we like to sit at with a beautiful view right by my bedroom window. It’s especially amazing for us on sunny days since we get to sunbathe.
Do you have any self care or beauty habits that you consistently practice?
Yes morning and night I love to indulge in a lengthy beauty routine head to toe. Each day I mix it up and add something new to cater to my mood -- some days it will be a different facial tool, or a different mask, or a focus on ayurvedic products.
Describe your home in five words:
Where love lives -- peaceful, cozy.
Do you have personal practices for living or well-being that create a reduced environmental impact or are zero waste? (share a recipe, practice or how to)
It’s important to me to practice the art of intention in everything that I do so I do not add to waste. This means to live slowly and to invest in wardrobe pieces as well as living items slowly.
Try as we might, humans will inevitably negatively affect the environment in some ways, both on a local and global scale. With this in mind what are some specific intentions and convictions that you hold close?
A lot of damage done to the world stems from a lack of knowledge. It’s important to me that I educate my kids about sustainability, and how it improves the quality of life.
What is a project for home or living that you have recently started or finished?
I recently finished my sons’ room. It was extremely therapeutic to create a space for them that they could call their own.
What distracts you? How do you remain centered?
Work distracts me. I tend to go into workaholic-mode often. I have to remind myself that although I'm very passionate about what I do, it’s very important to pause. Taking care of myself first allows me to excel at everything else -- motherhood, my marriage, career. Nature and beauty rituals keep me grounded. I try to be aware of my emotions and address them as soon as I start to go off balance. This takes a lot of discipline but is beginning to pay off as I commit more and more to it.
How has your relationship with your immediate surroundings and the environment at large adapted or changed through the years?
I’ve grown to be more thoughtful -- learning that everything I bring into my space should serve me purpose and bring me joy. I am also grateful, realizing that who I am today is meant to be and I embrace it fully.
Describe a practice in living well that you admire from someone in your community.
Being in nature. Soaking up the sun, letting the breeze run through my hair, movement, breathing in fresh air. I try to do this as much as possible.
Share a well-loved family recipe:
South African Yellow Rice
○ 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
○ 2 cups jasmine rice
○ 1- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
○ 1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
○ ½ teaspoon powder ginger
○ ¼ teaspoon curry powder optional
○ 4 cups chicken stock or water
○ 1 1/2 teaspoon salt or more adjust to taste
○ Lemon (optional)
1. Heat a saucepan with coconut oil.
Add ginger, turmeric, curry, and brown sauté for about 1 minute.
2. Stir in rice to the pan, about 2 minutes, then add 4 cups of stock. Then reduce heat, and simmer until rice is completely cooked- about 18- 20 minutes. As the rice cooks you may add more stock if needed. Fluffy and serve. I sometimes will squeeze lemon on top which gives it a citrus flavor.