This week we sat down with our friend Rachel, of Ivy Wild Beauty, to chat about how she navigated a HUGE career change, and what living a balanced life (while being a #girlboss) means to her.

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Introduce yourself! What do you want people to know about you and what you do?!

I'm Rachel Mulcahy. About a year ago, I left my corporate job to open Ivy Wild, a clean beauty store in Washington, DC. Although I caught the entrepreneurial bug in the early days of corporate life, I never could have predicted it would take shape this way but I am so glad that it did. I love working with products I'm passionate about, and being connected to the local DC community.

As intimidating as it can be to make a major leap in life, I eventually found that the nagging voice inside - telling me I needed to start creating a path and a day-to-day life that was more true to my interests, motivations, and strengths - started to outweigh the fear and the "what-if" of taking the first steps. 

What does living a balanced lifestyle mean to you?

Living a balanced life right now means setting my expectations and goals for the business, as well as making some time to step away. For me that usually means time to get outside, cook a simple dinner, watch a mindless TV show...   

What's your fitness routine?

Lately, my fitness "routine" is not that routine... Usually it's at least some core and pilates at home, plus some walking with my dog or, ideally, running. I feel the most fit, relaxed and in charge when I incorporate running regularly. I used to need to run 3 or 4 miles to feel like I was really doing some good, but now I prefer shorter sprint circuits. You can pack in a great workout so much more quickly.

What does eating mindfully mean to you?

I love to find recipes or simple dishes that are really veggie-forward. Picking a few veggies and grains and finding ways to make them as delicious and satisfying as take-out is the best way I've found to keep my daily eating in balance. I eat meat and fish (mainly cooking chicken at home, if I'm honest) but it's usually in the role of a topping than a main. 

I typically stick with pretty basic, veggie and grain based meals during the week and then at least twice a week I'll go out to dinner or get take-out ... and not worry about it for a minute.

What do you drink in a normal day? (coffee, tea, water, juice, energy drinks etc) 

I always have coffee (usually one or two cups) and water, and add lots of tea in the colder months. I love to sprinkle in something like switchel or kombucha once or twice a week to boost gut health and digestion.

How do you cope with stress? 

The best way I know to cope with stress is by getting active, taking some down time and just reflecting on what's going on. Taking a minute to be grateful each day is also really amazing... it kind of puts everything in perspective. Most things that are stressful in the moment aren't actually that significant so letting go of it quickly just starts to make sense (not that it's always easy to do).

What are your favorite cities? Why?

I have this thing where I always envision myself living in any city that I visit. Usually, I fall in love with a city in about a day or two and then spend the next month thinking about what it would be like to move there. I love the excitement and activity of a big city, and the feeling that you have access to the best of everything - the way you feel in New York or Paris, for example  - but I also am totally drawn in by the charm and somewhat more chill vibe of smaller cities like Charleston or Nashville. 

Obviously, I love DC and am so proud of how it has continued evolving over the last several years - I feel like DC is finding it's "cool".

How do you seek out community? 

Honestly, starting Ivy WIld has been a big exercise in that. I've loved connecting with other businesses in the DC area (especially all of these independent, woman-owned businesses), and I love connecting with our shoppers. The young professional women in DC are so inspiring ... I'm frequently stunned by how many women are involved with side hustles, hobbies or pursuing other passions while also working demanding, full-time jobs, while finishing school or getting an extra degree. 

What's the hardest part of maintaining a work life balance?

Since Ivy Wild opened earlier this year, maintaining balance has really been about reminding myself that it takes time to grow - I felt a need to be there 100% of the time, and try to manage every little detail when we opened, but now I step away a few days a week and recharge. It's been incredibly important to keep the perspective of a long term vision - as much as you focus on every day, trying to nail the details, you also can't let the daily or weekly fluctuations shake you. When you're just starting out, you don't know what to expect from week to week, or month to month. You have to take deliberate steps to grow the business, reflect on what's working, amplify that - and not be deterred. It's very much about putting in the hours and effort, but keeping perspective.  

What’s the hardest part of adulthood? 

Personally, one of the hard parts of adulthood has been re-envisioning a career path and weighing the risks and uncertainty. So much of life felt like a pre-determined path, from school to college to finding a job... and that was all great and comfortable. But twelve years later, as I was thinking about the next ten years, I realized I didn't want to keep waiting to make a change that deep down I knew I wanted. 

What would you tell yourself 10 years ago? 

I would tell my mid-twenties self to advocate for yourself more professionally, and to not worry so much about making other people happy.

Do you live by any mottos or mantras?

I don't have a mantra but lately the idea of "why not now" has been huge... and I'm loving it!

How do you stay motivated, both at work and in your active life? 

When I'm having a slow week, I remind myself of my ultimate vision (whether it's professional or personal) and just dwell on what's exciting about that vision... when you spend time with it, and play that out in your head, it can be totally revitalizing.

What advice do you have for people who want to make changes in their diets or fitness plans? Or for people who aren't happy with their status quo? 

That saying that the first steps are often the hardest ones to take - it's true. Map out the plan that you think gets you there, then figure out what a small step is - something you can achieve today. And just do that. It often starts rolling from there!

How do you turn around a bad day? Any tips/tricks? 

Comfort food and snuggles. 

I make time daily for:

Getting outside with my golden retriever, Charlie.