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We sat down with Après co-founder, Darby Jackson, to learn about how she *realistically* balances life, her love for wellness and a thriving plant-based protein business—all while positively evolving her personal brand.
It was very clear to my co-founder and I that there was nothing on the market that spoke to the modern wellness consumer post-workout. Everything either screamed 'bulk and biceps', had a terrifying ingredient list, or was too hard on the stomach. I was also a health coach and personal trainer and the number one question I'd get from all of my clients was, "What do I eat or drink after I workout?". I didn't have a clean and convenient recommendation for them.
Drawing on our backgrounds as Division 1 athletes, my experience with my clients, and feedback from boutique fitness studio owners, we built Après from the ground up to meet our customer's exact needs. It took us a year and a half to design the product and get it right, but it's that attention to detail and 100% commitment that I think has helped Après gain such early momentum.
My daily wellness routine used to involve rigorous exercise but I've since slowed things down. I've learned that my body and brain need a combination of intense exercise mixed with yoga, meditation and overall more rest! I think it's easy to get caught up in the mindset that more is better with exercise but a few great classes per week mixed with some walking, meditation, and self-care is perfect for me right now.
Speaking of hard workouts, I've fallen in love with boxing. It does a great job of feeding my athletic, competitive side while also pumping me up for whatever comes next in my day. Every time I walk out of a boxing class I feel like I'm ready to take on the world.
Yes! Right now I'm in love with a pumpkin smoothie recipe we developed for the holidays. It's 1 Vanilla Après mixed with 2 tablespoons of almond butter, 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and ice cubes. It's to die for!
The inspiration for new Après flavors comes from our community. We are constantly asking people via social posts and stories about what they'd like to see from us next. When we polled our following earlier this year, it was clear that they were looking for a coffee and vanilla flavor from us. We also started to see people pour their Après into their morning coffee, so it was a no-brainer. In terms of new flavors, we are working on two right now. All I can say is that people will be very happy!
Want to treat yourself post-workout? Use code MINDBODY20 to get 20% off all Après products!
I’m celebrating week 21 of pregnancy. Baby is the size of a banana or bell pepper. I don’t know why it’s so fun to compare a growing fetus to a fruit or veggie, but it gives me a much-needed laugh while I make note to avoid consuming bananas for the week. This is also ultrasound week. I’m no longer able to bring my husband and daughter to the appointment, but we understand that these restrictions are put in place to protect us. Like so many pregnant women and mothers across the world, I’m doing my best to adapt to the new norm and changes that COVID-19 has introduced to my already stressful life.
Pregnant women across various metro cities are beginning to face fears of delivering their baby without a birthing partner by their side for the duration of the hospital stay. Family members and friends may not be able to meet baby in-person for quite some time, so those special first meetings happen over FaceTime. New mommy groups switch to virtual meetups. I’m feeling the weight of it all (and I’m not referring to the extra weight I’ve gained from WFH snacking), the heaviness of the unknown that we all carry as we navigate through all of this change.
Tuning into nightly news or googling the latest COVID-19 death tolls is a surefire way to lose sleep, but we do it anyway because we want to stay informed as we wrap our heads around how much this pandemic will change our world. Maybe your anxiety and personal despair grow as you hear from a friend who recently lost their job or read about your favorite restaurant unable to keep its doors open. Canceled events, long-anticipated vacations, and temporarily closed fitness studios are not only inconvenient, but force us to reframe our attitudes.
I can hear my mother’s voice telling me to relax. She tells me that the baby can feel my stress, and that isn’t good for anyone. I begin to feel guilty about my inability to quiet the negative feelings and decide that something needs to change. We can’t change what the media reports, the pressure at work, or predict how long it will take for the economy to recover. But what if we reminded ourselves to do the best with what we have and keep moving forward—one day at a time. Amidst the chaos, we’re becoming a stronger, kinder community, and that is truly a beautiful thing to see.
The journey to my second trimester wasn’t an easy one. I suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage a few years ago. I made time for my body and mind to heal after the loss. Float tank sessions, meditation, vinyasa power flow, and frequent facials helped me connect with my body. I can’t say self-care alone healed my depression, but it certainly helped me discover the importance of self-love and repaired my self-confidence.
After many pregnancy tests and negative results, I was at peace with accepting that having another child may not be in the cards for me. Fast forward to age 37. I was shocked to see a + symbol on three pregnancy stick tests. Although I’m medically referred to as a geriatric pregnancy, my OB/Gyn said there was no reason for me to go into this pregnancy with a negative mindset. Eat healthy, stay active, and focus on being POSITIVE. Maybe the pursuit of happiness and path to personal wellness was really that simple.
On my 38th birthday, I celebrated my 20th week of pregnancy—I’ll refer to it as the “Pregnant in a Pandemic Party.” I blew out a candle on a warm chocolate chip cookie that my husband and daughter baked together. They were my only party guests, but I didn’t need a room full of people at a fancy restaurant to feel pure gratitude. People across the world continue to test positive for COVID-19. I was safe in my home with my family. I was right where I needed to be.
Although the past few weeks have brought a wide range of emotions for all of us, I’m choosing to use this extra time to self-reflect and bond with family. I’m mentally recording my five-year-old daughter as she whispers to my stomach and tells her baby sister that August couldn’t come soon enough. This is life. So perfectly imperfect at times, but beautiful in more ways than we know. We may be housebound, down to the last few rolls of toilet paper, and our hair hasn’t seen a salon in over a month. The loss of control and routine over our daily lives can make us feel like failures. Trust me; we’re not. We were never meant to get through this alone. Together, we will get through this—one day at a time.