Episode 101: Beth Russell, Founder of House of Potentia

This week’s guest, Beth Russell, Founder of House of Potentia, sits down to talk about her mission to encourage personal change through perfumery. With a background in psychology, she created House of Potenia with the idea of olafactive induction, or as she says, “Using scent as an agent of change and a reminder of how you want to feel.”

Get a deeper look inside her brand and its purpose, and get to know her other life as an alpaca farmer and advocate for adoption.

Dan Hodgdon
AnnouncerWelcome to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY® hosted by Jodi Katz, Founder and Creative Director of Base Beauty Creative Agency.
Jodi KatzHey, everyone. It's Jodi Katz, your host of WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY® Podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in. I am so grateful that you did.

Today's episode features Beth Russell. She's the founder of House of Potentia. She's actually a Base Beauty client, and incredibly interesting and fascinating woman, so I hope you enjoy her episode.

Well, I am so excited to be sitting with Beth Russell. She's the founder of House of Potentia. Welcome to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY®.
Beth RussellThank you. Hi, Jodi.
Jodi KatzHi. So, full disclosure, you are a client.
Beth RussellYes.
Jodi KatzSo I've gotten to know you well over the past few months.
Beth RussellYes.
Jodi KatzI'd like our fans to know how we've come to meet each other. How will you be spending your day today?
Beth RussellI'm actually going to leave here and go jump on the train home so I can be home when my girls get back from school.
Jodi KatzAnd where is home?
Beth RussellD.C. Yeah, so it's a three-hour train ride. I can be in the quiet and read and think. I really actually love it, so looking forward to it.
Jodi KatzI like train travel, too. I read or do a meditation app.
Beth RussellI do that a lot. You don't stress like you do on an airplane trying to get there. You can move around, you can go to the café car. I love that mode of travel. It's my favorite.
Jodi KatzIt's a great time to listen to podcasts.
Beth RussellYeah. I've listened to a lot of yours on the train, and they're wonderful.
Jodi KatzThank you. Okay, there's so much to talk about and there's so many fascinating things about you. The first thing I want to start with is something that always brings a smile to my face, which is that you live on an alpaca farm.
Beth RussellYes, we do. Well, we have an alpaca farm. It's close by the home we've been living in for 25 years. We found it about four years ago. I never dreamed I'd be an alpaca farmer, but it's sort of everything fell into place and we just love it. It's just added this dimension to our lives we never would have dreamed.
Jodi KatzHow does one become an alpaca farm owner? How did this happen?
Beth RussellWell, we first found this property that just sort of fell into our laps. We fell in love with it and decided to buy the farm and renovate these homes on the property. I just kept looking at the fields going, "There needs to be something on here. We can't just have this place and not have some sort of farm animals or something."

I had seen a website for alpaca shawls and stuff. I clicked on to look at the products, and I saw these alpacas, and I'm like, "Those are cool."
Didn't know anything about them, and ended up getting sort of obsessed. We went and visited this alpaca farm in Colorado, and I watched how she cared for them. I thought, "We can do that. We can do that," even though we'd never had livestock or anything before. We just were crazy enough to think we could do it, so we did.
Jodi KatzThis was just a little seed was in your head and it grew into an alpaca farm.
Beth RussellThat's exactly right. It just all sort of organically snowballed and became what it is now, which is this huge part of our lives, which we, as I said, when we went into it, we had no thought that this was what we're going to do. We are not strategic. In fact, I always say to myself, "If I had known when I got started on whatever, I would never have done that," but we're always so glad we did.
Jodi KatzWhat were the other animals that you considered?
Beth RussellJust the general livestock. We did do ... We have 30 chickens as well as our alpacas. We started, actually, with chickens, just a few of them, and then we fell in love with our chickens, and now we have all these chickens.
Beth RussellWe have donkeys, two miniature donkeys that are just lovable things. Just sort of had random thoughts. My daughter wants a pig now. I'm kind of resisting that a little bit, but I know we'll end up with a pig because she kind of gets what she is obsessed with.
Jodi KatzSounds like mom.
Beth RussellYeah, a little bit. Yeah, there is a similarity there, for sure.
Jodi KatzDo you shear the alpacas?
Beth RussellWe do. Once a year, we shear them and we have a big party. We call it shearing day. We invite all these people from D.C. and all our friends and families, and they come out for the day. We have a big barbecue, we even have a band, and shear these alpacas, and people are just fascinated by it, because most people have never interacted with them or know anything about them, so it's really fascinating for people.
Jodi KatzAnd what time of year is the shearing?
Beth RussellIn May. It's the third week of May, yeah.
Jodi KatzOh, cool. How fun. And then, where does the sheared fur go to?
Beth RussellWell, right now, it's in my garage. You can keep it raw and sell it off to a co-op, or what I want to do is turn it into end products. And so, I'm playing around, now. I have a carding machine.
Jodi KatzWhat does that mean?
Beth RussellYou take the raw fleece and you put it through this ... It's a bunch of needles, basically, and it'll pull it and stretch it until it comes out as batting, roving, which is sort of a fluffy material that then you can spin it into yarn.
Jodi KatzOh, wow.
Beth RussellI have a spinner. I have a spinning wheel and a carding machine. It's one of those things that's just going to be fun, experimental. But now I have so much of it that I kind of have to take it to a processor because I can't do it all myself.
Jodi KatzRight, so if there's any processors of alpaca fleece listening, reach out to-
Beth RussellYes, reach out to me. We have a type of alpaca ... There's two type of alpaca, one's Huacaya and one's Suri. We have Suri alpacas, and there are just not that many people who do the processing.

It's a long staple fiber. It's harder to work with, but it's silkier and softer for the end product. It's hard to find somebody, so that's why it's all still in my garage.
Jodi KatzRight. Okay, well, hopefully the SEO of this podcast transcript will find its way to someone who can help you with it.
Beth RussellThat's how things work, right? Somebody just out of the blue pops up, and all of a sudden your prayers are answered, or your hopes are fulfilled, or whatever.
Jodi KatzHow does one have the time, who's running a business, an entrepreneur, and taking care of farm animals, and buying carding machines, and how to do this? You're a parent and a wife and you have many friends, so how do you make time for all this?
Beth RussellI don't see any of it as separate. It's all integrated. When I go to the farm, I also do a lot of work for my business.

I have an office there at the farm where I do my card readings and I think about things and write things. The whole aesthetic of the farm, the way the farm looks, also has influenced my products, so it's all connected.

When I do work, I have people come to the farm. It's all just sort of a flow. I don't have a nine-to-five job. It's like I'm always doing all of this. The middle of the night, last night, I was texting with my manager who helps me at the farm, "Tomorrow you have to," whatever. It's just all kind of one in the same. It's my life, yeah.
Jodi KatzRight. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I guess that's sort of how I live my life, too.
Beth RussellYeah. Yeah, it's great that way ... I get, I guess, bored or whatever if I have to focus on one thing for a long, long period of time, so I like having these different aspects that I can move into. They're all very different.

The farm life is very different than coming up here to New York and sitting down at a perfumers. That couldn't be more different. But I love that because I think we all have these various facets of ourselves that are fun to explore and to grow.
Jodi KatzWell, if any listener wants to see more of the alpaca life, we've actually put a lot of it on social. It's one of the things that we think is really actually very exciting about telling the story of the brand. Because while they are different, right, prestige fragrance and alpaca farming don't seem similar, I do think that we wear fragrances because we want to be closer to nature in many ways. Some of your animals are real hoots and certainly perform for us, and a lot of the footage lives on social.
Beth RussellYeah, absolutely. I've thought a lot about that, as well. I'll be out there ... When you have animals like this, they have a lot of waste. And so, we muck. We call ... We muck. I'll be out there with my shovel mucking this alpaca and thinking, "But I have this perfume business."

But think about it. It's about smell, being in nature. It's about sort of being in your present environment, really. It's not that dissimilar when you get right down to it.
Jodi KatzTell us about House of Potentia. What is that?
Beth RussellIt's a fragrance line. I am a psychologist, have a master's degree in psychology, and have always loved fragrance. I had this idea some years back that fragrance really, if you do research on the uses of fragrance throughout time, you see that it was used in different ways than we're using it now. It's become a commercial product. It's become something people do to maybe attract a partner or something like that.

But in ancient times, they would use it to affect their environment, to affect other people's consciousness, and affect their own in ritual and so forth. So I thought, "Why can't we bring that back? Why can't we talk about fragrance as a way to really empower yourself and change your environment for the good?"

Potentia is about bringing your awareness into the present moment, really empowering yourself to understand you're much more than you really, usually, give yourself credit for. I call it olfactive induction, throughout the day, you use fragrance as a reminder. I have the power. I have the power within me to create whatever it is I want in my life. It's a reminder for you, for that.
Jodi KatzIs this sort of another sense, using a different sense for how people would tie ribbons around their wrists, right?
Beth RussellYeah, very much like that.
Jodi KatzTo be reconnected to what's important inside.
Beth RussellTo be reconnected. And so, just think about it. How great is that? I mean, you don't have to have a prop. You can just put it on in the morning, and throughout your whole day, that's going to be a trigger, a reminder for you.

It's all about your intention. You can do that with anything, but fragrance is so personal, and it does affect your body. It affects your feelings. It affects everything. It goes straight into the brain stem, it bypasses cognition so that trigger can be automatic, right away.

If you do that intention in the morning, you use your fragrance, you can have some remarkable experiences. It's really fun to use fragrance that way.
Jodi KatzWhy and how is that different than aromatherapy?
Beth RussellI think aromatherapy is saying this fragrance is going to make you, make your body, do something. What we're saying is this fragrance is going to help remind you of who you are, your consciousness, your intention. You're using it, it's not working on you. Or, I would say it's both, actually.

Fragrance is a vibration. It's made from living things. What you're putting on your body is going to affect everything about you, so that's true. That's sort of the aromatherapy idea. But what about the mind component? That's also very, very important.
Jodi KatzRight. When I first met you, I really connected with the mindfulness aspect of the brand and the fact that you are a trained therapist, right? This is your background. You're not just someone who decided one day you wanted to make a pretty perfume, right?
Beth RussellRight.
Jodi KatzThere's certainly many people who do, but the fact that you're actually using the science of the mind and have worked with patients for so many years in helping them reach their goals. Right? That you're able to use scent memory to help us do that.
Beth RussellExactly. A lot of people are working in these realms. I guess what, for me as a therapist, I got very discouraged because I thought, "Talk therapy isn't hitting on the things that really help people heal."

We're talking about healing. We're not just talking about cognitive understanding. That can go so far and that's important, but there are subconscious aspects to us that have to be dealt with, and unless you have tools and ways to access that, it's going to sit there. It's going to always be there, and you won't even know it's driving you. I think this is a way to reach some of those subconscious aspects as well.
Jodi KatzBut why can't I do that in talk therapy? What's limiting about that?
Beth RussellBecause you're up in your head. You're up in your head, and if you don't know what you don't know, how are you going to reach that material? It's got to be through symbol. It's got to be through feelings and experience, not just your thoughts about something.

It's like talk therapy's the tip of the iceberg, and then everything else is underneath it. It takes a long time to work through all that material on a cognitive level, whereas what if you just hit it from below and just knocked out the entire thing? You can do it that way.
Jodi KatzRight, so you're saying that scent, when I smell something, it skips through all of the stuff that's in my head and goes to, what, my old baggage or my old stories?
Beth RussellWell, yeah. Just think about it. I mean, Proust and the madeleines and the smell. Everybody knows this. A smell, you're there instantly. If a smell from a very, let's say it's a traumatic experience, let's say it's a wonderful experience, that smell is encoded. You can literally smell that again and it puts you right there. It activates every single thing you were feeling at that time, right? So, it can come up.

Let's say you have a trauma in your past and you've got ... That whole thing is still there unless you've done the work to bring it out. It's important to have tools that get to these deeper levels rather than just talk, and there's nothing wrong with talk therapy.
Jodi KatzRight, it's just one aspect.
Beth RussellIt's one aspect. It's very important. I think you have to have many tools in your kit to work through this life, to work through what we're doing here.
Jodi KatzRight. Is this a symptom of the modern world that we need to work harder to get to-
Beth RussellI think so.
Jodi Katz... who we really are?
Beth RussellThe way I conceive of it is that as each generation goes on, the stuff that isn't dealt with gets just compiled onto the next generation. I think about grief, for instance. In our society, just as a whole ... For individuals, I know how it kind of works. Think about every time we've been involved in a traumatic war or anything that's been of massive scale, how have we dealt with it? How have we worked through it?

I think of World War II, for instance. All those fathers came home after having dealt with that massive trauma, and what did they do? They didn't talk about it. They'd come home to their families, and their families didn't know what was going on, felt that anxiety, depression, fear, whatever it was, and didn't even know it wasn't theirs. It was from this experience that maybe their father had.

And then that gets compounded and twisted and turned into maybe the high suicide rate today. Who knows? Who knows what the connections really are, but it goes down, down, down, down.

I always say this. If the parents don't deal with their stuff, that goes to the kids, and then the kids have not only their parents' stuff, but their own stuff that starts to accumulate over their life. It becomes overwhelming for a lot of people. They just can't. They get overwhelmed and they sink beneath the waves. So, it's hard work, it is.
Jodi KatzYes, yes. Yeah, my own journey to feeling whole, feeling like myself, has been over 10 years and exhausting and lots of tears and lots of discomfort and visceral reactions to things and understanding what was history and what is now. It's challenging, but-
Beth RussellAnd very few people will do it, Jodi. I mean, it's just remarkable when you find somebody who's willing to take that journey because it's just easier to switch off, right?
Jodi KatzYeah.
Beth RussellAnd easier, especially in this day and age when we have so much coming at us. It's just easier to throw up your hands and say, "I'm just going to take the path of least resistance and go with this."

That's dangerous because I think what we're doing here is we are supposed to rise above that. I think that's the challenge of each life is to rise above all that. You're never truly yourself until you do.
Jodi KatzRight.
Beth RussellYeah.
Jodi KatzI think I was super motivated to make the most of every day because we don't have many of them, right? We only have really the one we're in right now and we don't know what's to come.
Beth RussellThat's right. That's right.
Jodi KatzThat's always been a big motivator for me.
Beth RussellWhere do you think that it came from?
Jodi KatzThis feeling of wasting time before, when I was younger and not really ever having my head be where my feet are, right? I spent a lot of time in the distance, in the future, in my head, or in the past. I guess around the time that I wanted to have kids, that feeling evolved into wanting to really be here. But, yeah, it's been really hard work.
Beth RussellYeah. It is hard work and sometimes it feels like you never get to the end of it, and that can be very frustrating. You put in years, and years, and years, and years, decades even, and you're like, "Well, why am I feeling this way?"

But the fact is it is like an ... They talk about the peeling away of the onion or the layers. You get down, and you get down, and you get down, and the layers are deep. It's not that you're not making progress, it's that you are, and more stuff comes up and more things.

It's actually, you will get, you can get to a plateau, and it can happen suddenly. I think that's what enlightenment is. I'm not enlightened, so I don't know for sure. But I think what enlightenment is, is you get to the final place where you've let all that go, and now you're just free consciousness, free, unfettered consciousness. I would love to know what that feels like.
Jodi KatzYeah. I appreciate the journey now, and when hard stuff does happen, I know that it's an opportunity to learn, so I embrace it. As opposed to a few years ago, I would have really resisted and fought against it and challenged it, but now I'm at the place where I'm like, "Okay, I know this is going to be hard and feel not good for a little while, but I also know that feeling's going to pass pretty quickly."

I think that is such an important point. That's what I'm saying about Potentia, too, is that your life, the good, the bad, and the ugly, is your material. That is what you're meant to use, as hard and horrible as some of it may be, it's yours.

If you can digest it and really put it into that context of, this is my ... I use the word spiritual ... this is my spiritual path to utilize this, to get to a place where I've integrated it, and then come out the other side.

I think resistance is the biggest issue for most people. It certainly has been for me. But resistance only keeps something in place. People think resistance pushes it away from you, but for every action, an equal and opposite reaction, that's physics. When you're resisting and pushing away, guess what? It's coming back on you.
Jodi KatzRight. I think the biggest struggle, it was always acceptance of whatever was happening, right?
Beth RussellOh, yeah.
Jodi KatzTrying to fight against it and realizing at some point, I don't remember when ... I wish I'd journaled. I don't journal ... but realizing that if I would just accept it, it would actually be easier on my body.
Beth RussellIt's very true. There's a technique that I love. This spiritual teacher, guru, David Hawkins, he was a psychiatrist and an MD, and then became a writer of these wonderful spiritual books. So, he's seen it from that side, the traditional psychotherapy side, and then he ... from the spiritual side.

He calls it letting go. It's a technique, you may know about it. But it's really just anything that comes up, even if you bang your toe on a table. You'd be surprised, if you pay attention, the resistance that comes up around that. He claims just that resistance is what keeps the pain in place, and what if ...

I do this technique, and I've had some unbelievable successes. I thought I sprained my ankle one day, and I just did that, let it go. Just went into the pain, didn't resist it, and it disappeared.
Jodi KatzHow interesting that you say that. I mean, we're going really deep down the hole now, but-
Beth RussellYou knew we would.
Jodi KatzThere is parts of me through the years that when I'm met with a pain, any sort of, not physical pain but emotional pain, I want to be in it, right?
Beth RussellAh, wow.
Jodi KatzI want to stomp my feet, and I'm going to say, "I'm in this and I'm mad and I deserve to be in it because I want to be in it and I want to be surrounded by this darkness, like a ..."

And then, eventually, I'm like, "Okay, no, I'm ready to leave it."

But I think part of me craved just sitting in the darkness of my feelings, the opposite of letting go. Maybe now, I'd be quicker to let go, but for a while I was really just angry or, you know?
Beth RussellYep.
Jodi KatzSo I wanted to be surrounded by it.
Beth RussellI think that's a high level of awareness to even know that. Most people deny that that's the case. But if you're really honest with yourself, you'll see that, that there is a part of you that is almost like a little kid, you know?
Jodi KatzYes. Yes.
Beth RussellWell, it is your little kid side. Maybe it's from a past trauma where someone wouldn't let you express yourself, and wouldn't let you be angry, or wouldn't let you be depressed, and that little piece of you gets activated, and let it.

I always say let it. You don't have to act it out, but let it be there within you as long as it needs to be. That's how you do let it go, you be with it. Ironically, that's the way to let it go is to go totally into it.
Jodi KatzThis makes me think of the card readings, which are the most fascinating and exciting things that I've seen in a really long time. Can you ... I don't want to butcher the meaning of it. Explain it to me, to us.
Beth RussellOkay. I've been using tarot and other sort of divination cards for many, many years, just for fun, for myself. Potentia has a lot of symbolic meaning and symbology along with the brand.

I love Carl Jung. I love the whole idea of the collective unconscious and how these symbols can activate certain feeling states and mental states within us. We decided to make a set of cards that are specific to Potentia and speak to this process around moving through life, moving through your issues in life.

And so, it sort of all magically fell together. It's something I've thought of for years of doing, and then it was sort of like, "But how? I don't know how."

And then, one day, it just sort of, boom, there it was. I started using them for readings for myself and then now for our Instagram posts. I've been blown away by what comes out in these cards, because I kept thinking to myself, "Who am I to make a set of cards that tell people that this can point a direction, this can help you resolve things," but they do.

What I do for my card readings for our posts is I will have a thought in my mind, maybe we have a theme that week, and I'll say, "What do I need to know about this? What needs to come out? What's the message?"

I ask for it, and I sit until I feel ready, and then I just do a traditional three card reading, pull three cards, and none of them have been similar. They've all been unique. There's not a lot of cards. There's like 20 cards or something, so it's not this huge 72 piece deck like a tarot, but the combinations are amazing, and they've always been just spot on. I'll sit there and go, "Wow, where did that come from?"

I feel like I'm working with something that's really not me, that's beyond me, like a channel in a way.
Jodi KatzIt's really the most fascinating experience. The card reading that I had was with Pam Vaile, who is a genius fragrance industry expert, works with you on the brand. She picked my ... Or, I picked my cards, she turned them over, and started talking, and I started crying because it was so ... It just hit the nerve for whatever was on my mind that day.

It's so fascinating to me that you, a human being, created the system, right? It really does sort of feel like, how could this not have been here all along?
Beth RussellI agree, and it felt like that to me, too. And I can't take credit for it. I know when it's me trying to do something, but I also know when something's come through me that I can't really take credit for it. I was blown away, like I said, when these all fell into place and I was like, "Oh, my gosh, where did that come from?" It tickled me, because you never ... You can't plan for that. You never know when that's really going to happen. It's happened a few times in my life, and it's such a gift.

I know it's supposed to go out. The reaction I've had from people has been unbelievable. People cry all the time. You get these messages and those symbols, for whatever reason, really do hit people at a place where they can then release this stuff and really see themselves in a different way, so they're a gift. I feel like they are really ... Now, they've become for me the sort of the focal point of the brand.

Of course, the cards also correspond to the fragrances, so you can use the cards to tell yourself, "Well, I might want to wear the White Light today because I came up with two cards from that suit, and it's showing me I need to really focus on this desire aspect and this allowing aspect."

They're pretty cool that way, a very cool tool.
Jodi KatzIt is amazing. What's so cool about it is when we first met you said, "I don't really want social media, okay?" You said, "It feels really icky. It feels like everyone's just sort of fake."
Beth RussellIt's really more, I just didn't understand it. Some of it is, everybody knows this, some of it's bad, just like anything. Some of it's just nasty and it brings out the worst in some people. Others, it's great, and I love some of it, too.

It's just that I didn't get onto it early so I didn't quite understand it. Now I just feel like an old fogy or something, like, "What is this? What are these young kids doing out here?"
Jodi KatzBut what's so cool about it for your brand is that it gives a voice to these things that are pretty complex ideas, right?
Beth RussellYes, they are.
Jodi KatzThese card readings, it's not a simple thing to describe and it's not a simple thing to understand, right?
Beth RussellYes.
Jodi KatzSo week after week, people get to start to understand how the cards work and what they mean to you.
Beth RussellThat has been the challenge with this brand, is the complexity of it. It feels large, even to me. But on the other hand, I've been told by some, "You might want to," some say, "dumb it down, or you might want to simplify."

Simplify is fine, and I can do that in some ... But with the card readings, I don't. Whatever comes through, I put out there. I feel like people have embraced it in a way that I kind of was surprised about.

It's pretty complex, like you said, so I feel like I don't want to water down what it's all about and that people will come at it from whatever place they need to come at it. You just offer, whatever it is.
Jodi KatzI mean, I think soon enough people are going to be honestly lining up for card readings because it's so meaningful. It's so deep. It's so real and honest. The fact that it guides me to a fragrance that's going to help me in that state of mind that I'm in, in that moment, that I can check in with myself during the day is really so incredibly unique.
Beth RussellIsn't it fun? I love that it sort of puts a magic ritual to your day. If you do a card reading and then you use your fragrance, and the whole day is a magic ritual then. I love that.

I feel like life can get pretty mundane and pretty boring, I guess, if you go about your day, and you do things the same way, and you have a schedule, and then you have to do these tedious things all the time. This sort of makes every single day unique.

I remember the days I do my readings and then use the fragrance. Those stand out in my mind. You're capturing more of your life by doing this. You're putting a framework around it. You're just elevating it to a place where the meaning is so far beyond what it would be if you just went about your day.
Jodi KatzRight. The last topic I want to talk about is adoption.
Beth RussellOh, good.
Jodi KatzYou speak of it often. You are now an expert. Tell us what your adoption stories are.
Beth RussellI came to adoption in a very unusual way. It wasn't something that I sought, but it found me. It's the greatest gift of my life, or probably a thousand lifetimes. What happened, short story ... long story, short, I went to China with a girlfriend who was adopting. She just invited me to go. I was like, "Okay, I've never been to China," didn't even want to go to China.

I went with her, we got there, they brought the baby to her, and within a few hours, she turned to me and she said, "I'm not going to take her. I'm going to send her back." My whole life changed in that moment. Again, couldn't have foreseen this. When I got on that airplane, I certainly wouldn't have thought my whole life was going to change, but you just never know.

What happened was I had already bonded with this beautiful baby who was also in dire straits, to be honest. She was not doing well. I couldn't imagine leaving her. We went to this orphanage that was really ... I think it took me 10 years to get over seeing it, honestly. And then, of course, but my love for my daughter, it was just so traumatic to think she had been there. There was a lot to unpack with that.

So I brought this baby home. She became my daughter, who is now a sophomore in college, believe it or not, and beautiful, and fun, and loving life, loving life, and just a joy for us. But seeing what was going on there, not just in China, but many places around the world, learning about this after the fact, I just couldn't believe what was being allowed, what these kids were having to put up with so early in their lives.

I went back five years later and adopted Jaden, who is now a freshman in high school, and then made the mistake of going back again to look at some facilities that we were hoping to support. I met Daisy, who is our fourth grader, and we adopted a third time.

I'm thinking about Valentine's Day coming up here. It's one of our favorite holidays because I think we have this little love affair going on. Our family is just this little love story, and that's truly what it is. It's so deep for me. I am so grateful that my parenting happened the way that it did because I wasn't sure how it was going to happen. It was meant to be.
Jodi KatzRight, and you wrote a book depicting your experience.
Beth RussellI wrote a book, yes. Yeah. Yeah, it's called Forever Lily. I just felt the need to unpack that whole experience. That's why I wrote, I just had to understand it because a lot happened in this discrete 10-day period. It was as if my life was on this fast track of transformation, and I didn't understand it.

I had been seeking and studying and doing all that for a long, long time. It felt like not much was happening, then all of a sudden, boom, 10 days of, "You better put this into practice. You have to now because life is asking you to."
So I did, and I wrote about it to share that process, like what was I thinking inside my mind? What was I processing inside my heart to get to a good outcome? Because it could have gone off the rails so many times, and I just shudder to think of if I had not had the presence of mind to allow this to unfold in a certain way, it could have gone off the rails a hundred times during that trip.
Jodi KatzRight. It's an incredible story, and I think people will probably want to know more, so where can they find that book?
Beth RussellYou can order it on Amazon. I think Barnes & Noble and other places you can get it, just go online.
Jodi KatzAnd I think Jaden is our photographer, right?
Beth RussellYes. Yes.
Jodi KatzShe's super talented.
Beth RussellYeah.
Jodi KatzWhen you go to the feed, the images of the products and the alpacas are really stunning.
Beth RussellShe is such a unique person. She's my little Buddha. She really is. I don't know anybody like her. She's the only person I can say this about, but there is not a mean bone in her body.

She has this love of animals that is really unbelievable, the rapport she has and the sympathy she has. And so, she's able to capture them. She'll spend hours every single weekend, every day of the weekend, out there photographing these animals.

It's great. It's fun. She loves it, and we're getting some good photos out of it.
Jodi KatzYeah. I mean, it's not every day that in-house photography works out, right?
Beth RussellRight.
Jodi KatzShe's really talented.
Beth RussellShe has, I told her she ... For Christmas, all she wanted was photography equipment. And so, she got a really cool telephoto lens. She got a drone-
Jodi KatzOh, cool.
Beth Russell... so now she can take photos from the drone. I think this will be her mission in life, is to somehow use her photography to capture her viewpoint, to capture her voice. It's really fun to watch her evolve and grow with that.
Jodi KatzWell, thank you so much for sharing all your wisdom with us today. It's so exciting to get to hear your story on our show.
Beth RussellYou're welcome. Thank you for having me. I love your podcast.
Jodi KatzThank you. Thank you.
Beth RussellYou're doing great work, and I'm just honored to be here.
Jodi KatzOh, I'm so honored to get to know you, to have scent readings, to have my team work on all this uplifting content. I mean, it's not every day where we all get to explore who we are as beings through our work.
Beth RussellWell, I think that's ... The beauty industry, any industry, you get caught up in doing your work, getting your goals done, and that part of you never gets to come into it, but I say it has to come into it. You all have given me a voice on the internet. I've enjoyed working with you so much.
Jodi KatzThis is so cool. Well, for our listeners, I hope you enjoyed this interview with Beth. Please subscribe to our series on iTunes, and for updates about the show, follow us on Instagram @wherebrainsmeetbeautypodcast.
AnnouncerThanks for listening to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY® with Jodi Katz. Tune in again for more authentic conversations with beauty leaders.

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