Living Well: Michelle Galins

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Photo by Kaija Galins

“There’s something spiritual about being in the mountains.” Michelle didn’t grow up in Colorado, but the state’s arresting, towering peaks and rich natural landscape seemed to be the perfect fit for her. So, she packed her bags and started her design career nestled right against the Rockies. “I like to be creative and outdoors,” Michelle says. “You can’t get any better canvas than Mother Nature.”

More than 20 years later, Michelle’s Colorado home is still one of her favorite places to be, and now she enjoys it with her husband and daughter. The state’s art scene and local businesses have exploded, matching the mindful, sustainable lifestyle that Michelle has created for herself across the years.

Michelle has been the creator behind Mother Earth Living’s beautifully designed pages since the magazine’s conception, and we’re excited to be launching our new “Living Well” department with her as its first featured profile.

Fast Facts

Photo by Povy Kendal Atchison

Designing with Direction

Fourteen years ago, Michelle joined Ogden Publications after searching for a design position that was closer to her heart. Ogden’s emphasis on natural, can-do communities immediately drew her in. And when Mother Earth Living was created, she became the magazine’s art director. “The message is really close to who I am,” she says. Every issue, Michelle visually brings to life the messages we want to share with readers.

The Journey to Living Well

Michelle grew up living a sustainable, homesteading lifestyle in Southern California, and when she moved to Colorado, she became even more invested in living well, and built a more homeopathic lifestyle around the one she grew up with. “After I had my child, it became really concrete,” she says. Michelle began to make her own baby food, pulled out certain ingredients from her family’s foods, and, above all, experimented. Since then, her sustainable and natural lifestyle has grown from years-long habits.

Health: Seasonal Cleanses

Michelle does a cleanse four times a year, once per season. Usually, this involves eating whole foods — lots of vegetables, a little fruit — and drinking plenty of water for 3 to 4 days. Now, her family joins her in these seasonal cleanses. For Michelle, a cleanse isn’t just a quick fix or a fad. It’s an important part of her year, and, as she puts it, “gives the body a break.” Those few days set a healthy, mindful tone for the rest of the season.

Photo by Kaija Galins

Home: Statement Pieces

Two questions help guide Michelle in creating a healthy, intentional home: “What colors make me happy?” and “What gives me joy?” Her office, for instance, centers on a bold, creative, simple aesthetic. On one wall hangs a painting by her daughter, filled with a spectrum of lively colors. On her standing desk sits an old clock that doesn’t work, its hands set to the time she got married and gave birth to her daughter (remarkably, the same time for both). Everything Michelle uses to decorate needs to inspire her, and must be reused or sustainably purchased. “The only time when I have a hard time with that,” she says, “is with sneakers.”

DIY: Homegrown & Homemade

Michelle’s regular day-to-day routine incorporates small yet significant ways to live sustainably. For example, she and her family cook and eat seasonally, which includes harvesting fresh produce and herbs from their backyard garden. Michelle also makes several household solutions from scratch, including food sprays, multi-surface cleaners, and beauty products. Instead of buying gifts, she and her family make them. And instead of one-use items from the store, she uses dryer balls with essential oils, and even toilet paper made from recycled paper.

Tech Perspective

You won’t catch her on a cellphone. That’s because she doesn’t have one. Michelle says she always chuckles at people’s reactions when she tells them she’s never owned a cellphone. As a designer, Michelle isn’t anti-tech, but she does try to limit technology in her personal life, utilizing it only for alerts, reminders, and recipe storage. Her family has jumped on board as well. Each night in the Galins household, all electronics go to a charging station (one created by Michelle) at 7 p.m., and the rest of the evening is dedicated to family time and time spent away from screens.

Michelle’s Wisdom for Living Well

Photo by Povy Kendal Atchison

  • Start simple, and move in small steps.
  • Create one new habit at a time.
  • Live by the three R’s: reuse, reduce, and recycle, in that order.
  • You control what comes into the house. If you want to change it, then change it.
  • Live life with everything in moderation, and be mindful of how you live your lifestyle.
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