Belinda Crestani is the founder and managing editor of Youthful Habits, a website that obsessively covers the wellness scene – health, nutrition, beauty and more.
She’s a health blogger, freelance writer, soon-to-be Life Coach and author of The Healthy Girl’s Breakfast.
Here we chat to Belinda about juggling all of the above, living to the ripe old age of 100, and how doing what you love helps you live a youthful life.
Belinda, how did you get started?
I started my career as a journalist, writing and editing for some of Australia’s leading magazine titles such as SHAPE Magazine, Vogue Australia, Studio Bambini, Feast, Renovate, Luxury Home Design, Houzz and Nature & Health.
I’ve now swapped the 9 to 5 office life for a much more flexible and balanced one. I still freelance for several different media companies but most of my time is spent doing what I love – running my own company, writing about the wellness scene for Youthful Habits and other magazine titles, publishing eBooks and training to become a certified Life Coach.
What inspires you – online and offline?
I find inspiration everywhere – in books, during conversations with friends, through other websites, at talks and conferences. The websites I can’t get enough of are Nutrition Stripped; I am drawn in each and every week by McKel’s (the founder) authenticity, and her delicious recipes and Well and Good NYC; there are two things I love about this website – the positive energy that is sewn into every story and that it’s all about my favourite place in the world, New York.
People I adore: Kris Carr (I’m in awe of her writing abilities – so witty and insightful), Marie Forleo (She’s a go-getter with really great advice – and amazing hair!), Tara Stiles (her personality is infectious and her yoga videos on YouTube are fun and flawless) and Gabrielle Bernstein (because she believes in miracles!).
How have you built up your fan base and online presence?
Youthful Habits has been running for almost two years now and, over that time, it’s grown quite organically. I’ve had a number of articles published in magazines along the way so that’s helped raised the profile of the website. To be honest, I was a little slow to the social media party – it definitely took me a while to get into the spirit of it all – but now I fully embrace it and really love it. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are my top picks and the places where I share most of my articles, recipes and personal experiences.
Are there any particular challenges that you’ve faced along the way that you could share with us?
I was very focused on getting the design right for my website (some might say a little too focused). I felt the content was on track but I wasn’t totally happy with the way it looked and functioned. Personally, I felt quite restricted using a WordPress site so I took it off and, with the help of my very knowledgeable brother, I learned to code and develop a website from scratch. Every day was a learning curve but there’s so much joy and satisfaction knowing you’re in total control of every element on your site.
Any particular special achievements or favourite moments?
Lots of special moments! Nature & Health is one of my favourite magazines – they cover the health and wellness industry in Australia so beautifully – and it was a delight to have had been asked to write a story for them. For the past few months, I’ve been a regular contributor on Houzz, writing features about how to naturally make your home healthier and happier. Houzz’s Australian editor now calls me their Feng Shui/Zen expert, a title I’m happy to run with.
I’ve been really lucky to score great interviews with interesting people like Australian pro surfer and golden girl, Sally Fitzgibbons and television personality, Jamie Durie, just to name a few. I like hearing about people’s fitness regimes, daily practices and their healthy living non-negotiables.
What tools do you use to manage and grow your online presence?
So far it’s contributing articles to various publications within the health and wellness space and being active on social media. My next step is to start producing a weekly newsletter to send out to my very supportive online community.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I like to start off my day very mindfully. I enjoy meditating, reading and visualising – I am a big believer in the power of a vision board and this is why I wrote the eBook ‘How to visualise what you want and get it! The ultimate guide to creating a vision board that works!’. I usually like to squeeze in a delicious cup of coffee before my workday starts too. I try to only check my emails twice a day – mid-morning and at about 6pm. I find this makes me more productive throughout the day and more able to complete whole tasks.
During the day, I make it a priority to make a green juice and a healthy smoothie (usually that’s breakfast or my 3pm treat), a healthy salad with walnuts, feta cheese, some kind of protein and dress it up with apple cider vinegar.
My healthy snacks include a mixed bag of pure raw chocolate nibs, goji berries, desiccated coconut and raw almonds (try it!) and dessert is usually a raw chocolate mousse or some yummy overnight oats.
What would you say to others who are thinking about taking a similar path in running an online business or blog?
Do what makes you happy! Don’t do something because there’s money in it or fame, do it because it’s your passion and because you have a really important message to send out to the world.
I love this advice from Marie Forleo, “Everything is figureoutable!” Whatever challenges you face along the way in your work and life, there’s a way to change, improve and make it work. Be sure to enjoy the process, not just the outcome.
What’s next for Youthful Habits?
For me, I’d like to write more books on the subject of healthy ageing. Watch this space.
I’d also like to start travelling a lot more for the website – whether that sees me visiting and reporting on health retreats around the world (that’s on my vision board!), attending health talks and conferences and meeting positive, empowered people who are walking their talk when it comes to healthy living.
I also look forward to the day when I can help clients (as a certified life coach) live a happier, healthier and more conscious life.
Find out more about Belinda and her Youthful Habits on her website, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.