JJ CRUSH: Carolina Pizzutilo from Ada Studios

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Carolina Pizzutilo has been inspiring us for years. As art director and creative visionary behind some of our favorite brands, her aesthetic offers a unique and thoughtful approach to the power of images.

Her most recent project, Ada Studios, is especially close to our hearts. Ada Studios curates a range of wellness essentials aimed at building a strong foundation of health. The studio is dedicated to the power of plants, specializing in adaptogens and other products that inspire a conscious way of living.

We recently caught up with her to learn what made her dive into the wellness sphere. Like always, Carolina keeps it real, staying true to her vision in all that she does!

We admire her honest approach to grief and how the devastating loss of her mother inspired a transformation within which eventually unfolded into Ada Studios.

1) Congrats on the launch of Ada Studios! Tell us what made you gravitate towards wellness?

Thank you, love!

Well, the illness and eventually the loss of my mother had a big impact on me. It changed the way I perceived life, and especially how I was living mine at that moment. In a way, it makes you realise what’s important, and it highlights what actually matters.

I needed to find a better, healthier, balance. I was caught up by my career path,  working - my - ass - off since I got my first job at an advertising agency back in 2009. Not surprising, since I’ve been raised by two self employed people who instilled a very strong work ethic as from a young age.

After her passing, major things changed. I finally quit my unhealthy 5 year relationship, l moved out and I threw myself back into work times 10, I was invincible.

 

I wanted to escape this new reality and  I was definitely avoiding any emotion that had to do with ‘grief’.

Things started to shift. I felt alienated from my closed ones, I felt different and I was so angry at the world.

I was compelled to go inwards and discover to what I wanted, and more important to discover what I needed in that moment. It felt like a decade ago since I’d listened to my inner voice. And so I did, shortly after I closed down my business and I left to the other side of the world.

Leaving made me gain perspective.

I felt a tremendous urge to step back from everything that wasn’t serving me anymore. And to be bluntly honest, it was the healthiest thing I could do.

It’s from that moment on, that my course changed fundamentally. My journey of grief and overall personal growth started in LA.

I disconnected from my Belgian life. I didn’t have any kind of social safety net and I  was fully depending on myself. I was forced to go within and lean into that feeling of discomfort. Even when you prefer not to.

It was my journey to be more vulnerable, open, to dig deep and serve a higher purpose.

unfold, and re-identify.

reflect and redirect.

so I did.

So the world of inner / outer wellness took a whole new dimension to me.

While being immersed by this process of change and transition, I became more conscious of my inner and outer world. I experienced practices in a different way and made them my own. I let go of any sorts of pressure of ‘how to’s or how it’s suppose to be done’ and I didn’t look for outer validation anymore.

 

So instead of maniacally participating in as many different types of yoga practices and mediations possible, because thats what you’re suppose to do, I found my own rhythm within these rituals.

You do what works for you. That’s it.

And for me, being in tune doesn’t always mean you need to sit lotus all day somewhere in nature, that’s bullshit. Everyone finds their own way. It’s all about finding a healthy balance, in everything you do.

It’s through moments of stillness I was able to tune in and communicate with my inner self, my core, my center. It could be anything: long beach walks, guided mediation, mellow tunes, skate sessions, yoga, nature,..

I never believed in extremes and I never will. I bite my tongue every time someone preaches his truth and ways onto others.

Find what works for you, otherwise you’re not living your truth.

 

2)You spent a period living in Los Angeles. Every time we travel to LA, we come back invigorated and inspired. How did it influence you?

Where should I begin? Haha.

It was a colourful rollercoaster, but I’m so happy I was on it.

I’ll start with nature, there's nothing to compare with the grandeur of its nature. And I’m not only talking about the state of California. The diversity and abundance of these different landscapes is just beyond. There’s not enough words to describe and there's no picture that can capture its immense impact both energetically and in terms of beauty. It’s so magnificent it just makes you quiet, yes, even me.

Oh my, daydreaming about it as we speak.

Another thing I found so, so cool is that this city is just an enormous melting pot and it has this exciting mix of cultures, traditions, food, architecture, you name it. At times it feels chaotic, unstructured and ugly, but there's so much beauty to it.

For me, I love the fact that the city carries multiple faces. That’s what makes it so inspiring, intriguing and authentic.

LA is limitless. I loved seeing people going around chasing their dreams, completely fearless. Whether it’ll work out or not, they're jumping.

It always triggered me, because that’s a lot of who I am. If you believe something, do it. Whatever the outcome might be.

The beauty of this limitless belief you can be anything you want, is absolute magic.

Even if you won’t succeed or you didn’t manage to obtain the role of your dreams, the spark was there, the belief was there and for a minute it was your reality.

Again, not enough words to express how valuable that is.

It’s something I try to live by every single day, without hesitation. Going back to that center and believing anything is possible. I don’t say it’s easy, but a subconscious belief makes room for beautiful things to unfold.

Something I inherited from my mother, I guess. She definitely stood into her power, always. I loved that.

I can go on and on and on, people who know me, know I can’t tell a short story.

So to answer your question, yes, this place inspired me on different levels.  And because it was my home for a little while, I really got submerged in the actual LA life. It taught me to see beauty in all its ugliness, it exposed me to this variety of cultures & traditions, and it nourished my senses in many ways. I came back richer, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

And coming back to the wellness part, while actually living ‘the cali life’, I also experienced the true community of wellness underneath the surface of the "botoxed - wearing yoga outfits 24/7 - aka I’m a do a downward facing dog before crossing the pedestrian - while carrying a green juice" version most people get exposed to.

 

To sum up, I was intended to experience this journey. And I’m grateful I was able to. It expanded my view on life in a significant way and I can’t wait for my next destination to present itself.

3) For a customer who is new to herbal supplements/plant medicine, what’s a great product of yours that you would recommend to try?

As a first product I would definitely recommend Ashwagandha. It’s one of India's greatest botanical and adaptogenic treasures and one of the more common ones, so a great single extract to start your herbal journey with. It focuses on overall stress and it’s the perfect adaptogen to bring your body back in a normal state, or homeostasis as we say.

Ashwagandha is Ayurveda’s hero herb for a reason. You can think of it as body wisdom in a jar. Over time, this adaptogen subtly guides your body into a more harmonised response to life’s little stressors.

Popularly known as Indian Ginseng, it's very well known for its ability to calm, soothe and strengthen the body. It serves many purposes and benefits many body systems, including the immune, neurological, endocrine and reproductive systems. It's clinically studied to help fight depression, boost brain health, and boost both fertility and testosterone.

In Ayurveda, Ashwagandha belongs to a sub-group of rasayanas, or super-elixirs, known as medhya rasayanas, which refers to the mind and mental/intellectual capacity. Herbs that fall under this category are considered deeply healing to the mind and emotional constructs. 

Clinically proven benefits:

- for stress relief + anxiety

- increases brain cognition

- increasing thyroid function (hypo-thyroid)

- overcome adrenal fatigue

- 300mg twice daily successfully combats stress

- natural remedy for depression

- balances blood sugar levels

 

4) Any morning & bedtime rituals to help on de-stressing during these uncertain times?

Morning

I’m always up early - I’m talking 5:30 / 6AM in the morning (my friends now that by now).

Being a kid, I loved to be up early and have an easy breezy morning. That doesn’t mean it has to be SLOW. I used to have jobs starting at 4AM in the morning and still I would get up way earlier before call time just to be able to ease in the ritual of waking up.

I’m Italian, so I love coffee. Can’t go without, won’t go without. Of course, I detox from it once in a while, just to have a cleanse of the body and mind. But it’s my absolute favourite thing in the morning, I look forward to it every day.

I usually take my coffee black paired with any shroom adaptogen needed in that moment, depending on how I feel.

After coffee, I stretch. My busy minds translates itself into a tense body so I need to stretch. And if possible I go for a quick morning walk, before our busy days start.

Evening

I use guiding mediations to go to bed, I have a really busy mind so sometimes its hard to wind down on my own.

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Reading is a really good one too, even if its only 5 pages, it calms down the mind and it’s a perfect way to prepare your brain for sleep. If you have a lot going on, it’s a really good de-stressor.

 

 

And overall, I still have panic attacks from time to time so my five-step breathing exercise is a perfect way to calm down. It’s easy to incorporate in your daily routines. I practice it whenever in need, wherever I am.

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