By Nicole Berrie
Photo Courtesy of Mikoh
“THE OCEAN CURES ALL,” reads a watercolor drawing on the Instagram of Mikoh, the cult West Coast-based swimwear brand hatched by sister duo Oleema and Kalani Miller. It’s an apt phrase, after all, the Miller sisters’ brand is founded upon a lifestyle and love of the sea. Since launching, the girls have earned a devout following thanks to their undeniably flattering, candy-colored swimsuits that instantly transport the wearer to a tropical paradise–even if they’re roofing it in downtown Manhattan. Raised by a family of surfers, the Miller sisters not only embody beach babeness (ahem, see above), but a natural beauty that only the truly-centered possess. Case in point: Their routine regimen include conscious breathing, acupuncture and infrared sauna. Need we say more? We caught up with the designer duo via email where they shared their philosophy on how to look gorg on the beach, their healthy habits and indulgences and why the ocean, truly, cures all.
What are the best secrets to feeling beautiful in a bikini and on the beach?
Kalani: I think that the number one thing to feeling beautiful on the beach is confidence. It truly comes across when you feel confident and happy with the skin that you are in and proud of your body. A cute bikini doesn’t hurt, also.
Oleema: Confidence is key and I think that comes from feeling beautiful from the inside out. I find that when you’re on a good regimen of working out, eating healthy, and just enjoying life is when you feel the most beautiful.
Growing up at the beach and near the water, how did that influence your connection with the outdoors and staying active? Is staying active important to you
Kalani: We have been lucky enough to always call the beach our second home. We grew up a stone’s throw away from the beach and my best memories were being piled in our family suburban with my siblings and parents and going on surf trips up and down the California coast. I think that having the ocean and its energy instilled in us at such a young age allowed us to always feel centered by the ocean. The ocean and being in the salt water makes me feel centered and grounded. Sometimes it is just seeing the ocean in the distance. Having a lifestyle completely based around the ocean also makes for an active lifestyle. Currently, I am in Fiji, and days are filled with fishing, surfing, and snorkeling. I also dove and saw three black tip sharks for the first time the other day. When you have an ocean centered life, being active comes hand in hand.
Oleema: Our entire lives have and always will revolve around the ocean and has played the biggest role in shaping who I am. There is no better feeling than being in the ocean and at the beach- it is the cure for anything and everything. Being and staying active is imperative and I find myself the most happy when outdoors.
What is your favorite fitness activity?
Kalani: I recently have gotten very into pilates and I am hooked! I love the quick results from pilates and the strengthing in the core. It is hard when you are always traveling to have a normal schedule though. I spend a lot of time in the ocean. Beach walks with weights are also great for toning and when Oleema and I walk we usually mix in squats and lunges. I love just being in the ocean and the sunshine. Surfing is a great way and fun way to get naturally toned.
Oleema: Our family grew up surfing and I spent a majority of my childhood in the ocean and at the beach. There is no better feeling in the world than being in the sea with mother nature surrounding you- it is the most peaceful and centering activity for me. For a more specific workout, I love doing pilates on the reformer machines- best booty workout ever.
How would you describe each of your approach to food and nutrition?
Kalani: I am extremely into the food that I put into my body. We always grew up eating healthy, but in the last few years I have definitely gotten even more in touch with food and nutrition. An important thing to me is taking my vitamins. Being on the road constantly, it’s good and makes me feel more normal and quicker to beat the jet lag when I have my vitamins. Everyday, I take a multivitamin, fish oil, vitamin B, vitamin D, Calcium and Magnesium, and a couple other here and there. I also love drinking fresh juices that are mostly veggie based. Other than that, I think it is important to eat a healthy diet, drink loads and loads of alkaline water and I love green tea. Eating healthy just makes me feel better all around. But, it is also important to enjoy a great In-N-Out burger (protein style!) or some chocolate time to time.
Oleema: Kalani is definitely more focused on eating healthy than I am. I try to eat as clean as possible though. I’m a huge fan of eating a ton of greens, fish, fresh fruit, lots of water, and the morning ritual of hot water with lemon followed by a green smoothie. We grew up eating very healthy so it’s something that is ingrained into us. Although, somehow a ridiculous amount of ice cream finds it’s way into my freezer and I will forever be a slave to a great piece of dark chocolate.
Describe your day when it comes to meals, drinks, snacks form morning to bedtime.
Kalani: In the morning, I like to start my day with a green shake with fresh greens, protein powder and coconut milk or water. If I am on the road and greens aren’t always accessible, I like to travel with green powders of all of my favorite super greens. I also add chia, hemp seeds, and I really enjoy kale and spinach into my smoothie. Occasionally, my boyfriend will sneak a raw organic egg or two into the smoothie. As long as I don’t see it, I don’t think about the raw egg and I will drink it. I love having fresh hard boiled eggs in the morning along my green smoothie. Sometimes I will have a gluten free piece of toast with almond butter, coconut butter and some fresh bananas. I also love starting my day with a hot green tea. At lunch, I usually have a chicken salad or some sort of protein on a bunch of greens and fresh veggies. At dinner, I would have some cooked quinoa, pan cooked fish, and some satay veggies and who can resist a good glass of red wine. I love sushi as well. Also, throughout the day, I always have a water by my side. I like to follow dinner with some dark chocolate and a good peppermint tea. I love also making fresh peppermint and fresh cut ginger tea to help with digestion.
Oleema: I like to wake up early. When I do have the rare sleep-in it almost feels like a treat. Right after I wake up, I go into my kitchen, turn on the kettle, squeeze some fresh organic lemon into a big mug and will drink that with some hot water. After that, I usually will take my little pomeranian pup Panda on a walk down to the beach in front of my house. She loves the beach as much as I do and it feels so good to start the day by being outdoors and by the ocean. I’ll come home from there and will make a green smoothie- my favorite is a combination of coconut water, kale, spinach, blueberries, strawberries, banana, chia seed, flax seed oil, and bee pollen. This usually will tie me over until lunch. For lunch I love making a big green salad with everything and anything in it- I love kale, spinach, fish, avocado, sunflower seeds, really anything that tastes good. For dinner, nothing beats sushi. There’s this great place right down the street from my house that I can walk to and I try to go at least once a week- it’s the best. I love ending the day with a great cup of chamomile tea while laying in bed- for some reason it always feels a bit indulgent. I always try to carry on the routine of working out and eating healthy but I think it’s more about balance. Balance is key. I think when you’re happy and enjoying life, all good things follow.
What is one non-negotiable thing you each do every day to feel healthy/balanced?
Kalani: Drink water and try to smile. Something that I always like to tell myself is that “in every breath is a new opportunity” so every moment you have the ability to change. I think that when you smile and put that positive energy out there, good things will come in return.
Oleema: Breathe. It is so important to me to just take in my surroundings no matter where I am in the world and to just enjoy the moment. I find myself holding my breath the second I get stressed and I just have to remind myself to take a deep breath and relax. Also, I absolutely need to have some sun on my skin- even if it’s the dead of winter and snowing I will find a way to get some sun. I guess it’s the Southern California girl in me.
What is your favorite guilty indulgence?
Kalani: Sushi! I love going to delicious sushi spots and eating really delicious sushi. Also, I love a great glass of red wine at the end of the night a couple times of week. It is nice to bond with my boyfriend or my sister and share a glass at the end of the night.
Oleema: Everything and anything sweet. I wish I didn’t have such a sweet tooth but I find myself constantly having lollies, chocolate, berries- really anything. I seem to always have something in my purse or freezer at all times, not the best habit but something that I have never been able to kick.
Do you have a favorite self-care regimen? (Massage, acupuncture, etc.) If so, how often do you do it?
Kalani: I have been going to acupuncture since I was about 12. Growing up with a Chinese mom, being open to Eastern medicine has always been the norm. Lymphatic drainage massage is also amazing and detoxing. Our dad also has a infrared sauna at their house. I love jumping in there after long flights and getting a good sweat going.
Oleema: I have been getting lymphatic massages for over ten years now and there is nothing better then getting worked on. I try to go every few weeks as it’s best to be consistent. Also, I try to get outside every single day- no matter where I am out in the world and no matter the weather conditions. I think there is something very calming about being outside even if you’re in New York in the snow or in 115 degree weather in Bali. I also love taking baths in Apple Cider Vinegar- it sounds gross but it’s just the best. Very detoxifying and always makes you feel a bit lighter afterwards. I also love rubbing Organic Cold Pressed Coconut Oil all over my body and will it leave it in my hair overnight- it’s the best moisturizer and smells amazing.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received when it comes to taking care of your body/spirit?
Kalani: Just be happy and enjoy everyday. You have the power to change anything in your life and everyone has the ability to be who and how they want to me.
Oleema: To breathe, be present and in the moment, and to treat your body like a temple. It is so important to look after yourself- for me that means eating well, surrounding myself with good people and good surroundings, and being appreciative of the life I get to live. Nothing is better.