When OKREAL first came across Breakfast Criminals, we went from feeling good about eating our crusts to wanting breakfast delivered in a heart shaped bowl, stat. Like the food it features, Breakfast Criminals is a mash up of good stuff: breakfast that you can actually make, breakfast that you keep meaning to make and never do (enjoying vicariously through Instagram anyway), people doing what they love, and the odd motivational message (which we’re partial to, clearly). Then we met Ksenia Avdulova who is behind it all, and wanted to share what she had to say. Because according to Ksenia, sharing is how all good things begin.
“Let me get this straight—Breakfast Criminals is not about breakfast. It’s not even about food. It’s about finding what lights you up and following it, which is how Breakfast Criminals all started. I was following a small passion of making delicious breakfast, and it somehow grew into a business. I had no idea things would turn out this way, but what I’ve realized is that when you pursue something you love, it grows. Hopefully it’s also a reminder that when you do act on your passions, you pass the reins over to the universe and it will guide you in the right direction. It will tell you what to do next and you will never be lost. So on a small scale, the mission is to encourage you to start your day consciously instead of thrusting yourself into it. By choosing to begin every day with something that makes you happy, you’re setting yourself up to win.
Health has taken on new meaning for me since starting Breakfast Criminals. In my teenage years I went through the acne / I’m fat stage. I was looking at magazines and following any advice I’d find to feel ‘perfect’ and attract boys. I thought healthy was what magazines told me healthy was. Now, I’ve learned that healthy is the best version of yourself without giving you a hangover the next day. And as far as being perfect goes… there’s no such thing. The only thing we can strive for is kindness towards ourselves and balance. Even a few years ago in grad school I considered myself pretty healthy, and I was by most standards. I did yoga, ate well, but, for example—I didn’t know that for me personally, I’m better off eating more plants and less dairy.
I figured out that listening to your body is much more powerful than what the rest of the world is telling you.
No one knows what’s right for you. Only you do.
As I personally learn and grow, so does the nature of Breakfast Criminals. It’s so motivating to see it develop. The Instagram community has been so welcoming, so friendly and ever expanding. There are no walls of entry and you have access to people you never would have had before. It’s given me so much opportunity to connect with others who share similar passions, from Rainbeau Mars to Caitlin Turner and Brooke Saward. I love hanging out with like-minded people, all with the same goal of making the world a little better. You start with yourself and then you go beyond that. Instagram has opened so many doors for me, but you still have to be careful with taking it at face value. Instagram imagery creates a lifestyle and vision. It’s branding—you’re telling a story. And then you meet these people in real life, and a lot of the time they’re authentic (thank god), but there are times when they’re not authentic at all—just very good at positioning themselves a certain way. It’s a funny talent.
From all the connections I’ve made, I’ve learned that even these people with hundreds of thousands of followers have the same exact doubts as I do. They wake up and think, why am I doing this? Is anyone listening? I assumed that it was just me being at the beginning of my journey, but I think it’s always like that. It’s always going to be an evolving process, so you need to be able to enjoy what you have and give yourself space to be grateful and to grow. And every day there’s something that drives me to keep going, like seeing my followers remake my recipes or telling me I inspired them to be more creative in the kitchen. If there’s one piece of advice I can give anyone starting their own blog or business, know that you will never have the right pieces for the puzzle, and still go for it with an attitude of making things work. You need to be fearless and go big, and always follow your heart.
If you commit yourself to making something happen, really put everything into it, the ways will find themselves.
Sharing and giving is how I approach everything. Instead of saying, ‘Can I get this from you?’, I’m saying, ‘Can I make you breakfast? Can I do something for you?’ There’s nothing more fun than sharing this with people, especially those who have inspired me to educate myself further, opened my eyes a bit wider. You will never reach success in life if you start by asking people ‘What can I get from you?’. This is something I experienced in my Strala Yoga teacher training. When you go into something offering yourself, your help, your work—it never fails. Never. If you don’t think you have much to offer, yes you do—you have yourself. It’s a golden rule that will get you through life.
Be there for people.
Instead of creating space for them, let them create their own space. Let them experience what they want to experience. In order for them to expend for you, personally and professionally, always, always, always ask, how can I help you? How can I be of use?”
Images courtesy of breakfastcriminals.com
As told to Amy Woodside, December 2014