For five years, many New Orleanians knew Dr. Alisha Reed as Nola Bougie. Followers enjoyed engaging with the effervescent pharmacist living her best life and slinging self-care wisdom via her popular Instagram channel by the same name. In December of 2019, everything changed for Reed. Her husband Moe Reed, lawyer and doting father of their son Mojo, died after suffering a heart attack. He was 43. After initially deciding to shut down Nola Bougie, Reed began to open up, sharing her grief and the changes in her life with raw candidness. Reed says the outpouring from her followers kept her going. In April, Reed launched a new brand with a newfound purpose. FLY with Alisha Reed is a life and success coaching and mentoring business designed to inspire others to achieve their purpose and on her FLY Minimalism site, Reed explores minimalist beauty, fashion and haircare. Reed joined in the Project 333 Minimalist Fashion Challenge, born of the book “Project 333: The Minimalist Fashion Challenge that Proves Less is So Much More,” in which participants wear only 33 items for three months. Recently, I caught up with Reed to ask about the project and learn more about FLY Minimalism.
Bon Vivant: You have a lot of irons in the fire. When people ask what you do, what is your answer?
Dr. Alisha Reed: Depends on who’s asking. My usual response is that I’m a clinical pharmacist. Lately, my response has been, ‘I’m a Success Coach and I teach women How to FLY.’ It’s a great conversation starter.
BV: What drew you to minimalism?
Reed: I actually had no choice. When my husband passed, I threw a few things in a bag and moved in with my parents. It was too traumatic to return to the home to get new things, so I just rotated what I had. Grief is lifechanging and you realize what is truly important.
BV: How do you personally define minimalism?
Reed: I call it FLY Minimalism. I am definitely not a true minimalist, but I did believe that I had ‘too much stuff.’ FLY Minimalism is about taking a personal inventory of what you have and determining what you actually need and letting go of the excess. This applies to all areas of your life.
BV: In what ways are you incorporating minimalism into your life?
Reed: This grief journey made me value time. Minimalism allows me to save time by using less. For example, my skincare routine has been simplified. I own a few quality, environmentally conscious products. My haircare regimen is soooo simple. After a big chop, I literally just wash and go. Most recently, I decided to participate in the Project 333 Minimalist Fashion Challenge. The rules are simple: wear just 33 items for three months. Shouldn’t be too hard during a pandemic right? The 33 items include clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes. My wardrobe capsule consists of white shirts, denim shorts and jeans and kimonos.
BV: What aspect of minimalism is difficult for you, if any, or what minimalist-related challenges are you trying to overcome?
Reed: I think the most challenging part is the accumulation of products that I receive, because I’m constantly reviewing things for my blog. I have so much! I do plan on giving away most of the things.
BV: I’m an aspiring minimalist but tend to quickly backslide to my old-stuffed closet, décor covered surfaces ways. What’s your advice for those of us who love the concept and truly ‘get’ how much it can simplify everything, but just can’t seem to stick with it?
Reed: What helped me the most was reaching out to a home organizer. I did a virtual consultation and received tips on how to organize my spaces and get rid of the excess. Girl you have to PURGE! Containers and baskets are your friends!
BV: How do you recommend people who are interested get started with minimalism?
Reed: I would definitely start small. Think of one area that you can focus on. It could be your makeup or hair products. I would also think about WHY you have so much stuff. Most people don’t realize that their shopping habits by be related to stress or depression.
BV: What or who is inspiring you right now and why?
Reed: I follow two amazing women on social media: Faith Cade @fleurdelisspeaks and Alexandra Elle @alex_elle. Affirmations are everything to me and their daily posts keep me going. It’s just what we need right now.
BV: With the many restrictions we are currently living with to help curb COVID-19, what are doing you do for fun or to mix it up?
Reed: When I’m not binge-watching Netflix or reading, I’m on my Peloton!
BV: You and I are both doing a version of Dry July, and have has some fun conversations, but I haven’t even asked you, what made you decide to give up alcohol in the middle of a pandemic?
Reed: OK, I’m nuts right? Honestly, I made the decision because of weight loss. I’m doing a fitness challenge on my Peloton and every bit counts!
Find and follow Dr. Alisha Reed at flywithlish.com and flyminimalist.com, on Instagram at @flywithalishareed and on Facebook at facebook.com/flywithalisha.