Dani Kenney has cooked for meditating monks, star athletes, and Hollywood’s elite. (And The Rock.) But her creative talents don’t just stop at the kitchen door. In addition to attending culinary school in Santa Cruz, she’s studied improv at The Groundlings, Shakespeare in London, and Chinese Medicine in Boston. A native Angeleno with articles coming out in some of our favorite lifestyle publications this year, Dani is also an avid writer, hailing from a family of showbiz writers. But what Dani is most excited about these days is her new foray into motherhood… which brings us to her latest, mama-inspired project: harnessing her culinary talents to revolutionize organic baby products!
This past fall, she launched her eponymous line of 100% natural and organic mom and baby skincare products under her name, Dani Kenney. The brand has already developed a cult-like following. Sold only online and in select indie boutiques across the country, her products are the answer to natural-but-chic. She blends all of her products by hand, utilizing her kitchen wizardry and knowledge of ancient medicinal healing foods to select the finest and safest ingredients for prenatal and baby skincare, as well as natural cleaning products. Today she shares with The Fullest seven of her favorite things.
1 | My family– When my father passed away two years ago, all priorities in my life shifted. I was very close to my dad and he had always instilled in me a strong work ethic. But his passing reaffirmed the quickness with which life goes, so when my son was born I knew that I wanted to be there by his side as much as possible. I changed nearly every aspect of my life in order to make space for being a mom. And as challenging as motherhood is, I’ve never felt more aligned with purpose. My husband is my love and I think that starting a family with him was the best decision I’ve ever made. Motherhood has redefined me in an amazing way. It is hands down the hardest thing I have ever done, but because of that, it’s making me a better (i.e. stronger) human. My son inspires me to be the best version of myself, while teaching me patience and little life lessons every single day. His laughter and incessant joy remind me to keep a light, open heart and find the happiness in each moment. He also reiterates for me the notion that emotions are like passing weather and in most instances you have a choice when you bump your head: you can cry or you can laugh.
2 | The Four Desires by Rod Stryker– I read as much non-fiction as time permits, and love this book. Rod was my mother’s yoga teacher in Los Angeles in the 80’s. She loves his style of teaching to this day and gave me his book when I was home visiting. Rod is a true yoga teacher, who doesn’t just spew out fluff, but sits down and studies all of the ancient texts. His book is one of those life-changing ones. He introduces the most basic form of meditation and also gently guides you to find a catchphrase of purpose (your “dharma code”), that will guide your life and inform everything you do. Happiness really comes down to fulfillment and if you’re not doing something meaningful (to you) then you’re not going to be happy. Not coincidentally, the studies of the longest living people on earth have demonstrated that living each day with a sense of purpose is one of the keys to a long life. So there is definitely something in finding the thing(s) that make you tick and then doing them daily.
3 | Captain Fantastic— I saw this film recently and adored it. I hate spoilers so I won’t spoil it for you, but the extremely general premise is it’s about a family with five children living in the mountain wilderness. My husband and I love the mountains and think our little family will eventually move closer to them in a couple of years. We’ve got Asheville, North Carolina on the radar, but then we’d like to circle back up to Big Sur at some point after that (as that is my favorite place on the planet.)
4 | Dani Kenney’s New Moon Cream— I developed this daily moisturizer because I love using all natural, organic skincare and wanted something I could wear everyday that actually works. It contains some of my most favorite ingredients on earth– including nourishing oils for all skin types and a subtle scent of vanilla. It also has ground pearl (which I source from Moon Juice because their founder, Amanda Chantal Bacon, gets the best of the best). Pearl is an ancient beauty secret in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is rumored to be the fountain of youth. This cream is the perfect size for traveling so it’s wonderful for dry skin up in the air and to carry in your purse throughout the day.
5 | Mama Sattva’s Ghee— In cooking you want an oil that has a high smoke point so that the oil doesn’t burn. And in healing you want to use fats that are nourishing on a cellular level. When I’m cooking I love to cook with ghee because it checks both of those boxes. Mama Sattva’s is made from 100% organic, pasture-raised jersey cows that are treated with love and kindness. The ghee is made from cultured butter using a special low-temperature process conducted during the new and full moons. This ghee is lactose-free, you can store it on your countertop, and it tastes much more mild and less gamey than any other ghee I’ve tried.
6 | Merci Milo— This children’s toy shop is based on the Eastside of LA and was inspired by the old French toy shoppe concept. They source organic, handcrafted and independent toy-makers from around the world. Not only are all of the toys lovely and adorable, but as a mom you can feel confident that they are non-toxic for your babies as well. If you’re not a parent yourself, keep this in mind for gifts for any little ones in your life!
7 | Vintage everything– I’m obsessed with vintage– from books to clothing. It stems from a love of the history that each object carries. Vintage clothes can be so much more thoughtful than those in today’s world of fast fashion. I think that style is such a unique, creative expression of the individual, and as long as we approach fashion ethically, fashion can be a beautiful creative art. Not only are vintage clothes and items the absolute coolest in my opinion, they are also the most responsible too. And now more than ever you can find affordable vintage online. If you just get a measuring tape and learn a few of your basic measurements, you’ll find that it’s very easy to buy well-fitting vintage garments online. Try Etsy and even the vintage shops popping up on Instagram. If you want to lower your carbon footprint, begin buying vintage things more than new ones. And when you do want to buy new items and clothing, select independent and handcrafted brands with ethical practices, such as Dôen, a lovely label that supports women and female-run businesses. Their beautiful, natural pieces evoke the bohemian-but-sophisticated vibe of California, where I was born and raised.