During the holiday season, I met at one of my favorite Chicago landmarks, the Palmer House, with the three women who founded the lifestyle blog “The Sister Project.”
When Nicole, Michelle, and Lauren Massarella walked in, I immediately knew we would become fast friends. Although I knew quite a bit about them already from reading their blog, it was another experience entirely to watch them interact with each other. Each in their own way is unique and beautiful, and together the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.
We settled in for a fun few hours surrounded by the ambiance of my favorite hotel, conversing about relationships, celebrity crushes, family and our common bond of being Italian. It was as if I had known them my entire life.
Although we had just met, I inherently felt that they were rooting for me. That’s what they aim to do through “The Sister Project.” “It’s not all about makeup and fashion,” Nicole notes. “We push happiness and self love, we are cheerleaders for women.”
“The Sister Project” was born when Michelle brought her sisters together to brainstorm. “We had an idea of what we thought it would be,” she explains. “We stayed on course but we are going in a different direction,” Michelle’s organizational ability has led her sisters to dub her the boss and CEO.
They love to collaborate with others, bringing them together to write for the blog. Lauren’s husband, Anthony Ciancio, has his own section for men on the site called “The Mister Project”, which has became so popular, they are launching a site for TMP in the months to come.
The project inspires women to be champions in all areas of their lives. “We want to use this as a platform and give back to the community,” stated Lauren. Writing with grace and charm, Lauren’s passion for yoga has inspired women to live peaceful and calm lives. “We use different areas of our lives to inspire others to pursue a more positive lifestyle,” Nicole states.
The project also has a strong philanthropic component. Michelle recently wrote a piece on her daughter’s first grade teacher, who was diagnosed with a terminal illness. “It was so awesome to see the power this site has around the world,” she enthuses. They attracted donations all the way from China.
“We have a very good reach, especially on Facebook,” Lauren points out. “The Sister Project” has attracted over 4,000 Facebook followers with their daily posts of inspiration and wellness. Nicole’s sense of humor and quick wit is evident in her creative and engaging posts. “They told me I couldn’t swear today,” Nicole seriously states.
Last November, the sisters joined forces with Vanessa Palmer, blogger and author of “Om for The Mom” to create a yoga retreat in Tulum, Mexico. They focused on immersing their retreaters in a blissful week of wellness that included three workshops: “Find Your Creative Goddess Within,” “Releasing Your Inner Goddess” and “Your Body Is Your Temple.” The retreaters loved the retreat so much, they want more. Currently the sisters are working with Palmer on another retreat to take place later this year.
The sisters agree that their Italian heritage has been a driving force in their lives. They also credit coming from a big strong Italian family with giving them the strength to overcome the challenges of running a high-traffic blog.
As they continue to inspire each other and their readers, they see a future of infinite possibilities. “We want this to be our livelihood,” Michelle passionately states.
Not all families are perfect, but these three women are a mix of everything their site aims to promote: calmness, beauty, laughter and strength. “We are unbreakable. People don’t have what we have,” Nicole states.
Like any family, they have their ups and downs and they readily admit that they don’t get along all the time. But, as Lauren notes, “I admire how well we make up with each other.”
As our conversation ended, I felt inspired by meeting these three women. I also felt enriched to know that I had gained three sisters from the experience.
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