About Mahin

When I was younger, I was always searching, wondering, and curious about my purpose.

Although my childhood was filled with endless experiences in academics, arts, food, music, traveling; I still longed for a connection to something. This led to my studies in neuroscience, and after graduation, a job opportunity landed me Cambridge, MA. I spent 14 years of my life working on therapies for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and alcohol addiction.

My home in Cambridge, MA, was always the center for gatherings of good food, music and conversations. Off-business hours, I became a human sponge, absorbing and sustaining all the things I was interested in and curious of pursuing– with the intention of seeking my existential purpose. I have had the pleasure of traveling to over 30 countries. I got to merge my interests in photography and volunteering by working with a foundation that provided education on public health in developing countries. It was this experience that inspired the basis of designing a program at my old workplace, Biogen Idec, where laboratory equipment could be donated to science institutions in developing countries.

My love for Russian literature, spirituality, behavioral economics, and neuroscience cultivated my personal philosophy. More experiences ensued, now on the West Coast, where my interests of design led me to a consulting architectural design for residential homes in Southern California.

Each experience or query in my life was a stepping stone on my path.

As I conjoined all these “lifestyle” elements, the pattern and connection was revealed, and I came to understand that all human beings have the same basic energy, behaviors, motives, and emotions; and if we can focus on that, we can connect to any person regardless of geography, ethnicity or status.  This connection is the basis for a higher collective consciousness and the pure source of living in the moment.

Shortly after, a friend and I were sitting on a farm on Martha’s Vineyard, where the conversation led to re-creating some of my life experiences to inspire others to connect and live life substantially through the patterns and elements I learned. As I thought about the modern world moving towards hyper-technology and information, and the increasing struggle for people to connect to each other in a meaningful way, I found the purpose in my destiny…. providing help for those that need to clarify their own life’s path.

My experience in neuroscience combined with an innate ability to weave style and substantial experiences into everyday life to bring fulfillment conceived the birth of Substantial Living. This new journey begins in San Francisco, which gives me the opportunity to pursue my life’s purpose, and to become a part of your quest.

Mahin is now a creative consultant and is now offering a full variety of cooking and styling classes as well as dinner parties in your home or at an event.   She infuses neuroscience principles with nature, beauty and nutrition to create a Substantial connected experience so you LOVE your space and create meaningful memories with it.  I offer my help in designing the experiences you need to inspire and discover how to live substantially, and enrich your life with greater personal satisfaction and enduring happiness.  

Mahin Arastu has a BS in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior Science from the University of California, Davis and an MBA in Entrepreneurship at Babson College.  Her research in neuroscience has been published in NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and Fortune Magazine, as well as prominent scientific journals.  Mahin lives in Russian Hill, San Francisco.  She loves the ocean, running, cooking, reading, music, people and traveling.


“Mahin is brilliant and has so much to offer. From neuroscience to authentically creating lifestyles consistent with substantial living, Mahin’s professional expertise goes beyond clever branding practices to the heart of experiential successes”.  -Donna, Santa Monica, CA


“When I first met Mahin Arastu, it was at a point in my life when I was in retreat. I’d been trying to start a consulting business and was burned out, discouraged, and ready to give up on what I’d worked almost three years to launch. The idea was already on its way to a shelf to gather dust when Mahin started to ask questions.

And then, through her subtlety and encouragement, I found the answers—I pulled together all the disparate pieces that had been floating around in space. Suddenly, everything lined up, and I regained the momentum I needed to start Iconic Energy Consulting. And I’m so very proud of what it’s all about.

I actually believe you can create a life that’s meaningful, balanced, and fulfilled. Substantial, as Mahin would say. You don’t have to follow a cookie-cutter pattern to make that happen: you need imagination and courage. And sometimes you need someone like Mahin Arastu to give you a gentle push in the direction you were meant to proceed.”    -Jennifer, Cambridge, MA


“Because of Mahin, I wear GStar coats and dresses b/c first of all she wears everything with such ease and rock star style.  Secondly she helped me to appreciate the details in the workmanship and lastly b/c I love the way I feel when I wear the pieces.  Also, because of Mahin, I appreciate the details of food – even an under appreciated fish like bluefish, b/c of the way it can be prepared by her recommendations, so as to be delicious.  Because of a conversation with her at the kitchen table in a farmhouse on the Vineyard, she  helped me to find the most beautiful chandelier which now hangs in our living room and makes us think of her every day!  Beauty is something that can be incorporated into every element of life, if I take the time to really look and appreciate it. 

She inspired me just by being herself.  She is intelligent, articulate, curious, compelling, personable and elegance personified.  Even though she worked in a lab as a researcher, she didn’t compromise who she is.  She was always herself, wearing your fabulous outfits, telling her wonderful stories and being just her, despite being in a lab with researchers whose values were so different.  It inspires me to stay true to myself, regardless of my surroundings and to be unapologetic about it!”  -Katherine, Cambridge, MA

Substantial Living | Food, Neuroscience, Nature, Beauty