FREE Beauty School Events at Whole Foods Market Philadelphia Stores!

Spring is on its way, and I'm helping Whole Foods Market celebrate spring AND 'beauty week' with two info-packed, Eat Pretty-approved Beauty School events. Come join me to learn and taste your way to radiant beauty this spring!

Seats are super-limited for these free events, so follow these links for all the details, and the prompts to sign up:

Whole Foods South Street, Friday, 3/20 at 9:30am: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/beauty-school-at-whole-foods-market-tickets-16007624235

Whole Foods Callowhill, Sunday, 3/22 at 3:30pm: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/beauty-school-at-whole-foods-market-tickets-16008110690

 

Blueberry Cream Cups with Salted Coconut Crumble

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I don't care what the thermometer says outside; winter is over. Now that it's almost officially spring, our bodies and our beauty are ready for reawakening. To celebrate, I created these Blueberry Cream Cups, with frozen berries since the real thing won't be in season for another few months. They only have a tiny amount of maple syrup, and no refined sugar, and they're full of skin-friendly healthy fats.

This recipe would be perfect for an Easter gathering or a cool-weather spring brunch. Just take the cups out of the freezer 3 to 5 minutes before you want to serve. Once it starts getting hot, they'll melt quickly and won't last long out of the freezer!

Blueberry Cream Cups with Salted Coconut Crumble

This recipe is inspired by the Cool Peppermint Cream Cups featured in the winter chapter of Eat Pretty— I've always wanted to make a fruit-based version! These are slightly sweet and slightly salty, but not too much of either. They're sweetened with blueberries and just a tiny bit of maple syrup, but nothing else. The raw cashews and coconut oil are packed with healthy fats for your skin and metabolism.

Makes 10

Blueberry cream cups:

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for 4 hours or overnight
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries, partially or completely thawed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • pinch Himalayan salt or sea salt

Salted coconut crumble:

  • 4 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
  • maple syrup
  • Himalayan salt or sea salt

Additional equipment: silicone baking cups

To make the cream cups In a high-powered blender, combine the cashews, coconut oil, blueberries, maple syrup and salt until whipped and creamy, about 90 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the blender and blend once more to eliminate any lumps.

To make the salted coconut crumble, add just enough maple syrup to make the coconut flakes slightly sticky. Sprinkle a few pinches of salt into the coconut flakes and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt if desired.

Set 10 silicone baking cups on a tray or in a muffin tin, and divide cashew cream among cups. Using a butter knife or a clean finger, swirl the cashew cream until the tops are level. Sprinkle salted coconut crumble over the tops of the cashew cream and freeze at least 2 hours. To serve, unmold silicone cups and serve immediately. If the cups soften too much, return to the freezer to reset for a few minutes before serving.

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Winter Product Obsessions

Winter's still hanging on here on the East Coast— we're so close to spring, yet so far!

So what's been on my vanity, tucked in my purse or stocking my bathroom cabinet during this season of record-setting chills? Here are the natural and organic products that have become my absolute favorites for beauty this winter...

By Nieves Cloud of Protection, $18

With my toddler and his little pals hanging out in our home this winter, there were more than enough colds to go around. My new favorite cold-fighting product is this essential oil formula that fights airborne bacteria and viruses, not to mention stale air and odors. Unlike other essential oil sprays that smell a bit too much like menthol cough drops, this one actually smells pretty, thanks to the addition of rose and cedar to balance out the aromas of eucalyptus and evergreen. I'd like to think that is protected us a bit, in addition to making our living space smell better!

 

 

Blissoma Scentless Stick Natural Deodorant Solid, $15

I was invited to try this new formulation a few months ago, and have been raving to clients, friends and family about how well it works! I'm seriously impressed at how well this solid stick (which happens to be very hard when applied in cold weather) fights odor and absorbs dampness. The one downside may be that it takes more than a trip to your local drugstore to get your hands on one of your own. While you're placing an order from Blissoma, pick up another one of my faves, the Adaptive Energy Tonique. You can't go wrong with this beautiful brand!

UPDATE: From Julie Longyear, founder of Blissoma, via Twitter: "Based on how the recipe did seem to get a little harder in the cold winter months we tweaked the last batch just slightly. Increased the oils a tad to make it softer. Still same ingredients list but should be a tad more spreadable."

 

 

 

Arya Essentials Body Oil, $68

Arya Essentials is a new brand that I've just discovered; it caught my eye because it incorporates both Ayurvedic ingredients and principles. My skin and senses fell in love with the aromatic formula (base oils are sesame and coconut), with soothing essential oils of black pepper, neroli and brahmi— an oil from the gotu kola plant that supports calm and reduces inflammation. In India, coconut and sesame oils are used for daily self-massage, called abhyanga, which I introduce in Eat Pretty. Abhyanga is wonderful for promoting hormone balance. One tiny note- the coconut oil in this formula solidifies quickly in a chilly room. I take the whole bottle into the steamy bathroom while I shower and it's all ready to use after I towel off and dry brush!

 

 

 

Laurel Whole Plant Organics Antioxidant Facial Serum, $80

So far I'm a fan of everything I've tried from the Laurel Whole Plant Organics line, but I was especially pleased at how well my skin responded to this serum! Taking a closer look at the ingredient list, jojoba and sea buckthorn oils are two that my skin consistently loves, so I credit those here, along with the elaborate mix of active oils from skin-regenerating rose to soothing calendula and skin-clearing nettle. Of course, I'm certain that the quality of the ingredients plays a major role in the benefits I'm seeing as well. Laurel Whole Plant Organics is devoted to using the whole plant (hence the name), rather than a lineup of extracts and derivatives. While reading up on Laurel Organics sourcing and production, I found this statement that I loved: "Most clinical beauty formulas really are just mimicking plants anyhow, but the real thing is much more beneficial and more easily recognized by our skin." Exactly the sentiment that I share with my clients who are just starting to learn about safe personal care!

One more note: Laurel's suggestion for application of this serum (start applying around the outside perimeter of your face and work inward) was a revelation, as my T-zone always seems to have plenty of moisture but I really can neglect those outer areas.

 

 

Skin Cleanse Simplifies Gorgeous Skin

Adina Grigore: I've been using this lovely lady's Brooklyn-crafted beauty products for years now, and I can promise you that they're the real deal.

Even with all of the covetable natural and organic beauty lines out there, Adina's line SW Basics of Brooklyn comes up a lot when I talk to my clients about safe personal care. Hers are some of my favorite examples of natural products that are so crazy simple, and so crazy effective, they're genius. Even when you're applying totally safe ingredients to your body, I believe that simplifying wherever you can is important, and SW Basics is one of the simplest lines I've seen; most formulas contain five ingredients or less. Why overcomplicate your beauty routine when you could grab a SW Basics cleanser (for 22 bucks, mind you) that will work just as well as your conventional one, and let your skin breathe a sigh of relief? I dunno.

Whether or not you've tried SW Basics (now available in Target, FYI), you're going to want to pick up Adina's brand new book, Skin Cleanse. That simplicity, that transparency that I love about SW Basics? It's in here too. In the pages of Skin Cleanse, Adina opens up (quite succinctly and humorously- love her!) about the plight of our sorely misunderstood skin. She leads us on a true skin makeover, targeting both the outside and the inside, in an effort to transform what we thought we knew about skin health. Reading it, I was underlining passages and dog-earing recipe pages left and right!

I had so much fun with the Skin Cleanse challenge this month. Since I'm already down with the whole fresh, unprocessed, inside-out approach (Eat Pretty, anyone?), I focused on products. Adina sent some sweet almond oil, green clay and ground oats (shown above), which I whipped into a mask at her suggestion. I also added some ground oats to my evening bath salts, a la the Soothing Bath Soak recipe on p 193. Next I want to try the Sea Salt Hair Spray by Herbivore Botanicals (p 205), but I'm waiting til the snow melts on the ground before ushering in beach wave season! Another recipe that caught my eye? The Deep Sea Hydrating "Strips" on p 185—  made with actual seaweed strips. Whoa!

Not only is Skin Cleanse eye-opening, it's empowering. It'll help you reign in your beauty product routine and tune up your diet, and you'll be a lot more friendly with your skin by the time you reach the end. You'll also  be opening it again and again for recipes and inspiration.

I'm so excited to give away a copy of Skin Cleanse to one reader— just leave a comment on this post or on the Beauty Is Wellness FB page telling me your favorite tip or trick for gorgeous skin. Leave your comment by the end of the day on Wednesday March 4th. I'll pick one commenter at random to win the book and share the best tips on social media!

Here, meet Adina and here her list of 5 Things Your Skin Would Tell You if if Could...

Fight the Effects of Inflamm-Aging

When I began my career as a beauty editor I wanted to learn as much as I could about the science of skin. I remember one day-long conference, organized by a major beauty company, where we watched PowerPoint presentations on the dramatic aging effects of sun damage, smoking, and tanning. For years, I learned how to counteract those external agers with cutting-edge skincare. In those days UV rays and smoke were probably the biggest beauty dangers on my radar.

I had a lot to learn.

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Favorite Beauty-Friendly Holiday Recipes

During this busy time of year, remember that you can make simple, nourishing dishes like the ones below that celebrate the ingredients of the season and fuel your body and beauty with the best foods around. I hope you'll try one or more of these beautifying holiday recipe favorites— they were all created with gorgeous skin, energy, and a slim waistline in mind! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for joining me in eating pretty this year! xo

For a warm, satisfying sip... (cacao boosts circulation to your skin and relieved redness!):

For a sweet snack while you're wrapping presents... (free of refined sugar and packed with hair-boosting protein):

For an elegant appetizer to serve at your holiday soiree... (vegan and full of blemish-fighting vitamin A):

For a blood-sugar stabilizing, immune-boosting breakfast...(packed with healthy fats and an aromatherapy boost for bleak winter days):

Anti-Aging Cranberries for Your Holiday Table

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Quick, name your favorite Thanksgiving side dish.

Mine has always been cranberry sauce— it’s sweet, vibrant, pairs well with everything on your plate, and is incredibly healthy…or so I assumed for many years. Turns out that cranberry sauce pairs well with everything except glowing skin and a slim waistline!

The truth: that innocent-looking cranberry sauce is one of the biggest sugar bombs in your Thanksgiving celebration.

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Autumn Product Obsessions

What's on my vanity, tucked in my purse (or diaper bag!) and stocking my bathroom cabinet this season? Here are the natural and organic products that have become my absolute favorites for beauty this fall...

Ilia Sheer Vivid Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20, $42   

I'm always on the lookout for exceptional foundations and tinted moisturizers that meet my natural standards, so when I heard that Ilia was releasing a new product, I had to check it out. This tinted moisturizer has light, buildable coverage (hence the 'sheer vivid' moniker), and SPF 20 from zinc oxide (12%) and titanium dioxide (2%). The first time I wore it, I felt like my skin stayed strangely tacky (I'm not a fan of powder in the fall and winter), even though the formula is slightly matte.  Sure enough, on subsequent tests I found that it leaves a layer of dewiness on the skin, thanks to its moisture-attracting hyaluronic acid. While that took a little getting used to, the product doesnt look greasy on your skin. It covers lightly and evenly— no streaks. A winning combo!

Pursoma Hot Tub Bath, $34

I'll admit it— I was a bit intimidated before using this mix of potent detoxifying bath salts. After all, the brand itself calls the blend, complete with spicy organic ginger root powder, 'no joke.' Fortunately, I met Pursoma's amazing founder Shannon Vaughn at an eco-beauty event we co-hosted at Brooklyn's Shen Beauty, and she promised me I could handle it. At the first sign of a fall cold, I dumped this warming mix of ginger, sea salt and French clay into my bathwater, soaked as long as I could, and wrapped myself in a heavy robe to sweat out the toxins. I awoke the next morning feeling awesome (and in need of another bath after all that sweat!). Keep one around for cold & flu season.

Organic Bath Co. Stress Less Organic Sugar Scrub, $27

When I'm not taking toxin-flushing ginger soaks, I like to chill out with more relaxing aromatherapy. This Stress Less sugar scrub combines Fair Trade sugar with super-hydrating organic oils and a mellow lavender scent, from organic essential oil. I'm using it this fall to smooth my skin (cell turnover naturally slows down when the weather cools) and remind myself to breathe deep. 4-7-8 breath anyone?

Zoe Organics Mama's Ritual Roll-On Aromatherapy Oil, $26

Being a mom makes me wonder, what did I ever do with so much free time before?! Caring for an energetic 9-month old who desperately wants to walk on his own, I totally get why Zoe Organics wanted to create their new 'Mama's Ritual' line of products. If I dont reserve a few daily moments for myself, I might forget how amazing it feels to just sit quietly and breathe in the calming scents of sandalwood, geranium, lavender and peitigran. This oil blend helps me to be present too, because when mama is cared for, she's better at caring for everyone else.

 

Farmaesthetics Warming Oil, $18

The ultimate cold weather body oil. Infused with clove, lavender and orange, this rich oil produces a mild circulation boost in your skin a few minutes after applying. It's just enough to chase away a chill, and give you a just-left-the-fireside glow. It's also intended to rev up a stagnant system, warm the spirit and open the heart, and I feel like it does just that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whole Foods Debuts a New Way to Rate Your Produce

The criteria I use for judging my produce has seriously evolved in my years of grocery shopping. Where I once sought some combination of the cheapest or best-looking fruit and veggies in the market, I've learned to look for organic, accepting its higher prices and more frequent imperfections. Today Whole Foods begins pushing our collective produce considerations a few steps further, with a new rating system that takes into account factors like water conservation, worker wages, overall sustainability and waste. Of course, organic will still be a major focus, but Whole Foods will also weigh the use of certain pesticides—those that they deem prohibited or restricted, vs others that are less so.

Other factors measured in the new Whole Foods Market system:

  • sustainability
  • pest management
  • pollinator protection
  • worker wages
  • water conservation and protection
  • soil health
  • ecosystems
  • biodiversity
  • waste, recycling and packaging
  • energy
  • climate

According to Whole Foods, "The ratings will also reward suppliers for certification by a number of leading social and environmental standards including:  Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, Protected Harvest, and Demeter Biodynamic certification."

What you'll see in-store is a 'good,' 'better' or 'best' rating on produce and flowers:

What do you think of the new rating system? Do you feel like it will help you make more informed produce choices?

Produce photo via Aaron van Dorn

1, 2, 3: Your Fall Beauty Focus List

I’m always amazed that this time of the year— the transition between summer and fall— has its own unique look, feel and smell. The sun and air are changing, ever so slowly, but for a time we’re smack in between two distinct seasons, “living at the instant where the pendulum reverses its swing,” describes nutrition researcher Paul Pitchford his book Healing with Whole Foods. My body and skin feel that difference!

While you savor the unique energy of this transitioning moment of the year, I wanted to share some of the best areas of focus for your beauty and body this fall. If you could keep just three ideas in mind for the fall season, make them: digestion, connection, & repair.

I explain why (and how) ahead.

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