Summer Product Obsessions

what's been on my vanity, tucked in my purse AND stocking my bathroom cabinet during this SUNNY SUMMER SEASON? Here are the natural and organic products that have become my absolute favorites for beauty early this summer...

Axiology Lipstick in Attitude, $26

I'm loving this bright, uplifting shade of pink! Axiology totally hits the mark with this gorgeous natural lipstick, from its sleek brushed gold tube that clicks into place, to the ever-so-slightly iridescent raspberry pigment. Of course the best part is all of the high quality natural butters, oils and waxes that go into the vegan formula. They feel ultra-moisturizing, and deliver smooth, even color. I may not be ready to branch out to the brand's purple Desire shade, but Attitude is sure to be my go-to color for awhile.

 

Gemstone Organics Face Creme in Rose Quartz, $37

I was so intrigued when I first heard about Gemstone Organics. While I don't pretend to know the first thing about gemstones, I find them physically beautiful, and their presence uplifting. I wondered, could their qualities influence the look, feel and results of a facial creme?  I first tried the brand's Jade creme, which actually ended up being a bit too powerful for my delicate skin type. Gemstone Organics partner Sara Clement sagely advised that I give the Rose Quartz creme a try instead, and the experience was a perfect fit. Rose Quartz, intended to soothe and brighten skin while reducing stress and boosting happiness, has been healing and nourishing to my skin, and gentle while still possessing power and potency. I've been using it sparingly, on days when my skin feels in need of an extra moisture infusion. I'd still recommend the Jade cream for dry yet blemish-prone types, since the strong presence of thyme is known to target acne! And when it comes to gemstones, I must say that I am captivated by the hands-on love and ceremony that the brand's partners devote to the creation of their gemstone essences— it most assuredly reflects in the quality of their cremes overall.

Beautycounter Tint Skin, $38

Anyone else find it reeaally hard to come by a perfect natural foundation? Tint Skin comes close to perfect for me, and the fact that it's available in eight skin tone shades makes it a product I can recommend to the vast majority of my clients. (Nobody likes to be left out!) The formula provides a considerable amount of coverage— enough that I can mix it with moisturizer to stretch the small tube just a little farther when I only want a light layer of makeup on my skin. So far, Tint Skin is my top pick for natural foundation that rivals conventional lines— without unwanted ingredients like PEGs, parabens, and chemical sunscreens.

PiperWai Natural Deodorant, $13

I first met my Philly neighbor and co-founder of PiperWai Jess Edelstein when she pulled up to my house on her scooter, toting a bag of deodorant samples for one of my Beauty Food Supper Clubs. Jess is a pavement-pounding real estate agent by day, but she and co-founder Sarah Ribner put more energy and passion into PiperWai than most brands get on a full-time schedule. This team of childhood friends truly believes in their deodorant, and rightly so. It works, thanks to activated charcoal, milk of magnesia and nearly a dozen bacteria-busting essential oils. Now I'm not a product diva, but I don't love that I have to apply it with my hands (the extra 30 seconds it takes to leave my 1 year-old unattended and run to the bathroom to wash up leaves ample opportunity for him to get into trouble).  But a stick applicator may be coming soon. The brand recently celebrated a fully-funded Indegogo campaign, and developing an applicator is one of their major goals. Stay tuned, but if you're in the market for a natural deodorant, this is a must-try today!

Cosmedix Reflect SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen, $45

I have no problem slathering a thick sunscreen all over my face when I'm at the beach, but that approach just doesn't work for me everyday. I was thrilled to find this super-light liquid mineral sunscreen from Cosmedix. It comes in a spray pump, but don't plan on misting it all over your face (too much potential to breathe it in— avoid spraying sunscreen over your face or body). Instead, follow the package directions and spray a few pumps into the palm of your hand, then pat it on. The ingredients are astonishingly simple: the base is micronized titanium dioxide and water, with a few key antioxidants added. On days when I might otherwise forgo sun protection in an effort to streamline my routine, I reach for this quick-applying liquid as a practical solution.

Note: while testing this product, I've been researching whether or not micronized titanium dioxide is truly safe protection. While many sources, like the EWG, vote for zinc oxide as the number one best form of sun protection, titanium is a close second. Both titanium and zinc "provide strong sun protection with few health concerns," and "don't break down in the sun," according to the EWG. And in its micronized form, titanium dioxide appears to be safe. There does exist a 1996 study that raised concerns on nano materials in sunscreen, but subsequent studies have not substantiated those concerns. For the time being, this feels like safe, wearable protection to me!

"EWG carefully studied all scientific publications and government safety assessments on the risk of nanoparticle penetration from zinc and titanium in sunscreen. The current weight of evidence suggests that these nanoparticles do not penetrate the skin, diminishing concerns for their adverse effects for sunscreen users."


Meditation for Beauty- and Win My Favorite Meditation App!

People ask me what I still struggle with most when it comes to beauty— is it sugar cravings? missing coffee? finding enough time to cook at home?

Nope, it's none of those things. My struggle is way more complicated than forgoing a brownie or cup of coffee— it's STRESS.

There are plenty of days when I toe the very fine line between balancing it all fabulously and feeling crushed by the weight of overwhelm. My mind switches between my roles as a mother, sister, wife, daughter, coach, author and editor like a flashing strobe light. And guess what? This is something we ALL deal with in one way or another. It's one more of our shared human experiences, and I think one of the best ways to deal is to support and empower each other to develop the tools to push back against stress mode when it hits.

My stress-reducing arsenal includes walking (living in a city, I love that I can fit in walks while running errands; walking instantly lowers stress), mindful breathing, my favorite magnesium drink Natural Calm, stress-busting aromatherapy, power naps (I'll admit, I've taken 10-minute power naps on my office floor when in dire need of a time out), and meditation. This last one is big.

I've dabbled in meditation for several years, but didn't fully commit until January 2015, when I set the intention to meditate for 10 minutes a day, every day. I don't know what's harder, sitting in meditation for 10 minutes, or finding 10 minutes to sit and meditate! I've tried all kids of apps to help me stay consistent when I'm traveling, and I finally found one that I love so much, I even use it when I'm at home. It's called OMG. I Can Meditate!, and I am so excited to give away ten 3-month memberships to OMG this week!

To enter to win one of ten 3-month memberships to the OMG. I Can Meditate! app, comment, tweet and/or follow, via the box below, by 6/5/15.

A screengrab from a meditation session in the OMG. I Can Meditate! app.

A screengrab from a meditation session in the OMG. I Can Meditate! app.

The connection between stress and beauty is real. Getting stress under control can be the key to restoring hormone balance, boosting the body's natural detox abilities, improving digestion, and lowering inflammation. Many of my clients struggle with breakouts that are connected to hormones and stress, and we work hard to develop ways to manage stress even as we build a diet that clears skin from the inside out. Stress greatly impacts sleep/wake cycles, weight and adrenal fatigue— all important for our overall beauty and wellbeing.

If there's one thing I would challenge you to do to lower your stress this year (and reap the added benefits of increased mental focus, reduced anxiety, and more radiant skin!), it would be regular meditation. Apps are great ways to start, and I fell in love with OMG. I Can Meditate!, for its beautiful images, relaxing narration voice (of its creator, Lynne Goldberg), and all kinds of cool extras— from bedtime meditations that help you fall asleep to kids meditations and 'missions,' where you choose your ongoing intentions. I'm still discovering all the content.

Enter to win your 3-month membership below— you will LOVE it!


Philtre: Discover a Fab New Green Beauty Shop, and Win Products!

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When I first spoke with Heidi Craig, the owner of the new and impressively-stocked online beauty boutique Philtre, we instantly clicked. More than the fact that she's funny, friendly, and easy to chat with, we bonded over similar childhood experiences: we both had mothers involved with 'health food' co-ops, and we had some unique memories of the healthy (but totally uncool) foods that made regular appearances in our lunchboxes.

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Meet UK Skin Guru Antonia Burrell and Join Our Live Q&A

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If you love safe, effective, science-backed green beauty and you haven't heard of Antonia Burrell Holistic Skincare, it's because, well, her products are seriously hard to come by here in the US. I'll call them exclusive. If you aren't a client of the famed (and chicly-curated) Shen Beauty in Brooklyn, you haven't even seen Antonia Burrell Skincare on shelves in the US. And you're missing out!

With famously flawless faces like that of model Jessica Stam and HRH Princess Tatiana of Greece in her hands, Burrell has a lot at stake. But her clients rave about her famous Natural Face Lift Facial (make a trip to Urban Bliss Spa in Notting Hill to experience it) and product line.

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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...

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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):