While many of us have visions, or good intentions, of finding more time for leisurely walks in the park and cups of tea sipped over long conversations with friends, most of the time we're walking for exercise or errands, and gulping tea simply out of thirst. But that doesn't mean that the reality of our day to day routine can't still be infused with beauty.
Take this month's Beauty Heroes box, and its contents from True Nature Botanicals. The gentle Exfoliating Moisture Mask found inside smooths and brightens skin in the time it takes to brew a cup of tea.
I'm a major devotee of facial masks (raw honey is my absolute fave), and this mask definitely earns its hero reputation for quickly transforming skin. I loved its silky, light texture, its super-luxurious scent of jasmine, tuberose and neroli, and its fast action time (2 to 5 minutes, depending on your skin type). And I really loved the result—skin that's extra soft and smooth (exfoliation from beet-derived lactic acid) without dryness, thanks to ultra-hydrating avocado and mango butter and soothing green and white tea.
So my favorite tea pairing of the moment isn't a cookie, it's this facial mask. If time allows, maybe a good book or magazine as well. But I'll take tea + a facial any day. Try it for yourself by subscribing to the Beauty Heroes box, or grab just the mask in the Beauty Heroes store. PS This mask is valued at $90, and you also get an amazing .25 oz facial oil from True Nature Botanicals that contains potent antioxidant ingredients like astaxanthin and chia ($28 value) if you subscribe to the monthly $39 box. But I think its the sheer joy and the extra self-love moments I get each month from this box gives it the most value. It's those little self-love moments that help keep our beauty and health in balance.
I'm so thrilled to share the news that the Eat Pretty, Live Well guided journal is only a few days from hitting shelves—or making it into your hands! April 5th is launch day. I've been waiting a full year for you to be able to use the tools compiled within its pages (seriously, I remember writing the text on sunny spring days just like this one last year!).
Because this book is quite different from Eat Pretty, but very much complementary, I wanted to answer a few FAQs that I thought you might have. To preorder the journal so it lands on your doorstep on April 5, you can visit Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.
What's a 'guided journal?'
Eat Pretty, Live Well is a compilation of essential beauty nutrition info, new strategies, trackers, self-assessments, and time-tested tools that I use one-on-one with my clients—all with a focus on food and mindfulness for beauty and health. It's a companion to Eat Pretty that also stands on its own as an interactive book to help jumpstart a new lifestyle, set, track, and meet beauty goals, or reset when you're feeling out of balance. Reading and writing in it helps you tune into your body, track habits and foods, and build more moments of beauty into your everyday life.
What can I use it for?
I'll let this little excerpt from the journal intro give you some ideas...
What will I be writing about in the journal?
You'll be able to pick and choose which pages are most helpful to you, or follow the journal from page 1 to page 156. Some tools you may want to start with: the Beauty Profile and the Food Relationship and Self-Love Q&As, or the Seasonal Challenge pages for the current season you're in. The latter portion of the book provides Daily Food Diary pages that help you record daily intentions, check off nutrition and self-care musts for beauty, and record your meals and the way they make you feel. You can use these pages daily, or return to them whenever you need a reset.
Do I have to own, or have read, Eat Pretty in order to use Eat Pretty, Live Well?
Definitely not, although if you have read Eat Pretty, you'll see right away just how the two books work together. Eat Pretty, Live Well puts the info in Eat Pretty into practice, and it builds on it, with new information, action plans, grocery lists, and visuals (like the Eat Pretty Plate illustration, below). Whether or not you've read Eat Pretty, you can pick up the journal and explore the concept of beauty nutrition with tools that can be used to jumpstart beautifying habits immediately.
I can't wait to see all of the ways you use this journal in your beautiful life! For even more info, visit my Eat Pretty, Live Well page. If you have more questions, please leave them in the comments and I'll be sure to address them.
Thank you for your support and, above all, your constant inspiration!
In beauty and health,
Meet my sweet snack of the moment: the Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie! The delicate flavors of strawberry and fresh turmeric root (which, surprisingly, has beautiful floral notes) pair so well together, making this a spring treat that's fabulous for your skin and energy.
Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie
This sweet smoothie satisfies a sweet craving with anti-inflammatory superfoods, healthy fats, and protein.
Serves 1 to 2
2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
1 cup fresh or frozen organic strawberries
1-inch chunk fresh turmeric root
¼ cup shelled hemp seeds
Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender and process until smooth. Serve immediately.
Applying an oil serum to freshly-cleansed skin in the evening is pretty much the skincare equivalent of changing into a soft robe and cozy slippers after a long day in heels. It feels so, so good. You would never catch me sleeping in makeup simply because I look forward to that moment of moisture on my clean skin every single day. I would not miss it.
I love switching up my oil serums (I always seem to have 3 or 4 in the rotation, from sample vials to full size bottles), since each blend has different ingredients and benefits. I'd recommend that approach to everyone. Some oil serums are priced super-high to reflect their exotic and powerful contents (see my review of Vintner's Daughter serum, $185!), while others are simple in their ingredients and more affordable in price (like Sibu's Sea Berry Seed Oil, $20).
Having tried a LOT of oil serums in my day, I was surprised—and delighted—to find something new in SkinOwl Beauty Drops PM, which arrived wrapped in purple tissue paper in the March Beauty Heroes subscription box. SkinOwl really isn't like other oils. First, It's a blend of just two plant-based oils (organic baobab and mangosteen), which hits on the refreshing trend of simplicity in skincare formulas. Sometimes less is more for your skin—case in point. Both of these ingredients are anti-inflammatory, rich in antioxidants, anti-viral and nourishing to the skin.
And second, the scent of this oil is startlingly close to that of a Jolly Rancher, or one of the other mouth-puckering fruit candies that you used to trade with your friends in middle school. That scent, believe it or not, is totally natural, from mangosteen oil! It feels so crazy to be applying these Jolly Rancher-scented drops to your skin that it really does change your mood. You instantly break into a smile, breathe in deep, and end up feeling a bit more youthful. The sweet scent brings me back to the blissful days of high school when I'd apply a cloud of fruity 'body splash' (so toxic, so asphyxiating—so fun) as my fragrance, loving every minute of it. If getting back in touch that feeling doesn't have anti-aging benefits, I'm not sure what does:)
So, are you convinced yet? It's time to add an oil serum to your routine, and, if you've already covered that base in your routine, add these SkinOwl Beauty Drops PM to the rotation, for those moments when your skin—and your spirits—need a lift.
And there's a bonus—if you subscribe to Beauty Heroes and receive the March SkinOwl box, you'll get the amazing Beauty Drops PM AND a SkinOwl Heroic Helichrysum Seasonal Beauty Steam for $39. Note: If you sign up as a new subscriber through this link, I will receive a small referral bonus. Enjoy!
For decades now, cleaning the surface of our skin has been a collective obsession. Germ-free, dirt-free, and oil-free is how we have come to imagine our skin's ideal state, so we scrub, suds, and lather up like crazy. But, as it happens, we have it all wrong. Gorgeous, radiant, healthy skin has a natural balance of oil and bacteria—and a lot of it.
More than 100 trillion microbes live in and on us, influencing so many of the core functions of our bodies that relate to beauty. On our skin, these microbes impact inflammation, immune defense, allergies and sensitivities, and the health of the skin barrier, which is directly related to the radiance and clarity of our complexions—right down to issues like hyperpigmentation and wrinkles! As you might imagine, cultivating and maintaining a healthy population of good bacteria on the skin is one secret to radiance that we're just now beginning to understand.
I've been a major advocate of probiotics (both via supplements and food) for beauty since i started my own journey to clear my skin many years ago. My microbiome had been negatively impacted by poor diet, food allergies, and antibiotics, and a combo of probiotics and fermented foods helped me restore the health of my skin by rebuilding those beneficial microbes. Probiotic supplements may be yesterday's news, but probiotic treatments for the surface of the skin are actually a brand new thing.
You may say that you've already seen 'probiotic skin care,' but those products (unless refrigerated to maintain their probiotic bacteria) are erroneously named. These products are often effective because they contain prebiotics—ingredients that feed and support probiotic bacteria—but they don't contain probiotics themselves. Both the preservatives in these formulas and lack of refrigeration kill off probiotic bacteria, so they're not delivering probiotics to the surface of your skin.
But—I've found a topical product that does contain live probiotic bacteria! It's called LiviaOne Daily Liquid Probiotics Topical Spray. This water-based organic spray applies just like a toner or hydration mist, albeit one that's packed with 12 strains of probiotic bacteria. This spray gets shipped to you with a cold pack to maintain the live bacteria inside, and you store it in the fridge. I've used it for calming irritated skin and stopping a yeast infection—both cases a huge success! This spray also benefits oral health (sore throat, cavities, mouth sores), as well as skin irritation, infections, and sensitivity. I think it's such an amazing product innovation and imagine that there will be many more products like this to come in the short-term future.
Now you might ask: couldn't you get topical probiotic benefits from applying fermented foods to your face instead? Totally, but if you applied, say, fermented sauerkraut to your face, you'd stink and your skin would freak out from the extra acid and salt. This spray prevents all of that, and it's a great option for restoring healthy bacteria on the skin, rather than stripping it away.
You can purchase this LiviaOne topical spray (2 oz for $29.95) on Amazon or at liviaglobal.com. It should be shipped to you with a cold pack, then kept in the fridge, to protect its probiotic bacteria.
A sweet and gingery beet blend, a dessert-like cherry and chocolate treat for your skin, a fresh and lemony green smoothie, and a creamy, anti-inflammatory mix of turmeric and coconut milk. There's something for every taste preference in this list of 4 beautifying smoothie recipes, ideal for nourishing your skin this winter—or any season of the year. Try one, or all, this week for an Eat Pretty boost!
Check out four of my favorite beauty smoothie recipes, shared with Anthropologie.
You may also want to read my interview with Anthropologie about favorite smoothie ingredients and winter beauty foods!
Smoothie images via Anthropologie
The January 2016 Beauty Heroes box is filled with tiny treasures—think of it as an extension of your holiday stocking. These skin-pampering treats, all from organic and wild crafted beauty brand Osmia Organics, deliver more power than you'd expect from their pint-sized packages. In fact, the smallest product of all, the Nectar Vital Rose Drops serum (which is a special gift for Beauty Heroes subscribers—more reason to join!), is my favorite of the three! This serum is a sneak preview of a brand new launch coming from Osmia.
In addition to Osmia's gorgeous new serum, Beauty Heroes features Osmia's signature favorite Black Clay Facial Soap (which comes with stories of having cleared or soothed acne and perioral dermatitis for Osmia customers), a soap-saver perfectly sized for this precious bar (another gift for subscribers), and Purely Simple Face Cream, which, refreshingly, is exactly what it claims to be: pure & simple.
The Black Clay Facial Soap is a super-mild exfoliant that draws moisture to skin and tones (enough that it made my skin tingle when I left it on for a few minutes in the shower). I love Osmia's in-depth story of black soap here.
The Purely Simple Face Cream delivery couldn't have been more perfectly-timed with the cold snap in the Northeast that has left my skin needing a little additional moisture. I'm generally not a face cream devotee, but, admittedly, my skin has been quite happy to have this one! After applying it to my face, I've been rubbing the extra into my hands at night to keep them from getting dry as well. My skin loves the gentle aloe and jojoba oil, which hydrate without heaviness.
Resolutions come, and resolutions go. They never quite seemed to work for me. So I shelved my old New Year's resolutions three years ago in order to take a new approach: a word of the year. Instead of a particular goal, in anticipation of every new year I choose a single word that sums up how I want to feel that year, or how I want the year's events to feel to me. Almost like a year-long affirmation.
The year I had a baby and released my book Eat Pretty, my word was VITAL, “having remarkable energy, liveliness or force of personality.” It was a lively, energetic, busy time! The year before that, while I was in preparation mode, my word was RELAXED. I needed some major down time in my life at that moment.
This year, my word is 'MAGICAL.'
I've encountered the word 'magical' over and over recently, and I'm taking it as a sign that, rather unexpectedly, it's going to be my word this year. I feel ready to stop trying to micromanage my life and allow more magic to happen organically. I want 2016 to be a year of magical moments and memories personally, at home with my son and husband, and professionally, as I launch two more books and dream up new ideas. So far, I've loved the result of tweaking my mindset as I approach the new year, and I love the creation process of finding that one perfect word much more than coming up with a traditional goal. It's a much better fit for a writer like me!
So, could you change your approach to resolutions this year too? Spend some time thinking about the word that sums up the way you'd like 2016 to feel. One of my clients chose the word 'joyful.' Another gravitated toward 'patient.' There is so much wisdom in your personal word of the year. Display it somewhere where you'll see it regularly, to have it guide your feelings and decisions in the year to come.
I wish you a year of beauty, health, and your best self in 2016!
The word 'fermented' doesn't exactly evoke beauty. Which is why it may come as a surprise that fermented foods are one of the essentials in any beauty-boosting diet.
To put it simply, the radiance of your skin mirrors the health and function of your digestive tract. The better you're able to break down and assimilate all of those beauty foods you're eating, the more your skin will glow and your body will thrive. Keeping your gut's population of good bacteria happy supports your immunity, healthy weight, and emotional wellbeing, and it also helps make sure that there are good bacteria living in other places in and on your body—like on your skin, where they defend against a host of skin issues.
Even if you're already growing conscious of your gut health, thanks to all the recent attention on the power of our microbiome to do things like alter our mood and influence our weight, you may not know how to make your daily diet more supportive of your gut. That's where Ferment Your Vegetables comes in.
This truly inspirational, delicious, and beautifying collection of fermented recipes was written by Amanda Feifer, an incredibly talented friend. Amanda's been fermenting for years (I made my very first jar of kimchi in one of her DIY classes years ago), so she's way, way ahead of most of us who are just catching on to the fermentation trend. But even though Amanda's an absolute pro with an amazing blog brimming with her fermentation knowledge and recipes, she's incredibly humble, and offers unwavering support about the ability of anyone—truly anyone—to ferment at home. Just talking to her about fermentation is a confidence builder, because she makes it sound so foolproof. Turns out, with her cookbook in hand, it actually is.
To celebrate the launch of Ferment Your Vegetables, Amanda invited her friends to an incredible spread of her fermented recipes. I have to share this with you because it was my dream lunch invitation. She laid out a feast of krauts and kimchis, kombuchas and pickles. I got to taste so many of the recipes she shares in Ferment Your Vegetables, and there wasn't a single bad one in the bunch.
At left is one of my recent recipes in progress from her cookbook—Curried Cauliflower Pickles, made after the original jar of cauliflower pickles she gave me disappeared within days, leaving my household hungry for more. Now, this is my first ferment of cauliflower, and it stinks. Waay more than sauerkraut. I had to leave it in our basement to ferment. But it was worth it. The 4-ingredient recipe couldn't be easier (remember when I said foolproof?!). And the results are delicious. As a bonus, if you make the Curried Cauliflower Pickles on page 52 of Ferment Your Vegetables, you can make the Curried Cauliflower Picnic Salad recipe that accompanies it (I used vegan mayo in my version and it was delicious), which was one of the highlights of Amanda's fermentation spread for me. I could eat it all the time. Come to think of it, my skin would love that.
Just to note, if you're just beginning to incorporate fermented foods into your diet, start slow. Even a few bites or a 1/4 cup serving of fermented kraut or kimchi contains a powerful dose of probiotics! Aim to eat a small serving each day, and you'll be doing something amazing for your health and beauty this year.
And grab a copy of Ferment Your Vegetables to support you in your journey!