A Bride's Guide to Looking and Feeling Her Most Beautiful

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Wedding season is gearing up, and brides everywhere have but one thing on their minds: looking and feeling good on one of the most special days of their lives.

Actually, that's a huge lie. Brides have 8,659 other things on their minds, from the weather forecast, to the bridal party outfits, to the playlist you’ll be moving to. Every detail of the wedding runs through the bride's mind at one moment or another, so it's really a wonder that she has any time to take care of herself!

To help take the pressure off of seriously overwhelmed brides, I've pared down my favorite pre-wedding beauty pointers (all available in detail to brides who take part in a Beauty Is Wellness coaching program) for looking and feeling your absolute best on your wedding day—or at any big event. These tips are the foundation of glowing skin, an energetic body, your healthiest weight, and minimal stress as your wedding day approaches.

Here's the Eat Pretty approach to looking and feeling your best as you walk down the aisle:

A moment from My 2011 Wedding

A moment from My 2011 Wedding

1. See sugar for what it is. On your special day, no doubt you're going to celebrate with wedding cake, a plate of petit fours, a slice of homemade pie, or your favorite celebratory sweet. But in the weeks and months before your wedding, sugary foods are tied with stress as the #1 saboteur for brides. Refined sugar contributes to unwanted pounds, makes you more prone to acne, fine lines, dryness, and uneven skin tone, plus it takes you on a hormonal roller-coaster (as if you weren't experiencing enough drama as you plan your perfect wedding day!). If your wedding day goals include clearer skin or shedding extra pounds, cut out sugar as much as you can (try skipping it completely for 10 to 14 days to reset your cravings, if you have them), and find some healthier ways to deal with stress than sweet treats— think dinner with a friend, meditation, sweating in a sauna, or a long soak at the end of the day.

2. Make friends with ferments. Okay, not right before you say your vows, but in the weeks and months before your big day! Sauerkraut—along with other fermented foods like kefir, brined pickles, kimchi, and miso— contains beneficial probiotic bacteria that help amp up the digestion and absorption of beauty nutrients that happens in your gut after you eat. There are several times more probiotic bacteria in fermented foods than there are in store-bought capsules, so try eating your way to better gut health with a few forkfuls of fermented foods each day. Cultivate a healthy population of bacteria and you'll not only boost your immunity and moods and help out your skin, hair and nails, you'll stop bloating and gas (which is a great thing to avoid on your wedding day) before they start.

3. To slim down, eat. Eating to reach your healthiest weight can sounds counterintuitive, but trust me— it works. Starving or cutting too many calories slows your metabolism and dries up the stream of beauty nutrients that your skin, hair and nails need to glow—and grow. Forget dry salads, rice cakes and meal replacement bars; build your diet around beautifying proteins (think wild-caught salmon, lentils, hemp, raw nuts, sardines, pastured eggs, quinoa, etc.), healthy fats (avocados, raw nuts, coconut oil), and an abundance of fresh, seasonal veggies— and eat a combination of the 3 at each meal for your best blood sugar balance. While you’re at it, aim to eat less of the sugars, gluten-containing grains, dairy, and alcohol that can cause inflammation.

4. Don't fall prey to stress sabotage.  Brides, you know that stress is an inevitable part of wedding planning, so create a plan to shut it down before it takes a toll on your beauty and health. Stress, unchecked, can cause breakouts, weight gain and lackluster skin before your big day, not to mention make the entire experience a lot less joyful. Pick a stress-busting activity that makes you happy—it might be yoga, jogging, meditation, or taking a walk in nature—and practice it regularly. I also love supplements and teas like magnesium, lemon balm, lavender, and even CBD to support calm and relaxation.

5. Plan what you'll eat in the week leading up to your big day. You know that when you get busy, beauty nutrition goes out the window. So don't leave your wedding-week meals to chance. Take control of your meals and plan a grocery list of foods that will make your skin glow, rev up your energy and help you handle stress. Go for an anti-inflammatory menu filled with the foods mentioned in number 3, above. When your wedding day arrives, you'll be looking and feeling gorgeous—and you'll feel great about splurging on all of your favorite indulgences during your celebration.

6. Know that you're going to glow on your wedding day like no other day before! Whether or not science can quantify the radiant glow you get from being truly joyous and in love, it's there. Not only will you see it, but so will your partner, and everyone else in the room. Remember that you are gorgeous, and the happiness of this occasion will only amplify your glow beyond what you can imagine!

Bonus: if you're heading to a sun-filled honeymoon destination, you can help prevent UV damage by filling up on sun protective beauty foods that contain lycopene and beta carotene (think watermelon, red peppers, cantaloupe, tomatoes). You'll come home with memories, but leave behind the sun damage.

Tell me: what made you glow on your big day? I'd love to hear your own advice for wedding day beauty!

Would you prefer one-on-one coaching to motivate you to put these tips into action in your life? Contact Jolene to set up a free consultation to decide which Beauty Is Wellness coaching program fits your beauty and health goals.

Sunflower photo: Ivan Cabanas — Bouquet photo: Courtney Apple

Originally published July 2013/Updated April 2019

Winter Product Obsessions 2018-19: Light Edition

Have a look at these beautiful natural and organic favorites…

Once I gathered up these products from where they’d already found permanent homes in my bathroom, purse, and nightstand, I realized that they’re connected by the theme of light and glow— something I hold close throughout the cold, dark winter season. Maybe it’s a coincidence, or maybe these should be the next items you reach for if you’re craving a little extra glow in your winter routine too. Happy Solstice!

Kindred Baton d’Or, $38 (or Limited Edition 2018 Set for $45)

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Literally ‘stick of gold,’ this creamy, shimmering product leaves your skin subtly illuminated and deeply moisturized. With only 5 ingredients (mango seed oil, evening primrose oil, calendula-infused sweet almond oil, geranium oil, and mica), it feels like a pared-down, everyday essential and a special occasion item all at once. I’ve decided to make it an everyday item this winter, with the goal of restoring some of the sun-kissed bronze that has long left my skin. It works instantly to create luminosity— especially around my collarbone and décolleté (about all the skin I show this time of year!) or on cheeks and lips— and is surprisingly natural-looking and buildable. This product comes from (local to me) Delaware-based natural beauty company Kindred (maker of the most beautiful body oil ever), and you can purchase it paired with a cheerful sparkling pink La Femme candle as part of a special Limited Edition gift set. If you order, use the code JHART for 10% off.

 

The Organic Skin Co. Task Force Nine, $48

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Task Force Nine— the name alone sounds like it means business. And this cream does just that, by soothing skin and reducing inflammation while imparting a healthy glow thanks to golden-hued organic supercritical turmeric, sea buckthorn, and calendula extracts. This cream is a medium weight (it’s water-based, with rose hydrosol and aloe juice), has a soft, non-sticky dry-down, and is 78% organic and 100% natural. I am in love with its natural vanilla scent too— so calming on face and hands.

 




VitaVie Repair & Restore Elixir, $29

I’ve only had this oil for a few days and it’s already one of my winter favorites. Repair and Restore Elixir is instantly calming for my nervous system— you can credit the mix of frankincense, helichrysum, vetiver, neem, and lavender that is super grounding to the senses. I’ve been using it for a beautiful ritual: warm one pump of the oil between your palms, cup your palms over your nose and inhale slowly and deeply, then apply the oil to clean skin that you’ve just misted with a hydrosol. It soaks in well, leaves your skin dewy and your body feeling peaceful.

 

 
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The first time I pumped a drop of Light Reveal (a creamy, balm-like serum) onto my hand, I gasped. It’s completely orange, from brightly-pigmented supercritical sea buckthorn oil. But don’t fear, once you distribute it and massage it into skin, the orange hue creates a subtle warmth that becomes a natural-looking glow. The serum’s other antioxidant-packed ingredients include exotic buriti, pequi, and andiroba oils, plus caffeine from guarana that boosts blood flow to skin. Wabi Sabi Botanicals is a brand new indie beauty addition to Beauty Heroes, and you can purchase Light Reveal alone, or in a special Limited Edition Indie Beauty Spotlight discovery box from Beauty Heroes. The gilded packaging will be the prettiest thing in your beauty cabinet.

 

Axiology Soft Cream Lipstick in Reflection, $30

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I fell for this lipstick (dressed up in new packaging from Axiology) because it reminded me that sometimes the colors you think you can’t wear become your biggest wins. In the tube, Reflection is a pearlized purple, but on lips, it softens into a bright, berry-hued pink/purple with medium payoff that feels fresh, trend-setting, and joyful. As always, Axiology lipsticks are made with natural oils and pigments, are vegan and cruelty-free, and completely free of fragrance.


NOTE: If you purchase a Beauty Heroes subscription, or a product from the Beauty Heroes store, I will receive a small commission on behalf of Beauty Heroes. My honest review and experience with Beauty Heroes and the Wabi Sabi Light Reveal was in no way influenced by my affiliate status.

Autumn Product Obsessions 2016

As the weather cools, I'm craving a moody lip color, a melty cleanser, a buttery-rich eye cream, and a lotion that uses botanical power to reduce season-transitioning inflammation. Ready to meet these natural and organic superstars? Here's what's in my purse and gathered in my bathroom this fall...

Goop by Juice Beauty Luminous Melting Cleanser, $90

No exaggeration- the first time I tried this rich, buttery cleansing balm, I loved its feel so much that I gave myself a spontaneous facial. By principle, I no longer use cleansers that strip my skin of moisture, but even in a lineup of creamy natural cleansers, this product sets itself apart. It's easy to get addicted the balm-like formula, as well as the routine of scooping out a little dab and feeling it melt as you massage it into your skin. I find it most satisfying to use when I'm wearing mascara, liner, and the whole nine yards, since it effortlesly breaks down makeup. The 79% organic formula includes almond, olive, jojoba, and coconut oils, plus shea and cocoa butters that cleanse by breaking down dirt and oils and ushering them away without leaving you parched. Of course, the experience isn't complete without the organic cleansing cloth that's included to help you fully rinse and gently exfoliate (you'll end with a nice layer of moisture remaining on your skin).

Bottega Organica Illuminate Eye Contour Cream, $145

(Also available in the October 2016 Beauty Heroes Discovery Box— a $35 monthly subscription)

What better way to greet colder weather than with a buttery-rich eye cream that delivers a stunning range of powerful healers and hydrators for your delicate eye area? I was thrilled to receive this Bottega Organica Illuminate Eye Contour Cream in my October Beauty Heroes Discovery box, and even more impressed with the product when I took a thorough look at its ingredient list. Bottega Organica, which creates 'farm-to-skin luxury' products, sources the majority of its certified organic ingredients (think fresh herbs, cold-pressed olive oil, and botanicals like echinacea, geranium, and the exotic prawn sage) from an organic farm in Italy and an organic farm in Upstate New York. The result is an eye cream that is a dream to apply, and leaves your eye area calmer, brighter, and more hydrated, naturally. To sign up for the monthly Beauty Heroes Discovery box (my absolute favorite mail day each month!), check out the Beauty Heroes site.

100% Pure Lip Caramel in Truffle, $25

Lip color is one of those products that I urge all of my clients to choose with a discerning eye, since we regularly ingest its ingredients. This gorgeous rust-tinged rose 'lip caramel' from 100% Pure is a perfect example of a lip color that's safe to ingest, but doesn't compromise one bit on color or feel. It goes on with a lip gloss applicator, but has none of the heavy, sticky residue that you feel with most glosses. This lip color is so highly pigmented and light that it reminds me more of a stain, which I absolutely love! After testing the Truffle Lip Caramel (which gets its deep hue from fruit, root, and achiote seed natural pigments), I want the entire shade range. 100% Pure created a winner with this formula!

 

 

 

Tata Harper Clarifying Moisturizer, $105

I've been a fan of Tata Harper's products since her very early days. As she has slowly and carefully added to her line, she continues to surpass expectations with gorgeous formulas that work. Her latest launch, Clarifying Moisturizer, amps up the calming, healing, and balancing ingredients in a season when lots of us struggle with transitional breakouts and slowed cell turnover. Whether your skin is blemish-prone all year, or autumn and winter are trouble times, this lightweight moisturizer is a perfect choice. You won't worry about moisture that's too rich for easily-clogged pores, and you won't be stuck with dryness and irritation because you skimped on hydration. Superstar ingredients in this formula include a plant sugar extract that helps feed probiotic (read: blemish-preventing) bacteria on your skin's surface, and a blend of healing fruit extracts and oils that calm redness and fight free radical damage. The only thing left to mention is the heavenly botanical scent produced by all of these natural ingredients—a Tata signature.

Best of the Midwest: Discovering Organic Beauty from Qēt

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When it comes to beauty, I have an attraction to the exotic and the aspirational. Think time-honored botanicals from around the globe, formulas developed by famous makeup artists, and one-of-a-kind natural products that are on everyone's must-try list. Not that I don't love a great drugstore find (and a drugstore price point), but I confess that I get just a little bit breathless when a beauty product strikes me as extra special.

Imagine my surprise when I found a diamond-in-the-rough product line that was conceived of, created and produced right here in the middle of the US— in Cross Plains, Wisconsin— not Paris, London or Hong Kong. Imagine my delight to discover Qēt.

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Horst Rechelbacher: Natural Beauty Pioneer

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This week the pioneering founder of Aveda and Intelligent Nutrients, Horst Rechelbacher, passed away from cancer. He advocated for the safety, purity and efficacy of our personal care products for years— a crusade that started long before most of us knew the word 'organic.' The above quote comes from the last time I interviewed him, in the summer of 2013, for an Organic Spa article about the purity of our products. It reminds me of our continued quest— to seek out the safest, purest, and most effective products on earth.

10 Beauty Lessons I Learned While Traveling Abroad

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The view from my balcony at The Dolder Grand in Zurich.

I'm just back from 6 days of traveling in Germany and Switzerland with natural beauty brands Amala and Primavera. This wasn't your average trip, for many reasons. First, I traveled at 25 weeks pregnant— a bit of an adventure on its own. Second, this trip was 100% focused on natural beauty, including a tour of the remote (and amazing!) eco-friendly German headquarters of Amala and Primavera (look for my coverage in Organic Spa mag), and a peek at Amala products in action at one of the world's most luxurious hotel spas, The Dolder Grand in Zurich. The third thing that stood out about this trip was the location— the German Alps and Switzerland, which had a fairytale feel that made it easy to find beauty everywhere.

You know how leaving your comfort zone to have a fresh experience can truly inspire you? That's exactly how this trip felt. Traveling reminded me of some of the universal truths about beauty and health— truths that apply to your lives as well.

Here are ten simple lessons gleaned from a few magical days abroad...

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Don't Miss A Night for Green Beauty Sept 4 in NYC!

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Next Wednesday, the place to be in beauty won't be backstage at the fashion shows in Lincoln Center. It won't be at the world's largest Sephora in Shanghai, nor will it be in the top secret labs of L'Oreal or Revlon.

The place to be in beauty on Wednesday September 4th will be in NYC's Flatiron District, at the James Corbett Studio, from 5 to 9 pm.

 

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On My Skin in April...Napa Organics

 

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Agribeauty. (ag-ri-byoo-tee)

noun

1. The pared-down luxury and natural elegance of Napa, California.

2. The word Napa Organics founder Hilary Glass coined to describe the line of organic products she created on the Napa farmland that's been in her family for generations.

I had the chance to check out the lovely line of Napa Organics products (so pretty that you'll want to show them off in your bathroom or guest room), and had to share them with you this month. They're the perfect replacements for the conventional, toxic products you're tossing out during spring cleaning!

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