LEARN ABOUT VOOLUU: BRAND NEW AND SUPER FRESH!

’m really excited to announce that I’ve joined the team at Vooluu as a brand ambassador! This is kind of a strange new world for me because I’ve literally said no to selling a million products. You name it, I’ve been hit up to sell it. Honestly though, the fact the people even consider me a health and wellness ‘influencer’ is seriously flattering and I’m certainly not complaining! However, I am extremely wary of multi-level marketing, I really appreciate everyone that reads my words here and I only want to advise you to buy things that I seriously know and love and trust and love.

Here’s the story…

Vooluu reached out to me after finding my blog and I did some research and spoke with the founder and was honestly blown away by the commitment of this team; not only in their ability to find me in a sea of bloggers, (what?) but also in the extreme integrity they have around product sourcing, development and goals. This team is legit! They have communicated clearly, picked an amazing group of ambassadors including athletes, health coaches, bloggers and influencers, and have really given us all of the resources that we could possibly need to really understand the product and talk about it.

Vooluu is focused on two key products (with more coming soon!):

1. All in One Green Protein Shake:

  • Superfood nourishment featuring plant & sea based proteins
  • Immune-boosting mycelium blend
  • Live probiotics & enzymes
  • Free of dairy, added sugar, soy, gluten and GMO ingredients
  • Provides a completely balanced amino acid profile
  • 100% organic
  • Get your daily dosage of greens, micronutrients and proteins — all in one shake!

2. 100% Organic Dark Chocolate Crunch Bars: 

Chocolate is a necessary part of life, if you don’t agree, you should stop following my blog.

High Fiber • High Protein • Complex Carbohydrates • Calcium, Manganese • Zinc • Iron • B vitamins • Phosphorus, Antioxidants • Omega 3 & 6 • Vitamin E • Trace Minerals • All 9 Essential Amino Acids • Tryptophan • Copper • High Folate Choline

Essential Ingredients:

  • Chia Seeds: Originally from South America, chia seeds are packed with superior nutrition. Unlike flax seeds, they’re absorbable by your body in whole form.
  • Hemp Seeds: A high protein seed with all essential amino acids.
  • Buckwheat Groats: Even though it looks like a grain, buckwheat is a fruit seed that is related to the rhubarb plant, making it a great alternative to wheat.

Even better? I’ll also be writing on Vooluus blog about superfoods, healthy lifestyle and I recently wrote about not sacrificing flavor and nutritional density which is unfortunately often the case with protein powders and green drinks. I also wrote about the amazing benefits of medicinal mushroomswhich made me want to go mushroom hunting!

I can’t recommend these products enough, when I drink the green powder in the morning I feel amazing all day long and the chocolate is such a nice (and healthy) treat! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out!

A GOODBYE LETTER TO 2015

Thanks to E.B. for introducing and offering this end of year practice. I recommend everyone try this, it’s felt very liberating getting these words out and saying goodbye to the good and the bad!  

Dear 2015,

Before we say goodbye I want to thank-you for everything that you have been and everything that you have not. This has been a year of change and opening, learning, feeling alone and embracing a new life. You’ve asked me to find growth and accept change in new ways, starting with a cross country move from NYC to Berkeley. Leaving friends and a life that was invigorating and inspiring, but draining and ripe for change was a sudden and intense experience.

You forced me to help my family in a time of need, mourn the loss of two people close to me, not just through death, but also separation, which often feels worse. Alternately, you allowed me to welcome in health and light for my Mom and be with her through an amazing transformation.

On the West coast you’ve put me through the ringer and asked me to truly consider what the work is that I’m after and that will feed my heart and soul, I’m still on that path, but my writing truly lights me up and I got to do so much of it this year; meeting new people, writing for amazing brands and entrepreneurs, stretching my skills and giving me some time to enhance my own blog and clarify my work.

You gave me my dream home in the hills surrounded by nature where I can really let my mind wander and get great sleep. You’ve given me new friends and re-connected me with a few oldies that I’m so glad to have near me!

2015, you’ve asked me to be ok in extreme change and it’s been really hard and uneasy, but I know this is something that I’ve needed to work on for some time. Fortunately, I have the best partner anyone could ask for and this year has been one of hard truths and growth for us as well as we learn more about one another and discover what nearly a decade of togetherness looks like and who we want to be as a pair and individually.

You’ve also allowed me to rescue the sweetest little being I’ve ever met, a 6-lb Chihuahua named Bernadette who has brought me so much joy and love I can’t even describe it. I feel my love and dedication to animals growing non-stop and I truly desire to commit myself to helping bring change for them next year. 

You took me on so many adventures I can’t even count. Not only in this big move but also around the World to BerlinCabo San Lucas, Whistler, NYC, LA, Australia, Colorado, Calistoga and more. You’ve kept Wanderlust in my life literally and figuratively and staying in that community has meant so much and I know I’m not meant to be still. 

2016 is a year of expansion, not staying in something that doesn’t resonate, continuing to find my true path and staying present throughout the ups and downs. Feeling less constriction in change and being open energetically to what may come, continuing to strengthen my body and settle my mind through an ever changing yoga practice.

Thanks for everything 2015, you’ve been real but it’s time to move on. Goodbye 2015.

All my love,

C

TRAVELING AUSTRALIA: A GLIMPSE AT SYDNEY AND THE PERFECT WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS

When I was a kid my dream was to travel to Australia. For a few years I even collected koala bears and kangaroos in a variety of forms, from stuffed to porcelain and also started a piggy bank to save up. For some reason life got in the way and we never made it but finally, over a decade later I made it to the land down under and it was more amazing than I could have ever imagined! 10 days in Australia is just not enough. Choosing the perfect destinations was hard, to say the least, but we made a decision and got some great advice on must sees. We began our trip in Sydney and then headed up to the Whitsunday Islands and it was hard to choose what to highlight!

SYDNEY

There is a ton to see and do in Sydney, I had no idea what to expect, I only know a few people who have ever been so I had to do some digging for the top sites, not only tourist attractions but also more local, and of course, the best food!

We stayed at the Shangri-La in an area called “The Rocks”, on a hill above Circular Quay (pronounced Key), which is the popular harbor that you’ve probably seen photos of. The hotel was really beautiful and the view of the entire harbor was incredible. I was alone for the first few days of my trip, so I really got to explore my way aka see everything possible and walk everywhere! I wear my husband out with all my walking, seeing and doing, so it’s always nice to have a little bit of time alone to just wander and think and envision and explore, there’s nothing like it!

The Rocks is really interesting. It’s the most historical area in Sydney and holds a lot of historical buildings and interesting architecture but is also a hip nightlife spot and sits next to the cruise ship docks. I noticed equal numbers of tourists and locals flocking, here which gave it a much more authentic and local vibe.

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia 

On day one in the height of my jet lagged unconsciousness I wandered out to the Museum of Contemporary Arts “Artbar” because I’d been told earlier in the day that the theme was Mad Max style dystopia and there would be rooftop drinks and DJ’s etc. I’m so glad that I went, it was really cool to see amazing art in a really interesting setting with some crazy costumes (pics here to see what I mean) and cool curation! I don’t know much about modern art (except that the creepy movie rooms scare me) but this museum, and the event especially were very unique, not to mention the view from the rooftop was absolutely incredible.

HUNTER VALLEY WINE COUNTRY:

Just 2.5  hours from the city is the beautiful Hunter Valley known widely for it’s Semillon production along with other varietals (Yep, fancy words, I know my wines…wink). Anyways, our guide Flynders (seen in the photo lying on the ground) was really fantastic and I got to meet some great people, primarily Americans living in Sydney, but also a German and young European couple who had been working on an organic farm, amazing! The wines were also great! Unlike wine country in the U.S. these wineries were much smaller and more laid back. We tasted several wines at each stop and then were invited inside to try anything else from the list that we liked; this made for a long day, especially since we also stopped at a chocolate  factory, vodka tasting room and cheese tasting room, OMG!

BONDI BEACH

Bondi Beach is really well known as a hotspot year round but we were lucky to be there during the Sculptures By The Sea exhibit with hundreds of works of art created by artists from around the World. There were so many stunning works and I’ve added a few of my favorites below, but I definitely recommend you check them all out on the website.

MANLY BEACH

I ventured out to Manly on my third solo day and I’m so glad that I did! The boat was jam packed with locals headed to catch some waves for the day. After a 40-minute ride we pulled up to the docks and I was really confused because I didn’t see any waves at all, in fact, just the opposite, totally calm mellow water. However, I quickly caught on that all of the hoards of people were crossing the street and walking along an amazing wide street lined with adorable boutiques, ice cream shops and cafes that led to the other side of the island which was indeed the total opposite. Rough, wavy, windy and full of surfers. Manly felt like a perfect beach town. I met an American nanny who asked about my shoes and we walked together for awhile while she told me her story. Next I did some shopping and enjoyed lunch at a small restaurant where plants grew on the walls and everyone was in a swimsuit, I loved Manly and could’ve stayed longer. If you go, you should try to spend a day or two there.

BLUE MOUNTAINS (AKA NO MOUNTAINS DUE TO RAIN):

Our Blue Mountain trip wasn’t all of the mountainous wonder that we’d envisioned when signing up. But, it was still a good time. This just so happened to be the same day of the Melbourne Cup, an event that seemingly all of Australia takes the day off for. Much like the Kentucky Derby, everyone puts on big hats and goes to a bar to drink all day. A local explained that each year there is one big race and many small ones, and this year a female jockey won the big race for the first time ever, pretty amazing! We also paid a visit to scenic world with many, many squealing Japanese tourists (my fave) and very little scenery. Finally, the highlight of the day, a trip to a wildlife park to say hello to some Australian wildlife! This was so much fun. We got to pat a koala bear on the booty (as instructed) and feed some wallabies. We also got to check out other native animals that I’d dreamed about seeing forever!

ONE & ONLY HAYMAN ISLAND & THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

…Skip to Wyatt and I re-uniting, heading back to the airport, flying to Hamilton Island. I have to start with thanking my friend Kelly for this amazing intel. I had never heard of the Whitsunday Islands until she told me I should check it out. Kelly basically said these were the best beaches she’d ever seen and I was sold! I’ve seen some great beaches so I was ready to be totally wowed!

The One & Only experience is just like it sounds, completely one of a kind. (p.s. they are not sponsoring this post, but I’d gladly come back :). We disembarked the plane at the tiny airport on Hamilton and stopped by the O&O desk and that’s it, they got our bags, led us to our taxi (a yacht) and we were on our way to paradise. We also got champagne for the trip, not a bad deal! Hayman Island is a tiny chunk of land that is super secluded and private for hotel guests only. The resort was recently renovated and is completely beautiful and luxurious. When the boat docked at Hayman there were golf carts waiting to take us to the main building and there each guest got their own guide to give us a tour and complete the super brief check-in to our room. Because we were celebrating our anniversary, we also had chocolate and more champagne waiting in our room. I was overwhelmed to say the least. This is why we go on yearly honeymoons, married life is hard!

Our stay was so magical. Giant breakfasts every morning, easeful but active days in which we took long walks out on the sand flats, laid in comfy beach chairs or big beanbags in the pool, took sunset hikes and a kayak snorkel trip and finally went to the Great Barrier Reef to Snorkel! I wrote a ton about the reef for GLDMNE, you can read that here, and I will here say I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m usually a wary snorkler but this felt so free and wide open. There is nothing around the reef so coming upon it by boat was remarkable, the water so clear you can see the fish and turtles right through it.

Leaving Australia was not easy! I felt very at home in this place across the globe which didn’t surprise me since every Australian I’d ever met has been so kind and generous. Hopefully we’ll make it back again some day and if you’re planning a visit I hope this will help you choose some great sites to see!

GET TO KNOW SPIRE PLUS UNIQUE TOOLS FOR HAPPINESS SEEKERS

There are a lot of tracking devices on the market and it can be really tough to decide which is right for you! The one thing that I’ve felt is missing from most wearables was the mindfulness component, who cares about counting steps if you’re still mentally distracted and anxious, if you’re not feeling completely amazing body and mind? Today, I’m so excited to announce that I’m working with Spire to create useful content for their readers. Spire is such a fantastic tool for keeping your cool, not helps its wearer improve both physical and mental health. There are some great articles on their blog and below is my first article on some creative and slightly unconventional ways to work more happiness in to your life.

Cool, Calm, Collected: Unique Tools for Happiness Seekers

A CHARMING CHRISTMAS VISIT TO BERLIN

If you haven’t been to Berlin, I highly recommend adding it to your destination list! Recently celebrating the 25th anniversary of the fall of Berlin wall, the city, which was once separated into East and West is now unified and a place of amazing culture, art, and innovation. Although the city still holds some immense heaviness from the destruction of both World Wars, but there are also uplifting surprises around every corner. I’ve travelled to Berlin during a couple of different seasons and it’s always so magical. The winters are really cold but the architecture and scenery make it amazing year round!

This trip was a whirlwind! Only 48-hour with my husband was such a whirlwind, but fortunately it’s very walkable so you can take in a lot in a short time.  Below are a few of my favorite spots, both top tourist stops and some more ‘local’ attractions as well.

START WITH AN AMAZING GERMAN, ASIAN AND EVERYTHING- IN- BETWEEN BREAKFAST

I may have mentioned it before but I love breakfast, like a lot, especially on vacation! Wyatt and I were thrilled to find one of the most amazing and vast buffets we’ve ever seen at the Intercontinental Hotel in Charlottenburg Berlin, I could’ve spent an entire day there eating not only German and American cuisine, but also a full spread of traditional Japanese goodies (my obsession with Japanese breakfast food is a post for another day)!

TIERGARTEN AND VICTORY COLUMN

Literally translated, “Animal Garden,” the 520 acre park is a great place to begin your walking tour. The park has been around since the 1830’s and was originally an electoral hunting reserve, hence the name. Today the park is home to multiple governmental and parliamentary institutions. As you stroll you’ll notice many statues and monuments, but the most visible is the Victory Column, a 70-meter-tall structure built on a roundabout with a gold statue of Victoria, the ancient goddess of Victory, now dubbed ‘Golden Lizzy’ by locals. Completed in 1873, it’s well worth climbing the 285 steps to the top of this magnificent monument for the sweeping views. Also, the leaves match my hair so that was an added bonus 🙂

BRANDENBURG GATE

Continuing the walk from the Victory Column you’ll get a great view of the approaching Brandenburg gate and Potsdamer Platz beyond it. The gate is a strong symbol of the immense change that Berlin has undergone over the years and is an important symbol of what the city has overcome. The gate is the monumental entry to “Unter den Linden”, the renowned boulevard of linden trees, which formerly led directly to the city palace of the Prussian monarchs. Today the gate is a symbol of unity and peace and a meeting point for residents of the city to celebrate anniversaries such as the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

UNTER DEN LINDEN BOULEVARD

After walking through the Brandenburg gate you’ll find yourself on a lovely tree lined pedestrian mall (if the season is right, that is), great for taking your first rest stop, having coffee or tea, and taking in the busy city around you. The trees, like the rest of the city, have had a long history of being cut down and then regrown, the current trees were replanted in the 1950’s.

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL

Located one block south of the Brandenburg gate is the memorial to the victims of the holocaust. The site is covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or “stele“, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field, creating an eerie but amazing visual impression. There is also an underground museum in the information center which pays further tribute to the victims, listing every known victims name and displaying important historical timelines of more personal artifacts like letters and family stories.

EAST SIDE GALLERY, WALL MEMORIAL AND CHECKPOINT CHARLIE

All three of these sites are amazing to see, but if you can’t make them all, try to at least check out the memorial gallery for a great look into the immense history of division between East and West Berlin from 1961-1989. The East Side Gallery, established in 1990 and located in central Berlin, pays tribute to the freedom of Berliners after the collapse of the wall in 1989. The gallery is located on the so-called “hinterland mauer”, which closed the border to East Berlin. The gallery consists of 105 paintings from International artists and is the largest open air museum in the World. Checkpoint Charlie is the name given by the Western Allies to the most well known crossing point between East and West Berlin, and is now home to an open- air exhibit with information on the history of the wall, escape attempts and the importance of the checkpoint to military personnel.

EAT LOCAL

We’re lucky to have an amazing friend, (and DJ) Mike  as our guide for an evening on the town in Friedrichshain, a great neighborhood with a lot character. He picked a Russian restaurant, Cafe Datscha for us and the food was amazing. We skipped the Russian vodka selection but still enjoyed the atmosphere and authentic decor including huge piles of Russian newspapers, very authentic!

NEUE HEIMAT (“NEW HOME”)

The second stop of the night was a tour of this awesome food and flea market. Neue Heimat generally opens it’s doors on Friday evenings and lures locals in with food trucks, drinks and live music and local owned craft shopping, all of my favorite things! I was amazed by the design of the space, shipping containers and what Finding Berlin calls, ‘a gloomy but romantic indus­trial set­ting that was dec­or­ated lov­ingly,’ I couldn’t agree more! This market definitely rivaled our favorite Brooklyn holiday markets!

KAISER WILHELM MEMORIAL CHURCH AND CHRISTMAS MARKETS

If you’re lucky enough to visit Berlin during the holidays you’ll get a special treat, Christmas markets that pop-up all over the city! Warm up and stroll around the little shopping villages with Gluhwein, similar to mulled wine, but even better! We had pretzels and bought a giant ‘Berlin’ inscribed cookie to bring home. The market near our hotel also happened to be on the site of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, which appears to be two churches in one, both the ruins of the original and a super modern new version right next to it. The site is now a famous landmark and war memorial in West Berlin.

Although 48 hours in Berlin is definitely not enough time to enjoy everything the city has to offer, you can still get in an amazing tour and a ton of steps, if you’re counting. Seeing the city by foot is definitely the way to go!

PERFECT MOTHER’S DAY GIFT: HEALTHY SUBSCRIPTION BOXES

Mother’s Day is almost here and I’m always the most last minute shopper! I LOVE the Moms in my life and want to spoil them so this year I checked out a bunch of healthy subscription boxes that are so cool and full of amazing goodies! These make amazing gifts because they keep on giving for months and the receiver will get to try out tons of fun stuff that they may not usually buy for themselves. Also, if you’re trying to get your Mom on the healthy bandwagon this could be a very sneaky way to ease them in. I think my personal favorite on the list is Raw Spice Bar which I’m testing out in the next couple of weeks and can’t wait to write about. Stay tuned and check the list and let me know which are your favorites cause let’s be honest, I haven’t picked one yet! Click here for the full list!

A WEEKEND IN CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY AND THE SCOOP ON ORGANIC GRAPES

We grow like the vines, suspended in time, gaining deep roots, learning our true nature. The greatest pieces of each of us lie in our commitment to that growth and desire to let our paths unfold in a way that is clear and true, not elegant and perfect– although ultimately the universe makes it so.

Recently I turned the big 2-9, which is not yet the big 3-0, but I’m still feeling like this will be a big year. A ton has happened (see previous posts) and I feel like I may be entering in to that phase of life where I’m truly coming in to my own. Welcoming new experiences and people, stressing about what I’m going to “be” when I grow up, but knowing that I’m getting closer and closer and in the meantime finding contentment in the present moment, the experiences I’m so grateful to have while also embracing the unknown.

I love wine country so when Wyatt asked me where I wanted to go for my birthday it was an easy choice. This trip was absolutely amazing, and Wyatt and I had a truly incredible time, it felt like we were much farther than 1.5 hours from home. We tried tons of great wine, didn’t spit much of it out ( or really any for that matter) and got to reconnect with each other in the beautiful setting of vines and rolling hills. Having visited a lot of wineries throughout America and France I was so pleasantly surprised by the selection of wineries in Napa and Calistoga. The vines are perfect but not all white with spray and the hills (see Long Island wineries, gross) are lush and gorgeous. Here’s a recap of the trip in photos.

First stop, Public Market in Napa. Had to eat at Ca’Momi, the amazing pizza place I’d tried the weekend before during Wanderlust Squaw Valley. The pizza is so good and seemed like a great chose before starting tastings.

Super cute little shops really reminded me of Chelsea Market (I miss you!!) with a wine country twist. Loved this little home store full of eclectic housewares and fun books like this one, obviously an important read for every foodie!

WINERIES WE VISITED AND THE SCOOP WITH ORGANIC WINES

We loved the first winery we stopped at in Napa called Frog’s Leap. They had such amazing wines and even better, a gorgeous garden full of every veggie you can imagine, so freakin’ awesome! We visited this winery because it was on the list of organic wineries in the area so of course I asked the tasting staff a whole bunch of questions about what that really means; Are there no pesticides? Are the grapes grown differently? What’s the deal with sulfites? I was really intrigued and surprised by the answer, here’s what they have to say:

‘Believing that a grapevine should be grown in healthy soil that supports all the nutrient needs of the plant, Frog’s Leap has been farming organically since 1988. We also believe that most of the great and historic wines of the world have been made from non-irrigated grapevines, and to that end Frog’s Leap farms all of its vineyards without irrigation.

We adhere to the premise that the greatest wines are those that most truly reflect their soil, climate and circumstance (collectively referred to as “terroir”), and that it is the winemaker’s role to simply stand back and let the natural beauty of the grapes show through.

We don’t make great wine, we grow it.’ –Frog’s Leap

Super cool, right? Totally. But, here’s the tricky part. Almost all wines contain sulfites, a sulfur compound used to increase shelf life, stop yeast from growing and kill bacteria in the wine. Sulfites also bring out the pigments in wine and make red wines redder. In the U.S. organic wines must be both grown organically an also have no added sulfites, while in the Europe the distinction means that the grapes are grown organically but may or may not have added sulfites. So, are sulfites really bad for you? In small quantities no, however, more and more sulfur is being added to processed foods, so limiting intake of those foods and drinking organic wines is recommended to not overdo it. A small percent of people (appx. 5%) are very sensitive and need to avoid sulfites at all costs.

Should you buy organic wine?

The basic answer-Yes. Whenever possible. On top of sulfites, the other problem with non-organic wines is the prevalence of toxic chemicals, fungicides and pesticides that can wreak havoc on health. Pinot Noir drinkers should be especially cautious as this varietal is very difficult to grow without the use of pesticides.

THE FOOD

The ‘too pretty to eat’ beet salad ever at SolBar

Veggie breakfast skillet with poached eggs from SolBar Calistoga

Our cute little corner table with a view at Calistoga Kitchen. Amazing food with sweet local charm. I had fresh hand made pasta and Wyatt had slow cooked pork ribs that had been cooking all day on-site. The chef came out to talk to each table, creating a really great vibe!

SOLAGE RESORT AND SPA CALISTOGA

This pool was ok…;) (photo via Solage Instagram)

Solage provides each room with their own bikes for the duration of the stay. We got some bike riding in to Lava Vine, a neighboring winery and also a bit farther to Envy Wines. Both were lovely and the ride over was completely awesome!

The spa pools were incredible with private men’s and ladies areas for clothing optional bathing and steaming. I also had an amazing mud bath style treatment with a twist. I watched my mud be handmade and chose an aromatherapy oil to go in it. Next, I went in to a private sauna when the mud was applied and allowed to set for 20 minutes and then rinsed off completely. Step two, I was led to a private bath and soaked for another 20 minutes. The room was so airy and bright, heaven! Finally, I got to lay in a 0 gravity chair (what!?) and put headphones on and almost instantly fell asleep. Afterwards, my skin was super soft and smooth and felt incredibly refreshed. Highly recommend this treatment if you go.

Solage is all about fitness, with a full gym on-site and a yoga studio we were able to work off a few of the million calories we ate and drank each day.

Cruisin’ thru the vines

Solage is such an amazing mix of hip, classy and laid back we absolutely enjoyed our time there. Pure luxury and they’ve literally thought of everything!

FRESH: SKIN CLEANSE BOOK LOVE PLUS A BRIEF LIFE UPDATE

This week a few of my favorite lady bloggers have been getting real and honest on the heavy stuff that is going on for them in their lives. It almost feels like something has been in the air lately and everyone is going through some intense stuff, or probably more accurately, they’re going through life. My friend Shannon talked about the realness of marriage (of which I can certainly relate), my friend Julia about her isolation having moved away from friends and family and my favorite DJ Tasha Blank was talking about a block in her creative energy. This is an interesting week to read these three topics as I’m feeling each of them so strongly myself. As a creative person I often get really stuck in my head and overwhelmed by everything that’s going on in my life. This week has been so intense mentally and emotionally, I’ve been waiting for big news and it’s had me anxious and unable to concentrate. I’ve been writing a lot for my freelance clients but it’s taking me forever to get anything done.  The good news is I’m very happy to have accepted a job offer and I’m finally done dealing with the nightmare that is job hunting. This round has been a huge learning experience and very different than the East Coast mentality of get it done, I’ve had some trials and tribulations, but I’m SO excited about my new job, and I can’t wait to get back in the swing of things, meeting new people and not working at home 100%! Hooray!!

Switching gears, but actually kind of related because self care and taking care of yourself is ever present, today I want to talk about an awesome new book that is a must read for anyone who cares about their skin; Adina G’s Skin Cleanse. Adina is also an Integrative Nutrition grad and the brains behind SW Basics, a line of skin care crafted for those that are tired of chemically enhanced products and want to get back to well, the basics.

I’ve suffered with acne and skin issues basically all my life. In middle school my cystic acne got so bad I went on my first round of Accutane (aka teenage poison), which did treat the symptoms of my acne, but not the root.  I did a little search for this post and found out that Accutane was taken off market in 2009 (thank goodness) but you can still get generic versions. I also found that it was originally marketed as a chemotherapy drug, WOW, what?! Seriously scary stuff.  I link a lot of my anxiety issues today to this drug and I STRONGLY urge everyone, especially parents, to be wary and avoid at all costs. Since then, I’ve tried literally everything for my skin. Going to dermatologists that pushed every cream, pill and smelly cleanser on me that they possibly could. There are periods of my life that I refuse to look at pictures of myself, bad skin is scarring, literally.

It wasn’t until I learned a ton about food and diet and started to change the way I care for my skin and my body in general that I noticed results. I wish I could find the recipe again for the first DIY skincare recipe that I tried, total #GAMECHANGER! The facewash was castor oil based and involved a ton of oils that I had never heard of before and the ingredients also confused me, I mean, wasn’t oil bad for acne prone skin? That’s what doctors had been telling me for years: ‘Avoid oil and oily foods (lol) or you’ll break out’. They were on the right track but didn’t realize it wasn’t the oil on the pizza, it was the highly processed ingredients and hormones and sugar and chemicals within that and every other food I was eating on a daily basis. When I started using these ‘new to me’ oils like olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba and argan I started noticing a lot of differences in my skin and I realized that I didn’t need to kill everything on my face to get clear skin, Adina actually mentions that we need good bacteria on our face to eat the bad, which is not unlike the bacteria in our gut. My skin was also in need of hydration and less cleansing, rubbing and product overload. So basically, I can relate to everything in Adina’s book and it’s inspiring to me! I’m so glad she’s sharing some of her secrets with the World!

What I love about this book is that it goes through a lot of our misconceptions around skin care, walks us through a skin cleanse aka a product free period aimed at getting our skin back to a neutral state, and then brings in some really new thinking about how to use real ingredients to revive our used and abused skin. Everything goes back to diet. Just like with other health issues,  Grigore says, ‘if you have a recurring skin problem, it’s most definitely the result of something going on internally’ and further, “when you are eating foods that are depleted of vitamins and minerals , you aren’t getting vitamins and minerals, sounds basic, but it’s a connection a lot of us have not really made yet.’ And that’s true, it takes a long time to make this discovery for ourselves and then we get it and it’s like a serious lightbulb aha moment. I love watching family and friends have these moments, it’s so inspiring!

My favorite part of this book is definitely the recipes! Adina is sharing some amazing secrets that I’m sure took a long time to develop and I bet she had to put a lot of random foods on her face to figure out, thanks girl, you’re FIERCE! I tried this amazing Dessert Mask and loved it! I did take a pic of myself with the mask on but I hopefully you can understand based on the ingredients why I’m not posting that.

DESSERT MASK RECIPE (Via SkinCleanse):

Ingredients: 

4 Teaspoons Cocoa Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt

2 Teaspoons Olive Oil

1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon (I added this in because I love it Adina mentioned it being great for skin in another recipe)

Directions:

Mix cocoa powder and salt in a small bowl, then stir in olive oil to create a paste. Apply with fingers and leave on for as long as you’d like (I did 40 minutes). The sea salt may start to sting over time as it works its magic (mine didn’t). Rinse carefully–this mask will stain a washcloth (yes, it sure will). Makes one to two uses and can sit out on your counter for a few days.

Result: Really smooth and bright skin. I felt that I needed a little extra moisturizing after, but my skin felt really happy and cleansed.

You can buy Skin Cleanse here and my one word of warning is to definitely buy the actual book, not the kindle version, in some ways this is part cookbook and journal and you’ll want to highlight and take notes. Now I need to buy the actual book myself.

Let me know what you thought of the book in the comments below and if you have a favorite ‘natural’ product please share as well!