• You Have to Taste Golden Turmeric Milk

    Hello, and Happy Friday. Fridays are officially holidays in my book now. The weekend is when my mind can really roam free and I feel the most comfortable, just like every other human on the planet. I’m currently sipping on a cup of overwhelmingly delicious “golden milk” aka milk with turmeric and spices in it. Like, damn, it’s good.

    Since speaking out about the mental health thingies I’ve been going through over the past months, I’ve been getting a lot of recommendations from friends on things to try out from different foods to meditation techniques. I already discovered the incredible healing properties of turmeric and if you don’t know how spectacular this bright yellow spice is, allow me to share what I’ve learned.

    Turmeric is a mainstay in Indian culture and diet, and is arguably the most powerful herb on the planet that can help to fight and reverse disease. Why? It’s an incredibly powerful antioxidant and just as good as acting as an anti-inflammatory agent in the body. Any kind of disease has its roots in inflammation – from depression in the brain to arthritis in your hands to celiac in the stomach. Disease = inflammation. Its most renowned healing compound is curcumin, and is also its main active ingredient. 

    One of the issues with turmeric is that curcumin is found in small quantities, so you have to eat it a lot (like in an Indian diet) or take a supplement that features curcumin for it to be really beneficial. I personally take a turmeric supplement called CircuminRich, but there are a lot of them available out there. Multiple doctors have told me that adding turmeric to any supplement regime is one of the most important things I can do for long-term health and wellness.

    So lets get back to this golden turmeric milk. I picked up a jar of a product called, literally, “Golden Milk” by Gaia Herbs, a blend a turmeric, dates, cardamom seed, ashwagandha root, vanilla bean, and black pepper (you need black pepper for turmeric to be absorbed properly in the body). A serving (1 teaspoon) is only 15 calories. As a turmeric lover, I was obviously interested in a product like this, especially because I don’t drink anything caffeinated but do enjoy a tasty, warm beverage.

    To make golden milk you simply combine the turmeric powder with a bit of melted ghee or coconut oil in a pan, add some milk, heat til almost boiling and bam, it’s ready! It tastes a lot like a chai latte to be honest with you, and this particular company recommends adding a bit of honey to the drink as well. 

    Golden Turmeric Milk

    • Cook Time: 5m
    • Total Time: 5m
    • Serves: 1
    • Yield: 1 Cup Golden Milk
    • Category:

    Ingredients

    • 1 teaspoon ghee, melted
    • 1 teaspoon golden milk powdered turmeric supplement
    • 1 cup milk (dairy, almond, etc)

    Instructions

    1. In a saucepan, melt ghee and add turmeric supplement. Cook briefly until you can smell the turmeric.
    2. Add milk and whisk until almost boiling.
    3. Pour into a mug and enjoy with a touch of honey.

    I’m intoxicated by the healing properties of turmeric, the taste, and the color. I don’t think I’m getting a huge supplemental benefit by drinking golden milk, but because it’s so tasty, I’ll be adding it to my list of “comfort foods” to help ease aches, pains, and daily stresses.

    Have you tried golden milk? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

  • Tools You Can Use To Overcome Anxiety Right Now

    UPDATED April 13, 2017: new video at the bottom of the post!

    I’m an anxious person by nature. I recently suffered from a period of depression and anxiety that stemmed from serious vitamin deficiencies (you can read that article here), but anxiety is part of the framework of who I am. I’ve always worried about something bad happening to my loved ones when they leave the house, I can send obsessive text messages to make sure someone is okay, and facing my own day is a challenge in and of itself. I sometimes think of anxiety as different kinds of monsters that follow me around the house and down the street.

    Being paralyzed by fear, or the unknown, or a physical discomfort is so debilitating – it makes normal things, like taking a walk, or grabbing dinner with friends difficult at times. Not every day is bad, that’s for certain, but go through a period of stress, and the inflamed mind can take its own vacation into a land of discomfort, a place it knows very well.

    I’ve been learning and practicing different tools to help me overcome my moments of anxiety for a while now. The following list is certainly not extensive or complete, but simply my go-to toolbox when my mind starts to race and I’m feeling like I could use support beyond just a tight squeeze from my Mom. Some of these things are quite obvious, and some I’ve picked up in therapy.

    Stop “What IF-ing”

    My fabulous therapist told me a long time ago that I do a lot of “what if-ing”. Thinking about anything that is not the here and now is essentially that. Say the words “what if” out loud followed by some thoughts and you’re doing it. In essence, this is anxious worrying about things that have not materialized and are simply conceptual. It can apply to literally anything: finances, sleep, picking your kids up from school, relationship woes, etc. Instead of “what if-ing” all you have to do is replace the “if” with “is”. Say the words “what is” out loud now and follow them up with exactly the position you’re in. What is real, what is now, what is around you. For example, if I can’t sleep and my mind begins to wander into what my schedule looks like the next day, essentially turning on my brain power and putting sleepiness to the side, I try to get into the headspace of “what is” instead of “what if”. What is really happening right now is simple: I’m just laying in bed. The moment is now. Being present, and not worrying about the future or fantasies does something to stem the anxious thoughts that flood through a stressed-out mind.

    Create a Scheduling Pattern That Works For You

    Whether it’s by journaling, using a to-do list app like Evernote, or leaving a Post-It next to your bed, create a small to-do list for the next day. As someone who works from home and has a fairly open schedule, just tackling the day is one of the hardest things for me to do. It sounds really simple – just go be a human, but for someone with anxiety and free-time on their hands, it’s a problem. I’ve found that creating just a small list of things I’d like to accomplish the next day can be incredibly powerful in releasing your mind from thoughts about what’s to come (essentially “what if-ing”), allowing you instead to ease into a nice book, TV show, or the attention of your partner. 

    This list does not have to be stuck to. The exercise of getting your thoughts out, and providing yourself with some structure to follow, is what’s really helpful here. I’ve woken up plenty of mornings without a clear feeling on what to do with myself. It can be pretty painful to be honest. It should be easy to get up and get moving, but it isn’t for everyone.

    For me, taking my dog to the dog park for a morning romp, followed by exercise and a steam bath are how I like to start my days. Creating behavioral patterns helps me to get up and go like most people do. Knowing I have a responsibility to my pet to get out the door and face the day is a great way to avoid morning thoughts of discomfort.

    Do One Thing Every Day You Don’t Want To Do

    This exercise is new to me, but lets face it, there are of course things in our daily routines we don’t want to do. Recently the lightbulb went off in my mind, allowing me to see that the things that I don’t want to do are generally tied into some sort of social anxiety. I don’t love the idea of going to the gym, because being around a bunch of strangers I’m not brave enough to speak to can feel daunting. However, I recognize now that when I get that feeling of “no” I must, at least once a day, turn it into a feeling of “yes”. I don’t want to go out to the dinner with friends that’s been on the books for weeks? It would be easier to sit at home alone? Bingo, but I MUST do it. Getting into the habit of driving yourself through your discomfort to your destination, at least once a day, can provide relief on the other end. Being able to recognize that feeling of “no” as anxiety, instead of just sitting in it, can help lead you to make positive changes for positive change.

    Meditate

    Feeling anxious? Not feeling anxious? Cool, either way. Have you started meditating yet? I learned the practice of transcendental meditation 3 years ago, and though I don’t do it everyday, I certainly rely on it when times are tough. There are a few apps I like for guided meditation – my favorite being Headspace – that take the hard part out of focusing inward and releasing your body of stress. That’s what meditation does – the stress literally seeps out of your brain and your body, leaving you feeling much more aware, in control of your emotions, and in control of your thoughts. Meditation requires you to train your thoughts to a certain degree, so you can connect the dots with how it helps with anxiety as well.

     


    This is just a short list of things that help me. Do you have anxiety? What helps you when you’re feeling stressed out? Leaving your thoughts in the comments!

    xx

    L

    Image via CargoCollective

  • I Tried Sunscreen You Apply After Your Make-Up

    While I don’t live in the land of perpetual sun and fun anymore (LA), the gloomy skies over New York City still allow some pretty killer rays to penetrate through the atmosphere, my skin absorbing them hesitantly over the course of the day. Rain or shine, those rays will get ya! Wearing sunscreen everyday is the most critical part of my beauty routine and finding the right products to help me along the way has always been a top priority. I switch around a lot when it comes to sunscreen, trying out different SPF levels, consistencies, and brands in my never-ending quest for the PERFECT sunscreen.

    Recently my dermatologist told me that for my skin to reap the full benefits of SPF protection, I should be re-applying my sunscreen every 2-3 hours. Um, say what? The glob I put on in the morning on top of my moisturizer isn’t enough? UGG, I’ve been doing it WRONG all these years. Well, not too wrong – I’m still wearing it, and avoiding the sun like the plague whenever I go on a beach vacation. Hats and umbrellas are a yes for me, thanks.

    And this leads me to the point of all this – how, if I wear make-up, am I supposed to re-apply my sunscreen lotion without messing up my face? The answer: a sunscreen spray or powder that’s formulated for post make-up application. Like, duh, how obvious is that? Had my brain made the connection years ago I could have just gone to CVS and picked up a bottle of Neutrogena spray and been done with it. BUT – the truth of the matter is, not all products are created equal, and some of the sprays on the market leave you looking super greasy/shiny which by 4pm, is not the best look.

    So let me introduce you to my 3 faves I’ve incorporated into my routine: Supergoop!’s Defense Refresh Setting Mist, Amore Pacific’s Resort Collection Sun Protection Mist, and Peter Thomas Roth’s Instant Mineral SPF 45 powder. Companies are finally getting hip to the (not) trend that is SPF. Very exciting for me personally as an X-treme lover of sunscreen.

    Supergoop!’s Defense Refresh Setting Mist comes in as my #1 post make-up fave. It has a nice smell (rosemary), a high SPF 50, and actually creates a matte finish on your skin after applying. I don’t really find that I need to use pressed powder anymore for a little shine – this spray just takes care of it. What I really like about this product is that the sunscreen comes out in a fine mist – it doesn’t leave little white dots of products all over my face. I’ve tried sprays that do – and they will remain nameless for now. But what’s the point if you have to rub it in and smudge your foundation? My only gripe with this product is that by the end of the day, it does almost TOO good a job of providing a finish to your make-up, and my skin feels a little bit tight at times. At $30, it’s a great item to throw into your purse for intermittent SPF touch-ups.

    Next up is cult brand Amore Pacific’s Resort Collection Sun Protection Mist. It clocks in at SPF 30 (not bad, but wish it was higher) and smells really divine. This company knows how to make a luxury product – that’s for sure. It comes in a bottle that’s bigger than Supergoop!’s, but it’s says it’s for vacay and not your purse right in the product name, so okay, cool. It definitely fits in a beach bag or my suitcase (it is 6.76 fl oz though so not in a carry-on). The product comes out a pump spray nozzle, and while it’s definitely shinier than the others on this list, it’s not overwhelming. It’s not like an aerosol spray shine at all. It provides more of a healthy glow to the skin, like if you were to apply a highlighter to the top of your cheekbones. It’s suggested you spray the product into your hands and then apply to the face (prob to protect your eyeballs) but I skip that step and just spray it right on. If the goal is to keep my make-up intact, then a direct spray is important. No rubbing allowed. The only other downside to this lovely spray is the price tag – the full size bottle is $75. After a big of digging I discovered you can get the 2.7L bottle for a more reasonable $32 here.

    Finally, my third fave product for a post make-up application of SPF is Peter Thomas Roth’s Instant Mineral Powder with a nice SPF of 45. This product has truly great potential – the actual powder itself is really nice! It’s smooth and soft and does a nice job of elimination shine. It’s hard to get it absolutely everywhere though, and the actual packaging itself is really lacking. The brush hairs come out a lot (kind of annoying) and it’s really hard to actually start using the product – like figuring out how to get it out of the bottle itself. If you’re more comfortable with a powder than a spray, it’s a good option, and nicely sized so it will fit into any purse imaginable. It will set you back $30, more or less like the others here. 

    I’m loving the advancements being made in the beauty industry right now when it comes to products like this. I’m loving that skincare is getting top priority with major brands. It means really good things for the health of our skin. If you have a post make-up sunscreen that you love, I’d love to hear about it! Leave the name in the comments!

    xx

    Lo

  • 500 Calorie Meal: Thai Noodles with Turkey Meatballs and Coconut Sauce

    Chef Lo at your service on this beautiful Monday in New York City. As promised, we have another 500 Calorie Meal for you and this one is REALLY GOOD. Like, REALLY, REALLY GOOD. Super rich in flavor because of the coconut milk sauce, super filling and satisfying because of the vermicelli noodles, and also nutritionally balanced.

    I made this recipe up off the cuff and I’m super thrilled with how it turned out. I often open up my cupboard and fridge and throw together whatever it is I have lying around the house. The only other ingredient I would have added to this dish would be pickled red onion – but alas, no red onions at Casa Lo today.

    Let’s break down this recipe into 4 elements so you can prep efficiently: the turkey meatballs, the noodles, the coconut sauce, and the cucumber slices. The stars of this recipe are ground ginger and fish sauce – so make sure you have those on hand before you begin. The flavors of this really come together when pairing ingredients like coconut milk, ginger, coconut aminos (a soy sauce replacement) into something distinctly Thai in smell and flavor. It’s fresh and satisfying all at once. I enjoyed my bowl of noodles in my backyard in the sun (it’s finally spring in NYC).

    This week I’m giving you the recipe and calories for 4 servings, and then will break down the 500 calorie meal into a single serving after that. Let’s get to it!

    Thai Noodles with Turkey Meatballs and Coconut Sauce

    • Prep Time: 20m
    • Cook Time: 25m
    • Total Time: 45m

    Ingredients

    • 1 pound ground turkey (600 calories, 150 calories per 4 ounce serving)
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (130 calories)
    • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (10 calories)
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground or fresh ginger (2 calories)
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder (8 calories)
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (10 calories)
    • 1 tablespoon whole greek yogurt (15 calories)
    • 1 raw egg (71 calories)
    • 1 teaspoon salt (0 calories)
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper (6 calories)
    • 1 can organic coconut milk (600 calories)
    • 1 tablespoon raw honey (64 calories)
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger (6 calories)
    • tablespoon fish sauce (20 calories)
    • 1 teaspoon coconut aminos (or soy sauce) (10 calories)
    • 1/2 lemon, juiced (5 calories)
    • 1 organic cucumber, sliced (14 calories)
    • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (6 calories)
    • 4 bunches vermicelli noodles (680 calories, 170 calories per bunch)

    Total Calorie Count: 2,257 (1 SERVING = 494 CALORIES)

      Instructions

      1. 1. In a mixing bowl combine ground turkey with sesame oil, fish sauce, ginger, onion and garlic powder, yogurt, 1 egg, salt and pepper. Mix with hands to combine (it will be pretty sticky).
      2. 2. In a large pan melt 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil and cook meatballs until brown on all sides and white in the middle (because it's turkey you must cook them through completely).
      3. 3. In a separate bowl, combine sliced cucumbers (I like to use a mandolin for this) with rice wine vinegar and a pinch of salt.
      4. 4. In a sauce pan combine 1 can of coconut milk with honey, ginger, fish sauce, coconut aminos, the juice of half a lemon and stir with a whisk. Allow to boil for a minimum of 10 minutes to thicken a bit.
      5. 5. In a separate pan, boil water. Once boiled, add the vermicelli noodles and remove from heat. Once submerged for 2 minutes, transfer to a colander and run under cold water.
      6. 6. Time to put it all together! In a small bowl, add each serving of vermicelli noodles. Add many slices of cucumber, 4 to 5 meatballs, and a small ladle-full of coconut sauce (to keep the dish around 500 calories only use about this much coconut sauce - each dish doesn't need 1/4 cup of sauce).

       

    • An Infrared Sauna Kicked My Panic Attack in the Ass

      Cut to Wednesday of this week. I was stresssssseeeedddd out and could feel that feeling of discomfort in my throat when I know that my brain is doing an uncomfortable dance of thoughts, round and round. I have a lot of shit going on right now, and I’m not totally in my Zen place. I went to yoga and that helped at least during the Vinyasa flow, but when class ended I felt agitated again.

      I had made a date with my friend Blair to try HigherDOSE, this new Infrared Sauna place that all the health nuts (me) have been raving about. A traditional sauna is one of those wooden rooms that’s heated – great for heart health – you basically sit quietly and sweat out your sins. I personally prefer a steam bath to a sauna, but I prefer baths in general so perhaps that’s why. You can find me in the steam room at any number of Equinox gyms most days of the week.

      So heat therapy of any nature is right up my alley – plus, I just read this article in Elle that says you can burn 600 calories if you take a super hot, hour long bath (shout out to beauty editor Julie Schott). How crazy is that? So, I guess I’ve been doing things right all along without even knowing it. I’m def going to eat a donut today.

      Anyway, lets get back to HigherDOSE (yes, that’s how the company has identified themselves – one word, DOSE in all caps). The one I went to was off of Bowery, and it’s not exactly easy to find. It’s in the basement level of this restaurant/health shop called The Alchemist’s Kitchen, and if the front door to the restaurant is open, you’ll definitely enter the wrong building and be directed by the nice door lady that you are in fact in the wrong place. SO! Enter The Alchemist’s Kitchen. Enjoy the people watching – lots of models in there, guys. LOTS. Lots of tinctures and potions with turmeric in them and quinoa salads. I absolutely loved this place. It does not feel like New York City upon entering.

      So you finally reach HigherDOSE downstairs. You check in like you would at a fitness studio and there are two small Infrared Saunas for use – reservations a MUST. You can either heat up for a 30 or 60 minute session, and the nice girls walk you through the process. They suggest you get naked, but there are towels for modesty (and sweat), along with a robe to cool off in after your session. There’s a funny shower situation next to the bathroom so you can rinse off after your sauna (funny in that you’re showering behind a plastic curtain in the middle of a restaurant – but hey, New York). Everyone is totally polite and totally into it, so I get into it too.

      She explains what Infrared is all about, saying that it’s a way to “workout without working out” and that it will totally “de-stress” you. I went with the goal of getting rid of my mounting anxiety, so I hope she is not telling me lies. They heat up the sauna with “infrared heat” instead of traditional heat and I still can’t quite figure out what that means.  Without any scientific proof (that I can find but feel free to prove me wrong in the comments), the claims HigherDOSE make on their site regarding Infrared Sauna also note that a 45 minute session is akin to a 7 day juice cleanse detox, burning as many calories as you would by running 3-4 miles, decreases cortisol and chills you out, and is great for anti-aging because infrared heat stimulates the skin and creates collagen. I’m game for all of this, so into the sauna I go.

      Once you’re in there you can choose which “LED light”color to sweat to. My friend and I choose blue, because it’s noted that blue is a mentally relaxing color. A lot of babes that go to HigherDOSE go between red light for anti-aging benefits and blue light for chill time. We plop down in the tiny sauna with our towels on, the heat set to a 157 F. It gets hot pretty quickly. I get so hot I have to leave to re-fill my water glass a few times (kindly provided by the service). We basically talk about our problems and love lives and start SWEATING. Mind you, I’ve already done hot yoga and maybe snuck into the steam room at Equinox so I’m pretty concerned about my water intake. I make sure to drink about 9 glasses of water.

      All of a sudden, there are 2 minutes left in our 30 minute session and I decide to pop out of the 157 F box a little early. We put on robes, grab our clothes and trudge over to the bathroom area/shower. After a quick rinse we’re ready to go, having had the full HigherDOSE experience in 45 minutes flat. And can I tell you something? My anxiety has been reduced.  The feeling in my throat slowly melted back in to my body. I feel calm, and exhausted.

      Perhaps it was the conversation with my friend, perhaps it was the intense sweating, perhaps it was the soft blue light – but something about the session allowed me to get out of my brain long enough to calm down my nerves and make me feel a little bit better. At least temporarily. 

      The HigherDOSE chicks recommend coming between 1-5 times a week if you’re going through the shit, as more sessions will become more helpful over time. I’m already a believer in saunas and steam baths being excellent for health, so I’m totally into what there doing there, LED lights and all. I will be back, and soon.

      You can check out HigherDOSE online and visit one of their 3 locations across NYC.

    • The Items You Need To Kick-Start a Diet

      Like most people, I aim to eat healthy, cook nutritious food, and make good food choices in general. There is a total food revolution happening, a lot of new research emerging about what’s good and bad for you, and so many good food options available at most grocery stores these days that it’s not as difficult to get on the right path.

      Since I went to culinary school and really learned how to cook, I’ve also been able to assess the types of food I’ve been eating and figure out how to make healthy dishes that still taste remarkably delicious and satisfying. It’s pretty easy to reduce salt and fat when you learn to replace those things with fresh herbs, lots of spices, and thoughtful cooking techniques. Don’t get me wrong – I still love a good piece of fried chicken cooked up in old fashioned Crisco, but imagine enjoying a piece of chicken that’s air-fried in bison tallow instead? Yes, bison tallow is a real thing – I get it from Thrive Market! And air-fryers are dope, man.

      With that being said, I’d like to share with you the discoveries I’ve made in the kitchen regarding specific foods and tools that have made eating healthy that make easier and more delicious. Onward ho!


      GHEE

      Oh, the joys of ghee. Really just clarified butter, ghee is what’s left after you remove the milk solids from liquified butter. I know you’re probably giving me the side eye right now because BUTTER, but hear me out. Ghee is a great source of Vitamins A, E, and K – very important when it comes to getting your nutrients in (I should know). It’s also heart-healthy, believe it or not, because it can lower your cholesterol.  Finally, ghee is full of antioxidants, and those antioxidants reduce inflammation in the body, making you healthier inside and out. Final benefit – it’s VERY tasty. Final, final benefit – it’s really easy to cook with. It comes soft in a glass or plastic jar and melts really easily into your pan. You can also make it yourself. Melt a stick of butter on very low heat and scoop off all the milk fat that comes to the top. Reserve the clarified butter in a glass, air-proof container and bam – homemade ghee.

       

      MANDOLIN

      A mandolin is one of my favorite kitchen tools. It makes taking down veggies an absolute fucking BREEZE so that you can do a big food prep when you get your groceries home, allowing yourself to simply go into the fridge for pre-sliced cucumbers or what have you whenever you want. I find that the prep is a huge obstacle for most people when it comes to eating healthy. If it’s already ready, you’ll eat it. If it’s not, it’s a mind over matter type of situation. Hello, pizza delivery.  Good for all kinds of veggies, it easily allows you to cut them down with the simple swipe of the wrist in about 15 second flat.

       

      THESE PLASTIC CONTAINERS

      I got turned on to this specific type of plastic container in culinary school and have been hooked every since. I love them. You can write on them, they’re easy to wash, and loads cheaper than Ziploc and other brands. Plus, because they’re tall you can really pack food into them without taking up too much space in your fridge.

       

      VITAMIX

      I’ve spoken about my absolute LOVE for the Vitamix, and while it’s definitely an investment piece, it’s the best utility tool I have in my kitchen. It’s not just for smoothies, no, no, no. You can put a piece of beef in there and end up with tar tar! Throw in beans and hummus comes out. Put in warm pieces of butternut squash and chicken stock and you’ll get butternut squash soup. Seriously, it’s amazing. I find that I use it for so, so, so many things beyond just a morning smoothie. Getting creative with food is the best way to keep things interesting when you’re trying to eat healthy. For me, that means taking food in it’s original form and literally turning it into something else. I’d marry my Vitamix if I could.

       

      AN OPEN MIND

      Probably the most important thing I bring with me into the kitchen is an open mind. Being willing to experiment, get my hands dirty, mess something up and start over again – all really important when creating healthy and balanced dishes. Never tried an ingredient before? Do it! Never shopped at an online health food store? Why not? I love Thrive Market – take a look around. Even more mainstream groceries stores are stocking their aisles with healthy options that before were really only available at your neighborhood co-op market. Trust that the choices you make will turn out delicious. 

      Good luck!

      X,

      chef lo

      Images via Earthbound Farm, Daily Health Post, Serious Eats, Williams Sonoma

       

       

       

    • I Tried An Online Dermatologist and Here’s What Happened

      So, I got suckered into trying out Curology through video ads on Facebook. Have you seen them? Girls in their young 20s rave about this new thing for acne: just answer a series of questions about your skin online, send them pics of your zits, have a quick chat with a dermatologist (or an nurse practitioner – that’s who I got), and then a few weeks later they send you a little bottle of potion mixed up just for you.

      Seems too good to be true, right? Well, in some ways it is. The website is not totally user friendly, it’s hard to find your shipping and payment information, and a lot of the user’s posts on the homepage aren’t positive about the product. It also took ages (I did mention weeks, right?) to actually get the bottle in my hands and an email or two to figure out what was happening.

      As a business owner I understand the hiccups in user experience and customer service that can happen along the way, especially in a start-up situation – so they’re forgiven for the small things I wish I could change about the service. My nurse practitioner Emily seems to be a real nice lady who is well-informed about skincare and I dig the overall concept of creating custom solutions for each individual.

      The goals I discussed with Emily were to reduce overall pore clogging (black-heads, ew), reduce redness, and soften fine lines. I don’t get a lot of monster zits anymore now that I’m 30 (gasp), but in general I felt like my face could use some fine-tuning. I appreciate the face that Curology is open to addressing more than just acne – it was definitely the selling point for me that they’d also dive into my other concerns. 

      The formula Emily put together for me is as follows: Tretinoin (.009%), Clindamycin (1%), and Azelaic Acid (9%). Each element addresses my concerns and combines redness reducing acid with anti-bacterial elements and ingredients that help to shed skin cells (to help with disgusting black-heads and things of that nature).

      And what’s my verdict after using the product (at night only, per their recommendation) for a month? Honestly, I love it. I wasn’t expecting to, but I do. I didn’t get a single outbreak during my most recent period. The skin around my nose and chin is getting less red, and I think I look younger and more fresh. It’s also cheap AF ($19.95/month with a subscription service) compared to going to the real-life dermatologist and then the pharmacy.

       Turns out its sometimes okay to go down the Facebook advertising rabbit hole. You may just find clear, younger looking skin on the other side.

    • 2016: The Year Of My Great Depression

      the worst year ever.

      2016 wasn’t only just the worst year ever, it was also the year I turned 30, founded my own feminine wellness company, and brought an amazing puppy home. So not all bad. Light does find a way of shining through the darkness. And what is the darkness I’m referring to? Crippling anxiety and depression at the hands of a severe vitamin deficiency that went undiscovered for 16 months.

      Read More

    • How To Prep 5 Days Worth of Food in 2 Hours

      Impossible, you say? Certainly not! Get out a sharp knife, a cheap mandolin, and your food processor and you’ll be geared up to take down all your veggies and proteins and prep for the week ahead. Everyone wants a fridge with everything washed, cut, and cooked – so just make it happen, party people.

      Read More

    • How to Make Carrot “Fettuccine”

      Happy Monday, Beautiful!

      As much as I love the oh-so-popular vegetable “pasta” trend, it does come across a little “bit there, done that”—a.k.a. dated. Instead of using zucchinis, everyone’s go-to choice, I decided to experiment, this past weekend, with rainbow carrots.

      Forget the spiralizer, I went old school with a peeler.

      Read More

    • Check Out My Private List of Favorite Baby Names

      No, I don’t have a case of the BABIES over here, but that doesn’t stop me from constantly updating my list of favorite names ever that came into creation some 20ish years ago. I know it’s kinda CRAY to share your list because there’s a chance that an actual pregnant friend or family member may STEAL one of your precious names, but c’est la vie, right? Kourtney Kardashian absolutely slayed me when PENELOPE popped out, but I got through the pain of being high-jacked and I’m here to tell you, it’s not so bad after a few years. I’ve also only met her twice so I can’t really place too much blame on her, right?

      Read More

    • 4 Steam Room Etiquette Tips You Must Know

      Like many of you, I really love a good steam room. I find steaming to be an almost meditative practice, one that allows me to slow down the rapid-fire train of thoughts whirring through the Penn Station situated in my head. It also grabs the toxins sitting underneath my skin out, and allows any excess water weight and bloating to pour out of my skin. A good sweat is life-changing, a way to break through a nasty hangover or simply change your outlook on your day. If you’re not steaming, add it to your beauty routine STAT. You will look and feel better because of it.

      Read More

    • Who Doesn’t Love a Good Sock Heel? Especially These Ones!

      The weather in New York has been incredibly unpredictable this past week. One day it feels like spring, and the next day I’m quickly reminded we’re only halfway through winter. At least the sun is now setting a little on the later side. It’s been quite nice taking Blue out on his evening walks when there’s still light out!

      Like I mentioned in my last post, I’m a comfort-first kind of girl. On days when I’m not too sure how the weather’s going to hold up, I always opt for an ensemble that’s smart-chic—one that will keep me warm if the temperature suddenly drops, or one that can also be modified the other way if the weather miraculously warms up.

      When conquering the unpredictable, I layer.

      Given how nice and toasty I already was in my Wolford turtle-neck bodysuit and trusty Levi’s jeans, I probably could have done without my Theory tweed wrap coat. But, with the weather in mind and errands to run, I couldn’t leave my apartment without a soft, comfortable jacket, that pulled everything together and elevated my otherwise casual look.

      These Christian Louboutin sock heels, are, in my very humble opinion, to die for—mainly because they’re super comfortable to walk in. Yup, you read that right the first time! Louboutin heels are beautiful, yes, but comfortable? Not always. I couldn’t resist picking up this pair when I realized I could actually move around in them!

      Oh, and style trick! If you’re more on the petite end of the human height spectrum, cuff your jeans! The little extra touch makes a big difference. Your jeans will look like they were made for you.

      A minimal base or outfit is really the way to go.

      You can always dress your look up with accessories. I just grabbed a pair of Krewe sunglasses before heading out the door.

      Ear climbers are also a great way to add finishing touches. Mine are from Graziela Gems.

      So, yes, if you’re having a little trouble navigating the unpredictable—weather, obligations, and life—I hope this look will help you take fashion challenges off the plate.

      Let me know what you think of if you have any specific looks you’d like to see! x

       

    • Slow Cooked Eggs in Ghee A 5 Star Breakfast

      When I first whipped this together a week or so ago and took my first bite, I was immediately taken away from my kitchen and into a 5-star restaurant somewhere far, far, away. This dish tastes FANCY, subtle, and extremely, extremely nutty and delicious. Like, I want to have this for breakfast everyday for the rest of my life. Eggs are a gift from the gods, and when they’re cooked low and slow they are truly heavenly.

      What’s in it? Eggs cooked low and slow in copious amounts of ghee, butternut squash, and arugula. Simple ingredients, delicious low-profile taste, and truly satisfying. Being able to indulge in the intoxicating taste of butter without the guilt (ghee is clarified butter that’s free of the dairy) is revolutionary. It’s been used for centuries in India, South Asia, Iranian, and Arabic cuisine but it’s really having its moment here in the west right now. It’s actually GOOD for your health. That’s right, fats can be good for you. Among other things, digesting ghee stimulated the secretion of gastric acid which aids in the digestive process. Better digesting equals better weight management and health. It’s also rich in medium chain fatty acids like coconut oil, so it’s a great energy source.

      This recipe is easy to cook en masse too – for a brunch, lets say. Just get a few pans going at once and you’ll be able to serve 4-6 people the meal of their lives in a flash. Best part – this meal is gluten free, dairy free, grain free, and guilt free. Rejoice!

      Slow Cooked Ghee Eggs

      • Prep Time: 5m
      • Cook Time: 5m
      • Total Time: 10m
      • Serves: 1
      • Yield: 3 eggs
      • Category: ,

      Ingredients

      • 1 tablespoon ghee
      • 3 eggs
      • 1 pinch fresh black pepper
      • 1 pinch salt
      • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
      • 1/2 cup butternut squash, cubed
      • 1 tablespoon olive oil
      • 1/2 cup fresh arugula

      Instructions

      1. In a small saucepan, melt ghee over medium-low heat. When melted, crack 3 eggs into the pan and turn the heat to low. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the eggs.
      2. Meanwhile, combine butternut squash with olive oil and a bit of black pepper in a small glass bowl and microwave for 5 minutes (you could roast but it would take a while). If you have any leftover roasted root veggies from a previous meal those would be perfect as well. Cook butternut squash until soft.
      3. Cook the eggs low and slow for a minimum of 5 minutes. Pick up the pan and swirl the ghee around to cover the tops of the eggs. Place a small lid on the pan towards the end to firm up the whites. The egg whites should be cooked through but soft, and the yolk should be runny when broken with a fork.
      4. When the eggs are done, use a spatula to gently loosen from the pan. Slide the eggs and ghee out onto a warmed plate. Sprinkle with paprika.
      5. Add butternut squash and arugula to plate and enjoy!
    • TheLoDown