• How To Cure Your Hangover (Tricks You Haven’t Heard Before)

    Everyone knows they should drink their body weight in water when they get home from a sloppy night out, drink some coffee the next morning, and gorge on greasy pizza. But what about the tricks of the trade that are lesser-known aids for helping quell a hangover that is so impending that the Homeland Security Advisory System switches the danger zone from orange to red (sorry, guys – the times are a’troubling me)?

    Here are my personal tricks that truly, honestly help me move through a hungover place to a less hungover place when I wake up at the crack of dawn after a night out, stumbling around my room looking for something to save me from myself…

    TAKE A REALLY HOT BATH IN THE MORNING

    I find that one of the best ways I can feel about 50% better when I’m hungover is by taking a hot, hot, hot bath. Why? Because I believe that when you soak yourself the morning after you allow your body to sweat out some of the remaining toxins lingering in your bloodstream, freeing your body from the death-grip of a hangover. Just make sure to bring an ice cold pitcher of water with you to replace all the water you’ve lost in your body.

    GULP DOWN POTASSIUM SUPPLEMENTS BEFORE YOU GO TO BED + UPON WAKING

    Drinking a lot causes you to pee more, and when you’re peeing more, you’re losing salts and potassium quickly this way. Potassium effects proper nerve and muscle function, making you feel like shit if you’re low on it. So if you think bananas are kind of gross like I do, definitely invest in some high quality potassium supplements or get your doc to write you a RX for them. I like to take one before I go to sleep so that my body works to keep my potassium levels at a neutral level as it dehydrates during my sleep, and taking another one when I wake up so that I’m fully re-charged.

    LOAD UP ON MAGNESIUM

    This particular mineral helps those who suffer from anxiety and insomnia sleep better and smooth out frayed nerves. When you get drunk, you essentially throw your body into a mini-depression afterwards as it depletes your happy hormones from your brain. Taking magnesium before you go to bed and also when you wake up in the morning can help to keep those general feelings of discomfort out of your body. I’d recommend 400mg when you hit the hay, and another 400mg when you wake up with some food.

    EAT A CARB

    You know you crave carbs when you’re hungover, but do you know why? Your liver is busy metabolizing alcohol when you’re passed out, causing your blood sugar to drop pretty low. Getting those levels up again is essential to feel less tired and irritable – so choose your carb of your choice the morning after. Mine is toasted sesame bagel finished with ricotta cheese, apple slices, and a drizzle of honey from Blackseed Bagels in Nolita.


    Tell me in the comments – what are your secret hangover cures that help you get over the Sunday Scaries?

     

  • Why I Fast on Mondays (Plus, The Scientific Evidence That Proves Why It’s Good For You)

    Monday: oh, the duality of it.

    I love Monday and I also hate it with a deep passion. I hate that it will take a full 5 days for the weekend/nachos to arrive. I hate that I have to answer my emails. I hate that my alarm goes off and wakes me from my Sunday slumber. Yet, once I’m conscious I remember that I love waking up early on a summer Monday, hitting the streets before 8am when the city is still sleepy and heading out for a slow sweat at SLT. I love hitting the re-set button and having another chance to do and be. I also love fasting on Mondays, my chosen day of the week to detox until dinnertime (if you’re forced to begin your week, you may as well dive in head first).

    My Monday fast falls under the category of an “intermittent fast”: an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. Long-term fasting (like for a few days) is not my jam, and it shouldn’t be yours either. It slows down your metabolism and if you’re trying to lose weight and make it stick, no doctor would recommend you go down this path.

    If you’re careful though, and fast thoughtfully, there are many proven health benefits that come with just consuming liquids for the first chunk of your day (think Lemon water, coffee, green tea, bone broth). Don’t trust me – trust the studies that have been done that show why intermittent fasting is a great idea for your health:

    Cells Repair, Insulin Drops, and HGH Increases

    When you don’t eat for a while, the body goes into repair mode, making body fat more accessible as your hormone levels change. This study shows that when you do alternate day fasting for a month, your insulin levels decrease making fat burning in the body much more accessible. Human growth hormone increases when you fast, leading to additional fat burning and muscle growth (more info here). And here this study shows that intermittent fasting results in profound cellular repair throughout the body.

    You Lose Weight and Raise Your Metabolism

    Unlike a long-term, very restrictive fast, intermittent fasting actually raises your metabolism and can help you to lose weight. Why? Because lower insulin levels, higher rates of HGH, and an increase in norepenephrine all increase the breakdown of body fat for energy usage in the body. This study right here shows that intermittent fasting can even increase your metabolic rate from 3-14%! Plus, you’re eating fewer calories when you fast in this way (obviously) which leads to weight loss (obviously). Over a period of 3-24 weeks in this study, intermittent fasting caused weight loss of 3-8% in the participants. 

    What’s Good For the Body Is Good For the Brain

    Yay, I love BRAINS. I love anything that’s good for them! And intermittent fasting makes the list! Cool, right? When you skip a few meals your metabolic features improve, leading to a reduction in insulin resistance, lower blood sugar levels, reduced inflammation, and reduced oxidative stress. Fasting causes nueronal autophagy, which Mark Sisson teaches us is: “the process by which cells recycle waste material, downregulate wasteful processes, and repair themselves.” 

    Clear body, clear mind, y’all.

    In addition, a whole host of other studies show that intermittent fasting also reduces inflammation throughout the body which can prevent chronic disease from settling in, that it may be beneficial for heart health, and that it can even help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.


    So, what are you waiting for? The facts are conclusive: intermittent fasting is good for your health, both long and short-term. I may be a little hungry, but dinner will come soon enough.

  • Egg Flowers: The Healthiest 15 Minute Make-Ahead Breakfast Ever

    In the morning making breakfast is absolutely the last thing I want to do. I don’t eat it often out of pure laziness. I know, right? Succumb to apathy, slow down your metabolism, and eat something nuts for lunch to make up for the lack of protein in the A.M.  Shame on me. Shame on you.

    Let’s solve that dilemma, yes? Enter the make-ahead breakfast of true champions everywhere: egg muffins without the carb factor. Yes, just straight up baked eggs with a veggie or two thrown in along with good fats to start your day right. No reason to get bogged down with a gluten out the gate. Trust me – eating clean in the morning will have a remarkably kind effect on your cravings the rest of the day.

    I’m going to call these “Egg Flowers” because of the nice way the zucchini cups the egg like the petals on a flower. Don’t worry about your design skills however as these Egg Flowers are so easy to bake even a child with a supervising adult could make them, lols. You’ll just need a mandolin to slice the zucchini into thin pieces to create the flower that will hold each egg inside of it. Add tons of fresh herbs and you’ll have a flavor festival in your mouth you won’t soon forget. If you make a batch of 12 or 24 you’ll have enough Egg Flowers to keep your appetite in check for at least 5 days (I’d toss any leftovers after that period for food safety).

    Egg Flowers

    • Prep Time: 5m
    • Cook Time: 10m
    • Total Time: 5m
    • Serves: 2
    • Yield: 12 Egg Flowers
    • Category:

    Ingredients

    • 12 eggs
    • 1 zucchini, with 5 thin slices cut off per Egg Flower
    • 12 cherry tomatoes
    • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon ghee, for coating the muffin tin
    • salt
    • pepper

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 450 and prepare muffin tin with ghee so each Egg Flower doesn't stick to the pan. I highly recommend avoiding cupcake wrappers as the eggs will get stuck to them, making for a less pleasurable eating experience.
    2. Thinly slice your zucchini so each Egg Flower has 5 thin slices/petals. Arrange the zucchini in your muffin tin. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary to each flower.l
    3. Add a cherry tomato to each then crack a single egg into each one as well. Season again with salt and pepper and top with the remaining chopped rosemary.
    4. Drizzle each flower with olive oil, then bake at 450 for about 10 minutes or until the egg whites are firm.
    5. Let cook briefly, then remove each Egg Flower gently with a spoon. Enjoy immediately or let cool completely before putting in the fridge.

    Before The Oven…

    After The Oven…

    See the Petals?


    What Kind of Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipe do you want to see next on TheLoDown? Let me know in the comments!

  • The 5 Wellness Apps I Actually Use

    There’s a ton of absolute ca-ca out there in the app world for wellness, dieting, and fitness. You know what I’m talking about – junk bond apps with countless ads, video content that doesn’t stream properly, weird lists of routines that don’t actually provide you information, and jarring meditation apps that could actually spiral you into an anxiety attack. THE INTERNET IS FUN, AMIRITE?!

    However, once you wade through what first pops up when you type in “gluten-free” to your search bar and get to the apps with true street cred, it is possible to find digital bliss online. I find that the apps I enjoy the most have one purpose and perform that purpose very well, rather than trying to do 12 things at once. Know your strengths, know your weaknesses. So, on this Manic Monday, allow me to share with you the 5 wellness apps I actually use in an effort to pay it forward technologically – for meditation, sleep, fitness, and diet.

    FOR MEDITATION:


    HEADSPACE

    This is an app that teaches you how to meditate and be mindful, and the voice of the man who guides the meditation here is truly soothing. During the bite-sized sessions, the app easily switches from speaking to silence without snapping you out of a deep moment of transcendence. You can pick meditations on a range of themes: from anxiety to sports.

     

    FOR SLEEP:

    RELAX MELODIES

    So I emergency downloaded this app in the middle of the night during a recent weekend vacation in the Hamptons as the hotel I was staying in did not have exactly sound-proofed walls and when the party in the next room over was still going on at 3am Monday morning I started to lose my shit. I didn’t bring my back-up Ambien and was truly kicking myself when I remembered I DID have earbuds and a cellphone that could help make the moment a bit less painful.

    I downloaded Relax Melodies and totally jazzed out to a combo of white noise and rain for the remaining 4 hours of sleep I did get. The sounds on this app are plentiful and they seem to go on forever. The tracks on some noise apps start over after a while which can bring you out of sleep but they don’t on Relax Melodies which is a nice benefit.

    FOR FITNESS:

    MIND BODY

    If you live in any urban center you gotta download Mind Body! I book 90% of my workouts through this app and the discovery feature is a really neat way to find new studios in your area, especially ones promoting good deals. Chances are high your favorite studio is on there and you can eliminate any clunky booking system they still rely on from your routine. I like to book a week in advance with the apps because it’s just so easy and it automatically adds your classes to your calendar and sends you little reminders too. 

     

    SWEAT WITH KAYLA

    If you haven’t heard of Kayla Itsines by now, where the eff have you been the past 2 years? This trainer from Australia has amassed a remarkable Instagram following of 7 million fitness fanatics who love her BBG programs. I myself have dabbled in the app often and like to think I’ve slimmed down because of it. 

    A back injury side-lined me for some of 2016/2017 but I’m slowly getting back into the program and it really does work to change bodies fast. Coupled with the meal plan and shopping list her team also provides it’s hands-down the best overall fitness app I’d recommend to anyone looking to transform the way they feel and look.

     

    FOR DIET:

    FAT SECRET

    My endocrinologist turned me on to Fat Secret, y’all. It’s a pretty basic calorie counter but I love it for it’s ability to tally net carbs you consume every day. For anyone with a slow metabolism it’s a great way to track just how many you’re putting into your body. You’d be shocked at the count in some foods – type in apple and be blown away.

     


    Tell me, pals – what are you favorite wellness apps that actually work? I’m always looking to app new ones to my rotation! Let me know in the comments below!

    Image via WIRED

  • My 3 Minute Morning Skincare Routine!

    Get glowing with me, get ready with me! My skincare routine only takes about 3 minutes in the morning, as long as I move my hands quickly and my products are readily available! I’m super focused on evening my skintone, keeping fine lines at bay, and eliminating acne at the moment – basically the same #skingoals every woman on planet earth has. I’ve found some AMAZING products lately that I think you’ll love just as much as I do. Links are below the vid! 

     


     

  • How To Take The Most Brain Soothing Bath Ever

    You’re going to start reading this thinking it’s a beauty and wellness post but really, it’s all about #MindMatters when it comes to taking a bath. At least for me – and here’s why:

    A bath is soothing, healing, and calming. It centers your body and mind. It releases toxins from your body that slow everything down and make your brain feel cloudy. It relaxes your muscles and allows your body to enter a state of rejuvenation. The body and mind are directly related – calm body, calm mind, calm body, calm mind.

    #TubTime also happens to be my FAVORITE time of the day. I love taking a bath so much I often start my day with one and end it with another. I know that two baths in a single day can seem extreme to some, but there is a good reason why I like to rise and shine with a deep soak in addition to doing it again before jumping in the sheets. More than anything else, taking a bath is a time that I move far away from my cell phone and the world around me – the emails, the Instagram posts, the city noise coming from outside my living room window – to be at one with myself and my thoughts. It’s meditative these days to simply BE, to have 20 minutes of quiet without external stimuli driving our brains absolutely nutters. I actually take it a step further and practice Transcendental Meditation in the morning bath to help get my day started, and it’s game-changing for me when combined with a warm soak, holistic salts, fragrant bubbles, and chilled lemon water.

    So here’s how I make my bath the best one ever – feel free to follow suit and let me know how you feel afterwards (I bet $250 that you’ll soon become as obsessed as I am).

    Make It Hot

    You want the water as hot as you can possibly stand it. Why? Because you want to sweat. When you sweat it releases toxins from the body that are slowing you down, making you feel like shit, and keeping you bloated. You actually burn a few hundred calories when you take an hour long bath, so make that temperature rise, honey!

    Add Magnesium Salts, Baking Soda, and Lavender Epsom Salts

    Magnesium is like nature’s candy for calming frayed nerves and helping an anxious individual reach sleep more easily. It helps to regulate the nervous system and when magnesium salts are placed into a bath, your pores open, allowing the mineral to seep directly into your blood system for a quick, calming effect on the entire body. Baking soda is a great add because it neutralizes acids, resulting in smoother skin and cleaner hair. Finally, Epsom salts soothe tired and achey muscles so any aches and pains you’re experiencing may be bathed away.

    Add Rose Bubble Bath to Calm Your Mind

    I love adding a scent based on aromatherapy that helps to calm and quiet the mind. If you don’t have a rose bubble bath, you can simply add a few drops of rose oil to the tub to help.

     Leave Your Phone on Silent in Another Room

    Forgetting your phone is my #1 rule to taking a bath that will ACTUALLY change the way you feel. Your brain MUST release itself from the grip of the phone and all the stimuli that come with it. Seriously, it needs a break to just process how you’re feeling, thinking clearly, and be creative. 

    Bring Plenty of Water With You

    If you’re taking a long, hot bath you will get thirsty. The most annoying thing that may happen is that you get so thirsty you feel like you need to grab a glass of water just so you survive in there. I like to bring in a pitcher of fresh lemon water with me so that even though I’m sweating out all the toxins, I’m constantly replenishing my body with alkaline water so I stay hydrated and feeling great. 

    Dim The Lights

    If we’re trying to relax here, we might as well set the mood. Turn the lights out or turn them down low. Enjoy yourself.

    Light a Candle (or 2)

    Along the lines of setting the mood, I like to light a candle or two and place them in the bathroom with me for some extra scent-sational moodiness.

    Embrace the Silence

    Finally, take a deep breath in and out. Do that 10 times. Do that 10 more times and then again. You’ve reached silence. Your bath has begun and you can work to soothe out all the kinks going on upstairs in your mind. 


    TELL ME – what are you favorite tips for taking a bath that soothes the mind? Let me know in the comment below! πŸ™‚

  • The Best Natural Beauty Products You Need Right Now

    I’ve made a strong effort to move towards natural and all-natural beauty and wellness products in my home – just in the same way as I’ve moved towards sourcing food for myself that is local, organic, and as whole as possible. It makes a lot of sense that we want the things we put ON our bodies to be as close to pure as the good foods that we’re eating in 2017, so whenever someone tells me about some new miracle product I always want to know if it’s natural.

    In terms of marketing hype, there are differences between “natural” and “all-natural” or “100%” natural products. Just to be clear, natural products still have some chemical or synthesized ingredients, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily bad. You just need to read the labels and do a bit of research if a term like Dibutyl phthalate pops up (FYI – it’s on the DIRTY DOZEN Beauty List of chemicals to avoid).

    On the other hand, if a product is marketed as all-natural or 100% natural, by law it should be. There are still some companies that fly under the regulatory radar and promote their items as such when they are not, so again, read the label. A lot of natural ingredients do have weird-ass names so just do your research.

    Now – lets dive into my current list of the natural and all-natural products you need RIGHT NOW PEOPLE. The 100% natural products are in BOLD. Watch my video below to discover their amazing uses and gentle formulas!

    1. Noble Formula 2% Zinc Argan Oil Bar Soap
    2. Love Wellness pH Balancing Cleanser (a gentle external cleanser for your vag)
    3. LilyAna Natural Retinol Cream
    4. BioSchwartz Organic Coconut Oil Supplements
    5. Captain Blankenship Mermaid Hair Oil

  • Adventures in Botox in New York City

    So you want to shoot some Clostridium botulinum into your face? Great, me too. Join me today as I take you on an Adventure in Botox in New York City, arguably the best place in the world to have a stranger stick a thin needle in your forehead with fabulous results.

    Like most women and some men in this city I tend to FAN GIRL out over fancy doctors with recognizable names and their own lines of products at Sephora (shout out to Dr. Gross and your Alpha-Beta Peel). There are many that fit the bill, most with practices in glowing offices lining Park Avenue, Lex, and 5th. But any good New Yorker knows that when you really, REALLY want the best – from botox to technology far beyond – you make an appointment at the practice of one Dr. Patricia Wexler – dermatological surgeon to the stars, royalty, and the very, very wealthy.

    Since it’s my FACE we’re talking here and because I undergo wellness treatments not just for your reading pleasure on TheLoDown, I made the decision that for a piece on botox, Wexler Dermatology was really my only option. So, I made an appointment and sat on my hands until the day finally arrived last week for my special moment in the sun with the botox needle. Having not been the first time to get injected with this miracle toxin (this round would be my second go), I had an idea of what to expect ahead of time, but my nerves were not entirely quelled by experience.

    First and foremost I was running late to my appointment. The traffic on 3rd Avenue was ridiculous and my Uber driver wasn’t tuned into Waze in the way I was from the back seat. I get seriously freaked out when Irving Place is totally open and instead we’re in gridlock one block over. I hate being late, so my anxiety was building solely from being branded as the naughty patient whose tardiness would hold up the schedule at the practice for the rest of the day. 

    Next, needles. I like to pretend they don’t bother me at all from my experience with Accutane and the required monthly blood draw that comes with taking the skin clearing medication. And they don’t bother me THAT much, but still, I do have to look away when the sharp end plunges through my flesh to do my doctor’s bidding. Add in the fact that the needle is not being directed into the arm but instead above the eyebrow and nervous energy tends to experience a minor uptick in severity.

    Happily, when I arrived at the practice nobody gave me the death stare and instead I was happily guided into a room to wait for Dr. Francesca Fusco, a fabulous medical and cosmetic dermatologist who is a master in her own right with the needle. Even happier still, when she walked in she was a breath of dermatological fresh-air: warm, lovable, and quite soothing with her friendly and approachable tone. Safe to say she calmed whatever remaining pre-treatment worries I was still harboring.

    As a 30 year old, I’ve made the decision to include botox in my skincare routine as a way to prevent existing wrinkles from settling in deeper, and to help quiet wrinkles and signs of age that are beginning to form as we speak. I’m less interested in the pulled “look” of botox that you see with many women, though it does refresh the entire face nicely. I’m using botox in the same way I’m using sunscreen: not to fix existing issues so much as prevent new ones from occurring. And I think that most practitioners would agree with me – at my age, botox is much more preventative than anything else.

    So, Dr. Fusco asks me which areas of my face are troublesome and I don’t hesitate to zero in on the Glabullar Region, better known as the “elevens” in between the eyebrows. I’ve always had a serious case of resting bitch face and it causes me to furrow my brow at absolutely nothing more often than not. Strangers often stop me on the street to ask me what’s wrong or to make the very kind recommendation that I smile more.  I suppose, despite my intention in these moments to send icicles  of death from my eyeballs to their necks, I’d like to not look quite so serious for the rest of my days so I ask her to please shoot the good stuff into this area right here. We also discuss crows feet as she makes delicate marks on my face with a white pencil, dancing around my skin with precision and dexterity.

    And then finally the moment is upon me – the needles removed from their disposable, plastic cages – as Dr. Fusco hands me stress balls to squeeze in case the pain is too much to bear. Mind you, I’ve declined the offer of a numbing cream because I’m just so bad-ass, and thoughts of regret immediately race through my mind as she approaches my face with her steady hand, needle in tow. Despite silent pleas, PRICK goes the first injection, directly into the middle of my brow line. 

    The feeling of pressure! The slight pinch! The lingering of the needle in the skin! And then, the relief of the first poke being over as Dr. Fusco withdraws the thin device of pain and pleasure and carefully asks me if I’m alright. And, yes actually, I’m quite alright. It truly doesn’t hurt very much at all. It’s simply a nervous situation to have a stranger push a needle with muscle-freezing material into ones face. After another prick or two, I’m riding high on the experience, the stress balls an unnecessary comfort.

    10 touches in total, the experience is quick and relatively painless. I can feel the botox taking effect rather quickly as it becomes more difficult to move some of my go-to R.B.F. muscles. They feel as though they’re wading through thick mud in an effort to look displeased. And I’m absolutely thrilled by it. Who wouldn’t be?

    I leave the office 15 minutes later after Dr. Fusco artfully applies cooling gel pads to my skin instead of ice packs. By then, I’ve fully recovered and we’ve moved on to discuss epilators and the best way to remove dark spots from the skin (she recommends Lytera 2.0 from SkinMedica). I leave with some free product because she is a baller and I’m on my way to my next appointment, refreshed and looking just friendly enough to keep strangers-with-opinions at bay as I cruise towards Lex to hail a cab.


    Want the goods from Wexler Dermatology? Make an appointment with one of the physicians by calling 212.684.2626. Pricing for Botox begins at $500-$1000.


  • VLOG: How to Heal a Broken Heart

    Y’all know I’m going through the shitttt right now, but am truly getting better day by day. It’s been a weird 2ish years health-wise with some depression and anxiety, and now that I’m single there’s a whole slew of painful moments and emotions to contend with. The reality is that you have to go through difficult moments to move forward into adulthood and to grow into the human you’re supposed to be at the end of the day. I know this lesson, it just sucks to be living that moment.

    I’ve started to VLOG a bit more on my YT channel per my viewer’s request so my newest one really comes from the heart – and is about how I’m actually working to heal mine. Enjoy and leave your comments below!


     


     

  • Unique Ways to Celebrate The Summer Solstice

    Chances are high that on this summer solstice, the longest day of the year, you’ll be doing one of two things: celebrating the sun at a rooftop party or BBQ after work, OR sitting in a dark, air-conditioned room scrolling through Instagram in silence. But what about other options on this blissed out Wednesday? Does anything else even exist? Me thinks yes, pals. Me thinks definitely YES. 

    A rooftop party is great and all, but do you really want to be hungover for the Thursday grind? I don’t think so. The dark, air-conditioned option sounds more appealing in this heat, but the tech aspect of it certainly feels like a brain fry (and lonely). Read on for things I’d rather be doing today/tonight. Feel free to join me!

    Take The Exercise Routine Outdoors

    If you exercise with an app to guide you, or even if you do your own thing, take you exercise routine outside this evening because why not? You’ll still be able to see what you’re doing around bedtime. Give your lungs some fresh air and your body a break from the germ-ridden equipment at your local gym. 

    Go On a First Date


    Yes, it’s already just past noon on the east coast which means you better GET ON YOUR DATING APP and lock down a date. How cuteeeee would it be if you met the love of your life on the Summer Solstice? You’d have a great story to tell your kids. I’m sort of avoiding my apps after a few weeks of heavy app use, but it would still be fun to get out there and meet somebody dope.

    Camp Out

    If you have a roof or yard, whip out your light sleeping bag and tent, bring goodies for S’Mores and get the fuck outside with your gear. If I had the luxury of a grassy knoll I’d fall asleep to the stars and wake up to the soft morning light that tomorrow will bring. Being one with nature is totally pacifying and healing, y’all.

    Plant a Plant

    It’s the longest day of the year for crying out loud. Help Mother Earth celebrate this glory by giving her another plant to photosynthesize. Plant something that is meaningful to you – maybe a nice herb or something, or a beautiful flower that reminds you of Mom. Even if you have to plant indoors like moi, making this connection to the soil and earth can be a powerful way to find fulfillment today.

    Go to Sleep Super Early

    Perhaps my fave option after planting a plant is the option to go the fuck to bed SUPER EARLY today. Like, when it’s STILL LIGHT OUT! It’s gonna be like 9pm and sunny so trick yourself into thinking it’s basically the most chill day of the year and make the most of it. Your body will totally thank you in the morning. Draw those blinds and start counting sheep in 3, 2, 1…


    Tell me, pals! How are you celebrating the Summer Solstice today? 

  • Get Your Probiotics In Ways That Are Actually Fun To Eat

    Howdy, friends. Can I just tell you that probiotics can literally be life-changing, and not just in the digestive sense? They’ve been proven to aid with depression and anxiety, autism, eczema, and a whole list of other ailments (just do a quick google search). Why, you may ask, are they so beneficial to ones health? Because probiotics are living microorganisms that promote a healthy digestive system and intestinal tract.  A lot of disease comes from the gut, the home of the immune system, so if yours is healthy and full of the right types of bacteria, chances are the rest of you will be healthier as well.

    Probiotics boost the immune system, improve digestive function, and also fight food-born illnesses. And I will tell you from personal experience that taking a kick-ass probiotic everyday for the past few months has really helped me deal with my own mental health issues. I read about the life-changing benefits of probiotics in a book called “A Mind of Your Own” by Dr. Kelly Brogan and she is a true advocate of the life-changing benefits of probiotics. I even started giving my dog probiotics for dogs and they eliminated his seemingly constant ear infections. True story!

    So, lets do a dive into my favorite natural sources of probiotics because well, not every human on the earth can or enjoys swallowing pills. I’m also making unique suggestions on how to eat these foods in a way that isn’t traditional so that this list is actually unique from others you can find on the interwebz. When the food is this tasty anyway, why not stuff yourself full of it, getting all the fab benefits from the good little bugs crawling around your body’s interior eco-system?

    YOGURT

    Duh, everyone knows about this one, but have you tried making YOGURT POPSICLES and enjoying them on a hot summers day? Many scientists believe that the good bugs DO indeed survive the freezing environment because anything hardy enough to withstand the acids in our stomach can surely take on zero degrees F. Here’s a vid to some frozen pops I made and enjoyed last summer (no need to use any kind of sweetener though, really).

    KIMCHI

    Kimchi is so good, you guys. It’s even available pre-made now at most grocery stores, so go pick up this Korean condiment like right now. It’s a fermented vegetable dish made from cabbages and seasoned with garlic, salt, chili peppers, and vinegar. It’s the fermentation process that makes Kimchi probiotic. 

    My favorite unique way of using kimchi is in turkey or beef meatballs. Just chop up your kimchi and add to the raw meat along with other ingredients before cooking. You can even add some more kimchi on top of the dish when you serve it! The flavor is spicy and outstanding!

    GINGER BEER

    Ginger beer doesn’t have a high alcohol content, but the fermented drink is certainly high in probiotics. It’s fizzy and delicious and a fabulous mixer when added to cocktails. If you want to really surprise your guests with a fun but sophisticated cocktail, freeze up your ginger beer into ice cubes and use those rather than traditional ice cubes to cool off your drink. Pro tip: put the actual cocktail mixture itself into the fridge for a bit so the ice cubes hold their shape longer than just a few minutes!

    SAUERKRAUT

    I hated sauerkraut when I was a kid but the moment I hit the French Culinary Institute I was asked to make it one day, and turns out, I love it now! It’s made from shredded cabbage that’s been fermented and it has the tangiest taste and crunchiest consistency. I absolutely love it. Rather than put it on a rueben sandwich, I suggest serving it simply as a side salad or as a condiment for lobster rolls or fish burgers (like a piece of seared halibut). Yummo!


    Tell me – what are your favorite probiotic foods and ways to eat them? Let me know in the comments below! I’m always looking for new ideas πŸ™‚

    Images from CookieandKate.com and TheKitchn.com

  • This Virtual Reality Facial Promises Zen AND Great Skin

    Getting an invitation to a virtual reality facial sounds a little kooky, right? Yes, you would be right. It IS kooky! The sheer logistics of getting facialed while wearing a VR headset is confusing, but the Natura Bisse team at Julien Farel uptown are determined to bring the concept to life. Why? To bring you moments of zen while your face is being massaged by a stranger.  Wellness – it’s all around us these days, pals.

    I arrive without any expectation, except knowing that the facial I’ll be receiving is all about collagen (perf, I have an event the next day I’ll be photographed at). The collagen treatment promises to sculpt and define my facial features while plumping the areas I want plumped, like my lips and cheeks. I’m invited to get cozy in my heated treatment bed (love a heated bed) and my friendly aesthetician Hannah guides me to put on an enormous black VR headset to get started. She tells me the virtual reality portion is only 7 to 8 minutes long and that I’ll enjoy a scalp and neck massage during the video and guided mediation that accompanies it. 

    I’ll do anything once, so, I say okay. I sit up to place them on my face properly (not feeling like a facial yet) and she guides me to lay back as I start seeing clouds appear in front of my face. A woman’s voice picks up volume in an in-room speaker and she welcomes me to my focused facial. 

    Let me just stop right here now and tell you that while the idea of a virtual reality facial is indeed a bit kooky, it’s also fucking AWESOME. I’ve never had a VR experience before, so doing so while simultaneously lying on my back, being massaged and listening to a soothing voice the Natura Bisse gals simply call “Her” gives me a feeling of melting away. The images on the screen range from different colors and shapes to ocean creatures floating by and sand dunes and white light and stars and electric, winding shapes. Sort of like the visuals in the Sahara Tent at Coachella but without the deafening base. I’m not high, but I feel like it, and it’s kind of lovely. Perhaps it’s the physical sensation of being on my back, allowing the VR experience and gravity to take over your senses that creates such an intoxicating experience, but now I totally understand the funny cartoons you see of people glued to their couches, trapped behind a VR headset. 

    During the VR-time, my mind shifts off of the multitude of “things” floating through my cranial atmosphere and slows down, just to focus on the party lights in front of my eyes. And that’s really the point – to allow the person receiving the facial, traditionally not the most relaxing spa experience compared to say, a 90 minute massage, to mellow out. And I do. The world is winding in front of my eyes, allowing me a sensory experience that could, under different circumstances, be classified as illegal.

    When the VR moment is over, I’m actually disappointed. Surprisingly so. Had Hannah been able to put collagen goo all over my face while also experiencing VR I’d give this facial 10/10 gold stars. Alas, the goggles are removed and we get into the actual skin treatment with a very gentle glycolic peel that doesn’t create redness or actual skin peeling a few days later. It’s a little tingly, as to be expected, and I get a nice massage of my pressure points while my face cooks. “Her” is still talking to me this whole time, mind you, reminding me to focus on my breathing and things of that nature.

    The collagen creams come next and we finish with a mask that is hooked around your ears and pressed gently down onto the face. I have no idea what was happening during that period of time, but it made me realize that all those cloth masks that are hot right now should totally have ear-hooks attached so they stay planted more firmly on the face. “Her” tells me to take 10 deep breaths, counting them as I go, and after an hour of listening to her soothing voice and being gently massaged and covered in creams, it’s time to hop back on the 6 and head downtown, back into my actual reality, the one I attempt to center every day.


    Want to try the Natura Bisse Virtual Reality Facial? Call over to Julien Farel and make an appointment, stat.

    Cartoon via CartoonaDay.com

  • Here Are My Fave Wellness Products That Cost Less Than $25

    Everyone is so into wellness these days. And I don’t even laugh at them. In fact, I’m a total CHAMPION of this movement. Why wouldn’t you want your mind and body to be at peak performance? 30 is the new 20, and 40 is the new 30. I know some serious BABES that are 40+, and how did they get to be that way? Well, good genes, but also the motivation to put health first.

    More and more companies are dedicating themselves to wellness and health. I even launched my own feminine wellness company (Love Wellness) last year after struggling with chronic infections and irritations for years, and the pharmacy goo just didn’t cut the mustard. It was only when I turned to high-quality ingredients and natural products that my problems went away and because of that I chose to share what my doctors and I worked on together with all of you.

    In general that has been my experience – turn to organic ingredients that come from the earth instead of a lab, and poof, yo problems dissipate into thin air. Not all of these on this list of $25 and under wellness grabs are for problems that need fixin’, but they do each hold a special place in my heart for what they ARE for. My picks span across different verticals – beauty to tummy troubles. Lets explore these affordable finds!

     

    Collagen ($17.25)

    So everyone has been drinking this brand of collagen drinks lately (the bottle is striped, dirty lemon I think it’s called) in an effort to plump their skin. Turns out you can just buy powdered collagen and skip the fancy drink scheme. Doin’ it yourself is way more cost-effective, plus you can add collagen to just about anything – smoothies, yogurt, water, a vodka martini, etc.

    Collagen is super great for filling out fine lines and wrinkles over time and improving skin elasticity. It’s high-time to add it to your list of supplements.

    Do It All Wipes ($24)

    Full disclosure, these feminine wipes come from my own line, Love Wellness, but they’ve made the top of so many “wipes” lists that I thought they were fair to include. My friends ask me for freebies of these so often I keep like 20 packages in my backpack all the time. I formulated these to be all natural, infused with coconut oil so they soothe sensitive skin down there, and the wipe itself is made from 100% cotton. The smell is really light and the packaging is petite and chic. These vag wipes really do it all – I even use them to get make-up off sometimes or clean something gooey off my hands. These wipes are sold in packs of 3 for $24.

    Aztec Secret Healing Clay Mask ($12.29)

    If you need to get goo out of your face, forget the crazy peeling masks you’ve been seeing all over Instagram. The true holy grail is Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. It’s just a bottle of calcium bentonite clay powder, one that you mix up yourself into a mask. Just combine a bit of water with the powder and you have an almost endless supply of green clay to clear your skin out with.

    This stuff seriously WORKS to get rid of blackheads and other nasty stuff lying beneath the surface. Don’t use it everyday though – it’s simply too powerful and can dry out the skin.

    Activated Charcoal ($17.65)

    Upset tummy? Instead of Tums, go the natural route and try an activated charcoal pill instead. Charcoal is found everywhere these days – from facial cleansers to tooth whiteners and now, stomach soothers. Keep a few in your purse on a date to avoid anything uncomfortable that may happen afterwards. I won’t say anything else about these, just use your imagination, and know they have 5 stars on Amazon.

    Maca Powder ($18.99)

    A little PMS-y? Feck, girl, me too. Pretty much always. Or at least for like 10 days out of the month. How unfair is that? 

    The good thing is that once you bring maca powder into the rotation, expect your symptoms to subside a bit. I’ve been mixing maca into my smoothies for a month or so now and I noticed that this most recent cycle was quite as painfully emotional. Maca is a renowned Peruvian root that’s been used for hundreds of years to balance hormones.

    Turmeric Tea ($13.95)

    God, I love turmeric. Just last week I wrote a post about Golden Turmeric Milk and the health benefits of this powerful herb. This is just straight up tea (a little quicker to throw together) and just as tasty as the milk. This is more peppery and the ginger also adds a digestive aid and benefit to the drink. Turmeric is both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and I can’t say enough great things about it. My doctor recommended I add turmeric into my supplement regime and since I have all my old aches and pains have definitely calmed down.

    Squeezable Omega 3 Packets ($22.99)

    Everyone knows that fish oil is pretty much disgusting, but, so nutritious that we should be consuming it anyway. Thank goodness for this brand CoroMega. They make high quality Omega 3 supplements that come in this squeezable flavor packets you can add to water, smoothies, or just straight into your mouth. This is a big squeeze packet instead of the smaller, individual ones they have for sale (it was under $25) so you simply squeeze and close it back up when you’re done.

    Omega 3s lower your risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and arthritis. They also make your hair, skin, and nails lovely. This brand has managed to make a product that doesn’t taste that weird or fake, so I give them a thumbs up for what they’ve done.


    Tell me, pals – what are you favorite wellness goodies I should add to my list? If they’re not under $25 that’s okay – I gotta know anyway. 

    xx

    L

  • How to Get a Great Night’s Sleep Tonight

    I grew up with insomnia. Seriously! I’ve been a troubled sleeper since I was a kid. It would take me up to 90 minutes to fall asleep most nights, and that time gave my mind a wide berth to explore, be creative, and be afraid of the dark, too. I’d wake up around 2 or 3am and again take 90 minutes to fall back asleep. Once my mind turns on, boy, it’s hard to turn it back off.

    Once I entered adulthood, insomnia became more painful and actualized than it had when I was a child. Back then it was a nuisance, and my legs hurt with growing pains. The lack of sleep didn’t bother my young body and mind as much, before real life seemingly entered the picture. Now, surprisingly, I’m a pretty good sleeper 80% of the time, but it’s not because I suddenly had some natural, internal shift that came with age. No, it’s because I follow good sleep hygiene practices – ones that actually work.

    My doctor was the one who clued me into “sleep hygiene” a few years ago. Brushing your teeth does not fall on the list – it’s not that kind of hygiene. What we’re talking about is cell phone usage, steady bed times, and what to do before you get in between the sheets. All of the following things really help me, and because I know I have a lot of troubled sleepers out there reading da blog, I’m excited to share what has made a true difference in how quickly I zonk out, how long I stay asleep for, and the overall quality of sleep I’m getting. 

    Get Hot and Clean

    Taking a hot shower or bath before bedtime allows the body to relax before trying to get some ZZZsss. The body’s temperature naturally begins to fall a few hours before you go to sleep, and raising it in the bath, then allowing it to fall once you get out helps to force the body into that relaxation mode. Apart from the physiology behind it, I find that taking a soothing bath or shower helps to scrub my brain just as much as my body. The literal feeling of being clean also helps me for some reason.

    Get Rid of Blue Light

    We’ve all heard about the dreaded BLUE LIGHT by now. It comes from your cell phone and computer primarily, the tools we seem to have attached to us 24/7, even in bed. Blue light tricks the body into thinking it’s daytime, and makes it much more difficult for your brain to naturally transition into sleep mode. If you CAN’T shake the habit of bringing your laptop into bed with you, install f.lux – a  blue light reducing app that turns on around 7pm and turns off around 7am. It shields your eyes from the blue light your computer gives off by changing it to a warm, yellow color instead. You can adjust when it comes on and off, and how intense you want the protection to be.

    Additionally, iPhones these days have its own blue light shield built in called “Night Shift” installed into the software. You have to manually turn it on, but it works in the same way that f.lux does. It really helps to reduce the blue light tricking your brain into thinking it’s 2pm when actually it’s midnight and you’re stalking your ex on Instagram.

    …And Get Rid of Your Devices

    Now that the blue light has been eliminated from your comp and celly, let’s get rid of them from your bedroom altogether. Yes, altogether now! HAHAH, I know – right? Can you imagine NOT reading emails and scrolling through Buzzfeed stories right before bed? Well, if you can imagine what it’s doing to your brain you may consider putting. the. cell. phone. down. All you’re doing is makin’ your brain do a do-see-do up there by continuing to stimulate it with activity from your phone and computer. 

    Science has proven time and time again that our devices are keeping us up and in order to truly get a good night’s sleep you have to make the decision to stop using them an hour or two before you go to bed, and don’t check them again until morning or unless you need to call the fire department because your kitchen is ablaze. The absolute BEST way to give yourself something to do before bed is by reading a book – an actual, physical book, in low light before saying Z-YA-LATER to the world. I find that when I read a book it takes only minutes before my eyes begin to flutter.

    If you’re too lazy to turn off the light, get an Alexa from Amazon, get special outlets that connect to Alexa, and then tell Alexa to turn off your bedroom lights for you from bed. Ta – da!  Asleep!

    Don’t Check The Time

    Once you fall asleep, if you wake up in the middle of the night, do everything humanly possible not to check and see what time it is. If you check the time, you are officially MIND FUCKED. Just trust that it’s still dark outside, and you should be getting back to sleep.

    Breathe Deeply

    Taking deep breaths actually helps to calm the nervous system and body. Scientists just proved it in mice (it was in the New York Times) and they think it’s the real deal with humans too. As someone who does a lot of breathing exercises, I can say they really do help to chill out. We’re not talking like 1 minute of controlled breathing, however. More like 10 or 15 minutes. Whether you’re going to sleep or trying to get back there in the middle of the night, try my fave exercise. Simply count to 10 with your breaths over and over again. In – 1, out – 2, in – 3, you get the picture.

    Take Your Magenesium

    Forget spritzing your pillow with lavender. Do yourself a real favor and take 500mg of high-quality magnesium 30 minutes before you hit the sack. It decreases cortisol, the stress hormone and also allows your muscles to relax. If you’ve never taken it before, skip the Ambien and try this instead. I find that it helps knock me out cold til morning.


    What helps you fall asleep at night? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

    xx,’

    L

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