• How to Achieve the Perfect Fake Tan

    Orange you glad we asked an expert?

    My mother’s the Asian woman who carries a sizable umbrella, open and unapologetic, in the middle of the summer when it’s sunny, 92 degrees, and blistering hot out. Go ahead, chuckle. Laugh even. God knows that for 20 years, I did the same.

    Of course, everything changed when I realized my ugly band of freckles, the same one that oh-so-prominently lines the bridge of my nose, is permanent. Whether it the mark of a defiantly stubborn daughter or the walking proof of ultraviolet light-exposed skin, I never quite appreciated outdoor tanning as much as I did in my teenage years.

    Enter sunless tanning. My savoir! Asian I might be, but absolutely not a pale one at that!

    For those of you scared equally senseless by the thought of unnecessary hyperpigmentation, I sought out the tanning industry’s leading expert for his exact how-tos on at-home tanning.

    Hi, James! Can you tell the LoDown family a little bit more about yourself? I heard that you were drawn to self-tanning at a young age!

    James Read 2016 Head Shot for web

    James Read, founder of James Read Tan.

    I started using tanning wipes when I was 12 or 13 years old and loved the results.

    I always burn in the sun but loved being tan so self-tanning was the best option.

    I spent more than 15 years in the tanning industry building my name, creating both trends and seasonal tans.

    Since starting my own brand, I’ve introduced products that combine skincare and tanning with a specific concentration on facial tanners.

    I think we all know the dangers of actual tanning. Sun damage is no joke. Are the chemicals we’re applying to our skin via self-tanners that much better?

    DHA only reacts to the top layer of your dead skin cells. The tan doesn’t actually penetrate your skin. That’s why it fades after six or seven days when you exfoliate away the dead skin cells.

    My products incorporate skincare and tanning. Because DHA can sometimes be drying, my products simultaneously hydrate the skin.

    [Editor’s Note: DHA or dihydroxyacetone is an active ingredient derived from sugar beets and sugar canes through the fermentation of glycerin. It’s a colorless chemical that interacts with the amino acids in our dead skin cells to make them turn brown in color.]

    What are some general tips and tricks at-home tanners should know?

    For the most natural bronzed look, you should:

    • Shave and exfoliate a day before applying your tan.
    • Moisturize all dry areas to prevent them from absorbing too much tan and drying patchy.
    • Always, always, always use a tanning mitt when applying your self-tan. This makes for an easier application process. It also prevents your hands from ending up a shade or two darker than the rest of your body!
    • On that note, remember to look out for the opposite problem. Wait for as long as you can, six to seven hours after applying your self-tan, before washing your hands. This way, you won’t end up with extra pale palms.
    • Remember to apply your self-tan in sweeping motions starting from the top of your body and ending with your hands and feet.
    • Apply talcum powder around your chest and armpit area to maintain your color if you exercise frequently or sweat easily. This will stop your tan from breaking down and streaking.

    Say, for some reason, I mess up. We’re talking the fake-sick-and-hide kind of mess up. Do I really have to wait for my color to fade or can I do something to fix my problem?

    The easiest way to fix a dark tan is to find yourself a steam room and sit in it for 20 minutes. This will help take your tan down a couple shades. Otherwise, you can rub Nivea wipes over your skin to reduce the color and blend out patchy areas.

    Soaking a wash cloth in a mixture of lemon and lime juice, microwaving it for a minute or so until it’s warm, and rubbing it along your skin can also help break down the tan.

    How about Oompa Loompas? How can some people end up with such orange tans?

    They over-apply their self-tans!

    The easiest way to avoid this is to apply your tan in layers. Once you’ve reached your desired color, stop! If you aren’t sure whether or not you need an extra layer, check by taking a selfie with the flash on.

    Sometimes people can end up with unnatural colors if they forget to remove a pre-existing tan before applying a new one. It’s important to exfoliate at least once a week to remove both dead skin cells and old color. If that’s too much of a hassle, however, let current your tan fade evenly before re-applying a new one!

    Why do self-tanners have a distinct smell? Is there a way to avoid it?

    The smell you’re describing is simply your skin reacting to the tanner. You can minimize the smell by washing and moisturizing your body with fragrance free products.

    My H20 Tan Mist, for example, has a 96% natural formulation. Its scent is rosy and refreshing!

    It actually is! Can you tell me a little bit more about the magic behind your mist?

    My H20 Tan Mist is a 3-in-1 mist that combines skincare with cooling technology and a touch of self-tan. It’s created with 96% rose water, minerals and vitamins, and a small percentage of organic DHA which will give you that subtle bronzed glow.

    The formula doesn’t highlight pigmentation or age spots and doesn’t transfer onto clothing so feel free to spritz generously over your face up to three times a day. Because the mist is so fine, you won’t ever make a mistake.

    Speaking of mistakes, isn’t your Gradual Tan collection super beginner-friendly?

    Yes! I designed the product to be fool proof and to suit all skin tones, not too dark and not too light. When you apply it, it isn’t too strong on the skin. If you make a mistake, it’s not highlighted as much.

    Okay, last question! How do I go about self-tanning my face? There are all these YouTube tutorials on how to self-tan your body, but your face? Not so much.

    Ready?

    1. Rub an ice cube along your face to close your pores and prevent dark, uneven patches of color from forming before applying your self-tan.
    2. Dab coconut oil to your eyebrows to prevent self-tan buildup on your brow hairs.
    3. Apply the self-tan to your face with your hands! It’s best to use a gradual tanner so that you can feel its texture as you apply it onto your skin. Remember to wash your hands immediately after the application!
    4. Dab cotton balls with your self-tan and lightly pat them over your neck and jawline to blend your new face color in with the rest of your body.
    5. Rub a cotton bud dipped in toner along your hairline to complete the natural look.
    6. Use a hydrating face mask a few days after applying your self-tan to make it last longer.
    7. You can even use my Tantour Sculpting Duo to highlight your cheek bones and create that subtle contoured look.
    8. If you’re new to self-tanning, the H2O Tan Mist works just fine. Spray it a few times across your face and you’ll see results in about 3 to 4 hours!

     

    Do you have any beauty questions that need answering? Myths that require some investigating? Ask away in the comments below!

     

  • Hi! My Name Is Emily and I’m Your New Trainer!

    Hi Everyone!

    My name is Emily Burkhardt and I am beyond excited to be joining TheLoDown team.

    Every week, from now until however long you’ll have me, I’ll be sharing with you some of my favorite exercise tips. But, before we get started, I’d like to tell you a little more about my life and fitness journey!

    Right now, I’m a certified personal trainer, an instructor at both Flywheel Sports and Beebe’s Buttcamp, and a brand ambassador for Lululemon and On-Running.

    My journey includes a lot of different jobs and experiences that have all brought me to this point in my life. The one thing that has always remained constant, however, is my desire to wake up in the morning and inspire others. In fact, I think of my mission as my true “job” in life and it brings me so much joy to be able to do it on a daily basis.

    When I am not in the studio or with my clients, I am traveling with my other half, Zach, finding live music to dance to, being a foodie, or training for my next marathon.

    Before jumping into the adult fitness world, I worked with children whose ages ranged anywhere from six weeks to six years old. It was while working with them that I learned the importance of muscles and kinetic energy in relation to the human body.

    You’ll often hear me say:

    Get yourself to class and I will take care of you from there.

    I think that statement really embodies my vision for everyone to make progress collectively instead of individually. Making people smile, regardless their age, is also another goal of mine. Setting this daily intention has allowed me to create a massive amount of positive energy that I bring to all my classes and client sessions.

    Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 1.10.41 PMJust in case you couldn’t already tell, I’m super excited to see where we all go next! I get that for some of you, the general idea of staying fit may be more or less a chore or unwanted task, but I want to flip those feelings upside down and make fitness fun!

    If you promise to step outside your comfort zone, I’ll promise to always keep the workouts fresh and full of energy.

    Let’s all live a fun, fit life together!

    Peace & Love,

    Emily

  • Everything You Should Know About Dark Under-Eye Circles

    Panda, Panda

    Panda, Panda, Panda, Panda, Panda?

    Hello there, Beautiful!

    Are you plagued by a severe case of panda eyes? Do your dark under-eye circles give you the blues? Is it safe to assume that you’re like me, at wits’ end with concealer, confused about how to remedy the situation and frustrated by your general confusion?

    Fear not. I did some much needed research.

    Medically speaking, the skin around our eyelids is called the periorbital skin. Significantly thinner than the skin that covers the rest of our bodies, the periorbital skin only measures 0.5 millimeters in thickness.

    Believe it or not, there are actually two types of dark under-eye circles. The best way to diagnose your ailment is to look straight into a mirror under natural light, lower your chin slightly, and study the shadow under your eyes. If your under-eye circles have a bluer tint, you have “Blue Circles.” If your under-eye circles have a browner tint, you have “Brown Circles.”

    Okay, cool, but what does this all mean?

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    It’s a general misconception that all under-eye circles are the result of sleep deprivation. While exhaustion may be the culprit behind most panda-eye cases, it’s not always the only one.

    Other common causes include:

    • Allergies
    • Atopic dermatitis (A condition that makes your skin red and itchy)
    • Contact dermatitis (A rash caused by a substance that comes in contact with your skin)
    • DNA (Yes, under-eye circles can be hereditary)
    • Pigmentation irregularities
    • Excessive rubbing or scratching
    • Sun exposure
    • Loss of fat or collagen

    Blue Circles

    Blue circles are most noticeable when you wake up in the morning. Because your body has been resting horizontally for an extended amount of time, oxygenated blood pools beneath your periorbital skin. When this happens, your veins expand to make room for the fluid accumulation.  The periorbital skin, thin and translucent in nature, is often unable to mask your pump veins. They, in turn, look blue because your skin only allows blue and violet wavelengths to pass through it. Depending on your skin color, your blue circles may even look greener or browner in respect to the light that is reflected back.

    If you’ve ever wondered why elderly people have prominent periorbital dark circles regardless how much they sleep, keep in mind that as we grow older, we lose the subcutaneous fat that masks the blueness below the surface of our skin. Simply put, our blue circles may get worse with age because our skin loses its elasticity and ability to regenerate.

    What you should do: There are a few over-the-counter medical options you can pursue. Topical creams with stimulating ingredients like caffeine, for example, can constrict blood vessels and temporarily boost circulation. Potent hydrators like those with hyaluronic acid, for example, pump the periorbital skin, pushing it away from the pooled blood. If you’re more into homeopathic remedies, however, placing sliced avocados, cucumber rounds, cooled black or green tea bags, or crushed mint leaves under the eye area will do just the trick.

    Brown Circles

    Brown circles or periorbital hyperpigmentation, on the other hand, is caused when more melanin is produced directly by the skin below the eyes. Triggered by chronic eye-rubbing, sun exposure, or genetics, brown circles are usually more prevalent among Asian and African American skin tones.

    What you should do: You can use a daily cream or serum with skin brightening elements like soy or citrus that will lighten the circles over time. Be sure, however, to avoid hydroquinone—lighteners for sun spots and scars. Dermatologists agree that they’re too heavy-duty for the delicate eye area. Otherwise, a natural remedy like sliced raw potatoes or a paste made from turmeric and pineapple juice left on the eye area fro 10-15 minutes and wiped off with a damp cloth will work equally well.

     

  • Listen: THE COVETEUR on LADYLOVIN’

    GUYS.  So excited.  So, so, so excited.  On this week’s episode of my LadyLovin‘ podcast I got to welcome my friend Stephanie Mark, the co-founder of The Coveteur on the show!

    IMG_6001

    Stephanie Mark, Jilly Hendrix, Greta Titelman, Lo Bosworth (from left to right)

    We chatted about everything: start-up world, scary people, body image issues, relationships, and what we like to wear in the bedroom.  It’s a great episode so please give it a listen and subscribe!


    LISTEN to The Coveteur on LADYLOVIN’ HERE


    Photo via TheCoveteur.com – an image of Paloma Elsesser’s Closet.  P.S. You can listen to Paloma’s episode of LadyLovin’ HERE.

  • Eat Your Way to Healthy Summer Skin

    Five Foods That Fight Sun Damage

    For a picker, I’ve always been incredibly blessed with forgiving skin. Regardless whether I poke, prod or pick at my pimples, I rarely often scar. Naturally, when the first batch of stress-induced cystic acne broke out across my face a little over a month ago, I attempted the impossible: relieving my clogged pores of what I believed to be dead skin cells.

    Boy, oh boy, was I wrong to squeeze.

    Not only did I cause the infection to spread, but I also failed miserably at removing the “heads” from my poor face. Cystic acne, as I soon learned, is an infection that lies much deeper under the skin. Unlike white head pimples or black head pimples, they manifest in the form of red, tender bumps. And, the cysts, full of pus, often never surface.

    Scared half to death by my stern dermatologist and officially taking my first round of Roaccutane, I am now incredibly weary of everything that comes near my face—including my good for nothing itchy fingers. Sunscreen, another dislike of mine, thanks to its thick, oily formula, is currently a no-no that’s only used under extreme circumstances when I really can’t be my vampire-y self and avoid sunlight.

    Thankfully, if you’re like me, suffering in a personal hell of abstinence from SPF because of sensitive skin, or if you really hate sunscreen in general, there’s another way to protect your skin from sun damage.

    Before I jump into why you should increase your tomato consumption, I think it’s necessary to first illustrate the dangers of excessive UV ray exposure. Too much sunlight, unfortunately, activates free radicals in our skin. The activation, in turn, accelerates the aging process of cells (hello, wrinkles!) by puncturing them and tearing them apart, and generates a wild chain reaction that makes us more susceptible to skin cancer. That said, when our skin “burns” our bodies are actually generating an immune response-inflammation to the free radicals.

    Sun protection is best achieved when consuming an antioxidant-rich diet and when using a non-chemical protective sunscreen on a daily basis. This is simply because the amount of antioxidants in your blood decreases when your skin is exposed to sunlight.

    Okay, now the tomatoes!

    Tomatoes contain lycopene, or, an important antioxidant to have in your diet. The rule of thumb is, the redder the tomato, the more lycopene it contains. If you’re not too keen on eating tomatoes, try your hand at some watermelon!

    Sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene and storage proteins called sporamins that have unique antioxidant properties. Once digested, beta-carotenes turn into Vitamin A which ultimately helps with skin cell regeneration.

    Crimini mushrooms, or the cute little things you find on kebabs, are packed with skin-protecting nutrients like selenium. In fact, crimini mushrooms have the highest selenium content in all the foods that we eat. This, of course, is important because our bodies use the vital mineral to create potent antioxidants that fight the free radicals that form in our skin during sunlight exposure. Best of all crimini mushrooms are packed with Vitamin B—the key to youthful-looking skin cells.

    Fatty fish contain carotenoid antioxidants that help keep the skin radiant. Omega 3 essential fatty acids, like those found in salmon, also act as powerful and protective anti-inflammatories.

    Like strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, green tea is an antioxidant food high in catechins. The deeper and richer the color of your tea, the higher its catechin content. So, steep those leaves and drink up!

     

  • I Just Made This Chicken and White Bean Stew in 15 Minutes & It’s Delicious

    Really…15 Minutes

    So we’re welcoming wellness into our lives over here at TheLoDown (in fact, the entire focus of the site is changing to focus on health) and with that comes a delicious, easy, and quick weekday lunch recipe that I literally made in 15 minutes.

    I’m a huge fan of a tomato stew, especially with white beans, and some kind of protein.  Typically I like to roast a dish like this (imagine a whole chicken cut in half, browning nicely with delicious tomatoes and things all around slowly soaking up flavor) but I wanted to see just how quickly I could mimic one of my faves with the ingredients I had on hand.

    Here’s what you need: a protein (I chose thin chicken breasts for speedy cooking), crushed tomatoes, fresh basil and thyme, a bit of onion or shallot, and some beans.  Oh, and a little S&P (salt and PEPPA), obvs.

    Brown up your shallots, brown up your chicken quickly, add the rest of the stuff and simmer for 15 minutes.  That’s it.  Delicious, gluten-free, dairy-free, and QUICK.

    Here’s the full recipe:


    15 Minute Chicken, Tomato, and White Bean Stew

    1. 1 Shallot, sliced in thin rounds

    2. 1 tablespoon ghee

    3. 2 thinly sliced chicken breasts

    4. Salt and Pepper to season

    5. 1 can crushed tomatoes

    6. 1/2 can white beans

    7. 10-12 fresh basil leaves

    8. 10 sprigs of thyme leaves

    9. 4-5 cherry tomatoes

    1. In a medium sauce pan heat ghee and quickly brown shallots.

    2. In the same pan add your seasoned chicken breasts and brown on both sides quickly at a high heat.

    3. Lower heat and add crushed tomatoes, white beans, cherry tomatoes, basil leaves, thyme leaves, salt and pepper.

    4. Let simmer (don’t boil) for 15 minutes. Then enjoy!

  • 6 Ways to Stop Anxiety and Stress

    Saying Bye Bye Bye to the Butterflies

    As women, we often feel pressured to “do it all!” Whether it’s the endless to-do lists to get through at work, the pile of household chores waiting at home, or the long list of events we had our hearts set on attending this summer, we manage–or, at the very least, attempt–to accomplish the seemingly impossible.

    Despite our superhuman personas (because really, there’s no denying the existence of our well-deserved, albeit invisible, capes), our drives come at both a physical and physiological price. A result of wearing one too many hats, our stress levels can skyrocket and our bodies can act out.

    I recently discussed five telltale signs of when your nerves may be getting the best of you. The question, however, still remains:

    How do we tackle our anxiety so that we can continue to move forward in a healthy way?

    1. ACCEPT

    When your stress levels are at an all-time high, it is important to educate yourself on the physical and psychological signs of anxiety. It is vital you adopt the “this too shall pass” mentality.

    There’s no denying how uncomfortable and unbearable our body’s reaction to stress is. We can, however, treat that never-ending feeling of anxiety by first accepting it for what it is, and then by acknowledging it as a sign for us to slow down.

    2. SLEEP

    Our sleep patterns are usually disrupted when we become overwhelmed. Know that a fair indication of this can manifest in sleeping more or sleeping less.

    The average human being should be sleeping approximately six to eight hours a night to function productively the next day. You can improve both the amount and quality of your sleep by:

    • Eliminating your caffeine intake after 6 p.m. (or earlier if you are sensitive to caffeine)
    • Using ear plugs or an eye mask to help block out both sound and light
    • Installing blackout blinds
    • Running a warm bath to relax before snoozing
    • Eliminating screen time in bed

    3. EXERCISE

    Ideally, we should be getting 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. That translates to either 150 minutes of moderate aerobic or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. Exercise not only “keeps our bodies young” by reducing our risk of acquiring many diseases, but also helps reduce anxiety.

    Physical activity releases endorphins–chemicals in our brain that act as natural pain killers. Endorphins help alleviate the symptoms caused by stress and nervousness.

    Anxiety

    4. NOURISH

    “We are what we eat” is particularly true when our body translates that into our ability to cope under pressure. When we nourish our bodies with healthy, whole foods, we feel better about ourselves and more energized to deal with our nerves.

    • Limit or avoid caffeine to prevent feeling even more nervous or jittery
    • Stay hydrated! The mildest form of dehydration can severely impact your mood and ability to focus
    • Eat breakfast. It is important not to skimp on the most important meal of the day
    • Limit or avoid alcohol. Even though alcohol may be calming at first, the substance actually interferes with your ability sleep

    5. PREPARE

    When stressed, we are tempted to disengage and put assignments and tasks on the back burner. Instead of doing so, continue tackling whatever it is that you need to do by chipping at it little by little on a daily basis.

    Whether it an upcoming meeting or a family vacation, being prepared for the events ahead can help lower your anxiety levels. On that note, it is equally important to take time for yourself. You can do so by walking your dog, getting a massage, or watching your favorite TV show.

    Remember: You can only tackle so much when you’re not mindful of your own needs.

    6. BREATHE

    When anxious, our heart rates increase. In fact, your heart may seem like it’s about to leap out of your chest. The most effective way to lower your anxiety immediately is to lower your heart rate. You can do this by:

    • Finding a comfortable sitting position
    • Placing one hand over your belly and the other over your chest
    • Taking a deep breath through your nose without moving your chest
    • Breathing out by pursing your lips
    • And, repeating this exercise three to five times while taking time with each breath

     

    *If you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety, please seek or have them seek help from a physician. Know that no one is alone in their journey. 

     

    Feature image via John Shiremans Shattered Flowers series.

  • I Cooked Ramen For The First Time Ever

    SLURRRRRRP.

    Long story short, I cooked ramen from scratch for this first time ever this week.  On top of that I also prepared this meal for a group of strangers I welcomed into my house.  Basically, the pressure was on.

    I like to come up with recipes from scratch and as a trained chef I’m pretty good at opening the fridge up and creating something tasty my friends and fam will enjoy. However….in the case of ramen I made the wise decision to seek out help in the form of a recipe to get me through this challenge.  It’s a 15 hour process to make this delicious meal properly from scratch – so if you’re going to make it, give yourself ample time (definitely the day before your event).

    I chose to follow this recipe from Chow Hound for Slow Cooker Pork Ramen.  Safe to say, it took so very long to make, but it was absolutely a hit.

    ramen

    P.S. The lipstick I’m wearing is Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge in Mat M102.


    Slow Cooker Pork Ramen

    3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3 equal pieces

    Kosher salt

    2 tablespoons canola oil (if including the optional browning step)

    1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped

    6 garlic cloves, chopped

    1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

    8 cups low-sodium chicken broth

    1 leek, halved lengthwise and coarsely chopped (white and green parts)

    1/4 pound cremini or button mushrooms, brushed clean and coarsely chopped

    Low-sodium soy sauce for seasoning

    Sesame and/or chile oil for seasoning

    1 1/2 pounds fresh ramen noodles

    8 large eggs (optional)

    About 4 green onions, finely chopped (white and pale green parts)

    1. Season the pork with salt.
    2. This step and the next are optional: Put a flameproof slow cooker insert on the stovetop over medium-high heat, then add the oil and warm until hot. (Or, use a frying pan for this step). Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, add the pork pieces and sear them on the first side without moving them until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the pieces and sear on the second side until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
    3. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the insert and return the insert to medium-high heat. Add the yellow onion and sear, without stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, and 1 cup of the broth and deglaze the insert, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the insert bottom, then let simmer for 1 minute.
    4. If you have included the browning step, transfer the insert to the slow cooker, add the leek, mushrooms, and the remaining 7 cups of broth, and stir to combine. If you are starting here, combine the pork, yellow onion, garlic, ginger, leek, mushrooms, and broth in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on the low-heat setting for 8 hours. The pork should be very tender and the broth should be fragrant.
    5. To assemble: Transfer the pork to a cutting board. Using 2 forks, break the pork into bite-size chunks, removing and discarding any large pieces of fat. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard the solids. Using a large spoon, skim off and discard any fat from the surface of the broth. Return the pork and broth to the slow cooker and season to taste with soy sauce and sesame and/or chile oil. Cover and cook on the low-heat setting for about 30 minutes to warm through. Cook the ramen noodles according to the package directions. If you want to top each bowl of ramen with an egg, put the eggs into boiling water and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water, let cool until they can be handled, and peel them.
    6. To serve: Divide the noodles evenly among individual bowls. Ladle the broth and pork over the noodles, dividing them evenly, then sprinkle with the green onions. If desired, top each bowl with a halved soft-boiled egg and serve right away.
  •  

  • The Kitchen Sink Gluten-Free Protein Muffins

    MUFFINS YOU CAN EAT & EAT & EAT

    Guilt-Free Snackin’

    My boyfriend is camping this weekend and while him and his pals have pledged to only eat what they catch, I’m making him some gluten-free muffins packed with protein to give him a head start each morning (just in case, of course).  I like calling these “the kitchen sink” because I throw in whatever I have in my cupboard that makes sense at the time, and because he’s on a high protein diet the kitchen sink consists of lots of seeds.

    Don’t be scared by the whole “gluten-free” aspect of these tasty treats.  They’re moist, delicious, and don’t taste like anything super healthy if you know what I mean.  But, they are!  My favorite way to enjoy them is piping hot, with a swipe of almond butter on top.

    Some baking tips for this recipe: make sure to squeeze as much moisture out of your grated apples as you can (twist ’em up in a kitchen towel and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze).  I generally don’t advocate for throwing in “handfuls” of ingredients in baked goods but I’ve found that the amount of seeds you can add really is negligible and based on personal preference.

    Fill your muffin tin just to the top of each space or else your muffins may grow too large!

    IMG_5719

    4 cups fine almond flower

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1/4 teaspoon sea salt

    3 teaspoons cinnamon

    1/4 cup chia seeds

    Handful of golden flax seeds

    Handful of pepitas

    2 apples, grated and drained (squeeze the juice out)

    1 tablespoon lemon juice

    3/4 cup whole greek yogurt

    6 eggs

    2 tablespoons maple syrup

    1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

    1. Preheat your oven to 325 F.
    2. Combine dry ingredients.
    3. Combine wet ingredients.  Stir wet into dry ingredients.  The consistency shouldn’t be too sticky/pasty, or too thin.
    4. Spray a muffin pan with a non-stick spray and scoop spoonfuls of batter into each hole (don’t overflow them or underfill).
    5. Bake for 25 minutes until brown and cooked through (insert a fork to test).
    6. Enjoy these for breakfast, on a camping trip, on a hike, or freeze to eat later!
  • Outdoor Voices: Dipped Warmup Legging

    1_d08378c7-653d-42dc-9a25-4eefe8310afb_1024x1024We’re big fans of Outdoor Voices here at TheLoDown. Not only is the Soho store right around the corner, but we love their color blocking, cozy fabrics, and understated style.

    Today In Review we’ve decided to give their Dipped Warmup Legging a test run based on four important factors: style, quality, affordability, and how well they soak up sweat.  We took them out for a test jog along the West Side Highway as we sped down towards the Brookfield Place Equinox for a Sweat with Kayla “Resistance” work-out.
    Running in them was a delight: the fabric is soft and moveable, and doesn’t bunch up in weird places.  Burpees made the cut as well as the waist band didn’t move all around through all the jumping up and down.

    They’re of course stylish – we score them at 100 for that, obviously.  They do a decent job of masking butt sweat too.  The pants changed color a little in the areas we were really sweaty but nothing super noticeable or embarrassing.  You could grab a smoothie with a pal afterwards without feeling like you needed to change.

    1_01ed9558-ff07-4c3c-b299-9c0798881133_1024x1024The color options are nice here too, for those that like to collect leggings (I certainly do).  The Dipped Warmup Legging comes in 7 color options and are sizes XS-L.
    1_b3a79f1f-40b9-4cde-8a83-3d506f97270e_1024x1024

    The only issue we raise: the price.  We know most luxury tights are around the $100 mark these days, but we wish they were a bit more affordable….simply because we want them in every single color.


    Outdoor Voices is located at 199 Lafayette Street in Soho & 606 Blanco Street in Austin, TX.

  • 5 Signs the Dark Cloud Has yet to Blow Over

    Could it be Depression?

    Wellness Wednesdays with Blare June

    While it would be rather lovely to live a life of only sunshine and rainbows, the thought—albeit an optimistic and hopeful one—is not always a possibility. It is normal and healthy, in fact, to occasionally experience sadness. Think about it this way: how could you truly appreciate the good if you don’t have the bad to compare it with? How could you really celebrate triumph if you don’t experience hardship first?

    That said, there are still times when your lows outweigh your highs—when there are more difficult days then there are easy ones. Prolonged “Down in the Dump” days can be both emotionally draining and harming.

    Here are 5 signs to help you recognize when it might be time to seek professional help.

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    “I’m so darn tired.”

    Doctors recommend an average of 6-8 hours of sleep because sleep helps human beings cope with every day stress. When overwhelmed or experiencing a shift in mood, sleep (or the lack of it) is usually the first clue that something is not right. If you start waking up a lot earlier than usual without the help of an alarm clock, seek help. Early morning wakening (EMW) is a symptom of depression that should not be ignored. Other obvious signs include difficulty falling asleep and trouble staying asleep.



    “No, thank you. I’m not hungry.”

    When feeling blue, people often forget to eat or lose their appetites. In order to stay healthy efficient human beings, it is vital to eat nourishing meals throughout the day. If you notice a change in your appetite or are experiencing a drastic and inexplicable weight loss, your mood may be impairing your hunger.



    “Sorry, could you please repeat that?”

    When depression sets in, regardless how hard you may try to fight it, it is often extra difficult to concentrate. Experiencing a change in drive and clarity at school or work or forgetting everyday conversations and events may be good reasons to seek professional help.



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    “Why don’t I love the things I once enjoyed anymore?”

    People experiencing clinal depressive episodes report an inability to derive pleasure from previously pleasurable activities. If playing tennis, hanging out with friends, or watching re-runs of your favorite show on Netflix is no longer your go-to Saturday morning activity, it is important to monitor this change seriously. Anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure) is a symptom of depression and subsequent sign that professional help is needed.



    “Maybe life just isn’t worth it.”

    While people don’t openly talk about suicidal thoughts, they’re more common than you think. Once depression sets in, passive thoughts like, “I wish I didn’t wake up this morning,” or active thoughts that include an intent and plan to die, may present itself for the first time and worsen with frequency. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is vital to seek help immediately. You can seek out your local emergency department, family physician, or help line for assistance. Remember, you are not alone!



  • TheLoDown