Why My New House Plants Are Good For The Soul

Ahoy from Los Angeles! Yes, I made the move west (I’ll write the blog post on why at some point as I know many of you have asked me to fill ya in) and I hate to break it to my New York besties, but…it’s pretty nice here. 

Alas, that’s not the point of today’s diary entry. Nope, today it’s all about that GREEN. No, not the money, honey – I’m talking plant life, cuties. I started bringing plants galore into my homes back east just for a taste of some nature and the result was a happier home in many aspects.

Now that I’m settling in here in Los Angeles, the same mindset applies. Though I have a beautiful garden (that I’m writing this piece in now actually) it’s still remarkably soothing to the eye to have greenery from Mother Nature surrounding you at all times. What hits the eye then transfers to the soul, and when you’re feeling good from the inside out, you’re probably looking good too. Let’s not count out the actual oxygen being released from these beauties as well; your skin may actually benefit from having an abundance of plants in your home!

My strategy this time around was simple yet specific, as it’s the third or fourth time I’ve gone down this road by now. I wanted plants that were

  • reasonably priced (no $300 trees this time around),
  • unique enough that my neighbor and best friend won’t also have them,
  • easy to keep alive,
  • and looked nice with really interesting pot holders (I mostly went with affordable baskets).

With that in mind I headed over to Rolling Green in Culver City – definitely not the cheapest joint in town, but a place with truly beautiful plants, deals to be found, and a fabulous selection (they deliver too which is nice).

A quick note about fiddle-leaf figs before you meet my new plants – if you’re heading out the door to make a purchase right now I’d pass on this lovely tree. Yes, they’re nice to look at, if you can keep it alive. If you can’t, you’ve dropped $250 minimum on a super trendy tree that’s on it’s 14th minute of fame. Pick something unique that you love, and skip this fussy green. Just my humble opinion as the previous owner of a fiddle leaf I left back in New York City.

Now, it’s time for introductions…

The Clusia

 Clusia, 14 inches, $215
Clusia, 14 inches, $215

Hello, gorgeous! What a special plant this clusia is, no? The leaves feel rubbery, the color is a miraculous green, and it fills space so nicely. It’s also unexpected – there were only a few and I was happy to snag one. To keep your clusia happy, it wants a lot of direct light, regular watering, and warm indoor temperatures. It may even flower!

The Ficus Benghalensis

 Ficus Benghalensis, 14 inch, $165
Ficus Benghalensis, 14 inch, $165

At $165, this beautiful, big ficus tree is my favorite for my new home. It’s living in my bedroom in a sunny corner, just waiting to be loved every morning. I love how spread out this tree is; it feels sexy, like you want to gaze at it for a few minutes every once in a while. The leaves are a wonderfully elegant pale green color, and it’s a fig tree that’s not very well known (exactly what I wanted). It likes bright, indirect sunlight or bright shade, regular water and misting, and average to warm temperatures. If the leaves start to fall off, you’re probably overwatering it!

The Festuca

 Festuca, $12.50 / Basket, $8.50
Festuca, $12.50 / Basket, $8.50

Is Festuca gorgina or WHAT!? I picked up two festuca plants, not just because of the price, but because of how fun and deliberately different they are. They run a cool bluish shade of green gray (does that even make sense?) and are essentially a grassy shrub. It’s typically an outdoor plant, but I’ve heard this one can make the leap indoors with enough care so I’ve giving it a try. They want sunlight and water. If they die, I’ll pick something else and keep you updated. For now, I’m obsessed with them.

Assorted Succulents

 Cactus, $14.50 / Basket $25
Cactus, $14.50 / Basket $25

I planted this little baby myself in this fun black and neutral basket with a bit of light colored reindeer moss. I think it came out rather nice, and I keep getting compliments on it from friends that come through. It needs sunlight and a bit of watering now and then. That’s it!

 Succulent, $14.50 / Basket, $8.50
Succulent, $14.50 / Basket, $8.50

Last but not least, I picked up this fun succulent to sit on my kitchen counter and keep me entertained while I deep-fry doughnuts or whatever else I may be whipping up. Succulents are hard to kill, people. They mostly just need sunlight and some water every once in a while. If you travel a lot or forget to water your plants, this one is right up your alley.

Now that I’ve gotten most of my indoor plants taken care of, I can’t wait to tackle my garden. There is already a fab tangerine tree that’s fully matured and gives off the tastiest fruit (it also comes with my new pet squirrel, Pam, that hovers over it all day long) along with beautiful flowering plants and shrubs. I absolutely see a herb and veggie garden in my future out there. Getting in touch with nature is perhaps the best way to truly feel like a human, connected to the earth, disconnected from our devices. Give it a try – you’ll love the way you look and feel after you spend some QT with some greenery!


How I Left My Dairy Life Behind

Hi, everyone. I’m Eliza and I used to be a self-proclaimed dairy addict. In fact, I always took my coffee, extra light, with cream. Whenever I could, I would season my meals with an overabundance of cheese. And, truth be told, I had this special bond with full-fat dairy yogurt. But, one day, I decided to leave that life behind in pursuit of a dairy-free diet. This is my story.
Continue reading “How I Left My Dairy Life Behind”

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.
Continue reading “4 Steam Room Etiquette Tips You Must Know”

Your Guide to Essential Oils

[title subtitle=”A guide to essential oils”]Inhale, Exhale[/title] It’s no secret I struggle with anxiety. Whether it from personal relationships, over-stimulation, abrupt changes, living in the city, or too many hours spent on my phone, my anxiety has this uncanny way of creeping up and grabbing hold. And, more often than not, these unpleasant encounters cause me to lose my sense of self.

That said, I’m so happy mental health is becoming more of a public discourse. I am living proof that everyone, at one point or another, has or will struggle with issues regarding their mental wellbeing. You know the quote, “Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind?” Well, those words ring true. People can be very skilled at hiding their feelings.

In hopes of helping me combat my anxiety, my mom introduced me to essential oils. I now rarely leave the house without a vial in my purse or a dab behind my ears. I hope that by sharing what I know, I can help you too! It’s important to use public spaces like ours to start and continue these difficult but necessary conversations.

[separator type=”thin”] [title subtitle=””]What are Essential Oils?[/title]

Essential oils are oils extracted from the bark, leaf, root, seed or flower of a plant through processes like cold pressing or stem distillation. The resulting liquid (oil) is highly concentrated. One drop reaps many health benefits. When purchasing essential oils, it is important to only buy the pure therapeutic-grade ones.

[separator type=”thin”] [title subtitle=””]How do they work?[/title]

Because essential oils are made up of smaller molecules, it seeps into the skin easily when topically applied. When used aromatically, the blood vessels in your lungs absorb the oil and your blood circulates it throughout the rest of your body.

I started using essential oils to reduce my anxiety. After seeing positive results, I started experimenting with different ways to incorporate them into my daily routine. You can say that I’m mildy obsessed. There’s something very fulfilling about conscientiously working towards a healthier me. There is SO much to learn about these oils and about a billion different ways to use them. It really depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re interested in doing more research, this is a great place to start!

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[title subtitle=””]How do you use them?[/title]

You should always read the dilution instructions! Remember, different oils have different uses and those uses are generally non-transferable.

1. Topically

  • Apply 2-3 drops directly onto your skin and massage.
  • To cover larger surface areas, pair the essential oil of choice with a carrier oil. Note: Not all carrier oils maintain essential oil properties when mixed together. For that reason, I personally recommend pairing with only coconut oil or olive oil. 

2. Aromatically

  • Rub 2-3 drops between your palms and cup your hands. Place your hands over your nose and take a long, slow inhale.
  • Add 2-3 drops into a bowl of hot water. Place a towel over your head and hover your face over the bowl. The idea is to trap the rising steam with your towel. Again, concentrate on your breath. Inhale in and exhale out.
  • Use a diffuser. My favorite way.
  • Add 2-3 drops to my bubble bath. Hello, at-home spa!

3. Ingestion

  • Place 2-3 drops into a gelatin capsule and swallow with water.
  • Add 1–2 drops to a glass of water.
  • Cook with 1–2 drops.
[separator type=”thin”] [title subtitle=””]My Favorites[/title] [infobox subtitle=”” bg=”purple” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”30″ link=”no link”]Lavender[/infobox]

Lavender essential oil is commonly used to promote balance and relaxation. It can also help with skin irritations. It smells divine. I usually add 3 drops to my diffuser before I go to sleep. The diffuser automatically shuts off when there’s no water left, so it’s totally safe! I’ve also been known to add a drop of it to my night-time moisturizer. Sometimes I dilute it in a spray bottle and spray it on my pillows. Can you tell that this is my favorite scent?

[infobox subtitle=”” bg=”yellow” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”30″ link=”no link”]Stress Away[/infobox]

This unique oil blend from Young Living was the introductory oil my mom gave me. I use it when I study and when I work. The oil has lime and vanilla notes. It also has lavender and copaiba to help reduce mental rigidity and encourage balance within the body. The cedrol found in cedar wood and the eugenol found in vanilla work together to increase feelings of relaxation and reduce the body’s nervous tension.

[infobox subtitle=”” bg=”red” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”30″ link=”no link”]Peppermint[/infobox]

When applied topically (typically to the back of your neck), peppermint oil instantly cools the skin. When diffused or added to a bath, it awakens all of your senses. I use this oil whenever I need an extra boost!

[infobox subtitle=”” bg=”green” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”30″ link=”no link”]Wintergreen & Cypress[/infobox]

This combination of oils is great for alleviating muscle pain. I use it to ease the carpal tunnel in my right hand. I add 2 drops of both wintergreen and cypress to coconut oil before applying the mixture to my forearm, wrist, and hand. I do this twice a week. The wintergreen works to cool the area of inflammation and relieve  pain. The cypress works to increase the circulation in the affected area.

[infobox subtitle=”” bg=”orange” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”30″ link=”no link”]Purification & Wild Orange[/infobox]

Purification is another oil blend from Young Living. It’s a combination of citronella, rosemary, lemongrass, tea tree, lavender, and myrtle oil. They work together to eliminate bad odors from anything and everything. Given the underwhelming square footage of my apartment, this blend comes in handy when cooking. I use it with Wild Orange to spray away lingering smells.

[infobox subtitle=”” bg=”brown” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”30″ link=”no link”]Frankincense[/infobox]

Frankincense is said to reconnect you spiritually and encourage you to find your purpose. Many people use it during their yoga or meditation practices to help them find inner peace. You can also add it to your moisturizer to enhance your natural beauty!

If you’re interested in trying out any oils listed above, I recommend visiting Young Living where I purchased all of mine!

 

Featured Image via Tumblr.

How To: Sweat In Style + Giveaway!

Enter to Win!

Working out is never a bummer when you’re rocking sweet new gear at the same time.  Or, perhaps you’re more of an athleisure type of lady instead, running errands and picking up an almond-milk latte in your fitness tights and a leather jacket.  Whatever the case may be, fresh gear is always a must – especially as we head into a new season.

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Wearing Lorna Jane’s Luxe Wrap Pant & Lauper Excel Tank

I’ve been a fan of Lorna Jane for years.  I love the versatility of the fitness line for women: all kinds of pieces in all kinds of colors, with cuts and shapes that are flattering to all.  We’ve done a few giveaways before together and with the weather getting chillier we thought it would be fun to line another up for you, dear reader, right this very second!

I’m obsessed with the Luxe Wrap Pant pictured above – they’re absolutely perfect for a stroll around the neighborhood paired with nice kicks, or for layering on top of tights for when you’re heading out the door in cold weather.  Very Alexander Wang vibey, right?

My favorite new top is the Lauper Excel Tank – finally, a crop tank from a fitness line that isn’t too short or revealing!  My prayers have been answered!  I want it in like 7 more colors (can we make that happen, LJ? Hint, hint!).

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Next question I ask myself often: how many pairs of tights are too many?  Well, when they’re the Be Seen Ankle Biker Tight the answer is NO AMOUNT, EVER.

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Lorna Jane Be Seen Ankle Biker Tight

Like, I’m sorry but how dope are these!  They are everything!  Sexy cut-outs, mesh, black, tight, long?  Hello, gym!!!!  Hello, every place in New York City and beyond!  Hello, Shanghai!

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Lorna Jane Tough Girl Active Jacket

Moving on to some jackets I’m loving right now…the one pictured above is for tough ladies only (you). The camo print on the Tough Girl Active Jacket literally changes my mood as I bound down the street towards my pilates studio.  I feel bold and in charge – the right way to feel on the way to a workout, or anytime really!

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Lorna Jane Night Runner Active Jacket

Finally, lets throw a little COLOR into this mix, shall we?  My favorite piece from all the new goodies on Lorna Jane right now is the Night Runner Active Jacket.  Its cozy, with a nice mesh lining on the inside that’s perfect for layering on top of literally anything.  I love the bright blue color, too.

SO – if you’re digging LJ as much as I am right now, why not enter this sweet little giveaway below?  No reason I can think of not to!  The giveaway is open until October 28th and we’ll notify the winner by email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

SHOP

 

 

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Should I Go Back to School?

As I get older my mind continues to expand, to crave knowledge, and be nimble and busy.  I’ve always loved to be a student and I continue to enhance my education as an adult by taking classes at different universities and trade schools.  I received my undergraduate degree in Art History from UCLA, my degree in the culinary arts from The International Culinary Center (formerly The French Culinary Institute) and now I’m ready for more.  Simply put, I adore learning.  This week’s Dear Lo focuses on the question I ask myself again and again:


Dear Lo,

Should I Go Back to School?

Love, Lo


 

The answer: if you have the time, energy, and desire to do so, YES!  Continuing to learn and develop is essential to my personal growth as a human being and I’m sure yours as well.  Today is my first day back at school in some time, and I couldn’t be more excited.  As you know I love to cook – it’s my passion.  When I began studying at culinary school I also dedicated myself to exercise in an effort to stay slim through the pounds of butter and salt I’d be consuming in class.  When paired together, cooking and exercise really allowed me to love treating my body with kindness in every way.  The next step in my health and wellness evolution is to receive a proper education in nutrition, and that’s the new journey I’m embarking on today.

I’m starting a fantastic program at Tufts University and will receive a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Nutrition early next fall. The program is taught online, is at the graduate level, and will teach me the basic and beyond of nutrition, responsible food sourcing, disease prevention, and overall wellness.  I cannot wait to share what Iearn with all of you.

As part of the admissions process I was asked to write a short personal essay sharing why I want to study Nutrition at Tufts.  I thought it would be fun to share that with you here, and I’ll continue to share my adventures in education with you guys over the course of the next year.  Three cheers to learning, yay!


Imagine this: it’s the fall of 2015 and the moment we’ve all been waiting for (or dreading, depending on who you ask) is upon us.  An alien visitor from a faraway planet­­ has made literal contact with our Earth, landing neatly in Union Square in lower Manhattan.  Ignoring the military presence, the media frenzy, the people with their camera phones, and the religious zealots interpreting the event as the end of times, the alien visitor introduces himself to me as RALPH33 and asks me if I know a good place to grab a bite in this part of the galaxy.

The responsibility I have as an ambassador of Planet Earth dawns on me.  Never before has a single meal held so much meaning; the information I choose to share will influence RALPH33’s perspective on Earth food forever.  And it’s not just the taste, look, and feel that he’ll learn about and remember.  I’m certain that because he’s new to this whole food thing we’ve got going here he’ll also want to know why I chose this meal, how it will interact with his body, whether it helps it or hurts it, the source of the food, and the emotional, cultural, and economic relationship humans have with it.

I want to share only the sweetness of our bounty with him.  To fuel him with clean, whole ingredients.  To teach him that you really are what you eat, and that disease, and mood, and energy, and sickness can be greatly influenced by what you feed your body.  I’d rather RALPH33 not know that we are sick, our planet is sick, and that we’re quickly running out of time to right our wrongs.  But we do have time.  We can create a clean slate.  We have every tool we need at our disposal.  I want to be a part of that movement, to join the era of food enlightenment we’re experiencing as a voice of reason and to teach those around me what I know and learn.  I care about the future of health and wellness and firmly believe that sound nutrition is the foundational core of our society.

My desire to inspire great change began 2 years ago through an intensive culinary program at the International Culinary Center in New York City.  I’ve always been a passionate foodie and chef and wanted to authoritatively expand my personal brand and business by learning to cook at a professional level.  My background is in entertainment, having spent 8 years on television and growing a digital audience of over 2 million individuals.  My program at the ICC also included an intensive look at farm-to-table cuisine, the content curated by Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a leader in the farm-to-table food movement.

I’ve always held food in higher regard than most.  I don’t just consume food – I love it, and part of loving the way it sizzles in a pan and tastes in my mouth comes from having a direct knowledge of the way it will interact with my body.  The food to body relationship is a fascinating one to me, tapping into my love of science, biology, and wellness.  Expanding my knowledge on the subject matter of nutrition science will feed my brain in the same way an excellent egg gives me the energy I need to get through my morning.  I crave information: for myself and to share with others.

My long-term goal upon receiving a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Nutritional Studies from Tufts University is to share the information I learn with my audience around me in a way that inspires them to take action in their own lives.  I’m already creating influential food content with a focus on sustainability and wellness.   To have the opportunity to grow my knowledge of nutrition to create even more meaningful content is critically important in my endeavor to use my influence for good.

Thank you for taking the time to review my personal statement and I hope to have the opportunity to study at Tufts University soon.

 

Image from thekitchn.com