Winter Skincare Essentials

Now that Winter is finally here and the humidity has completely left the air, it’s time for me to change up my skincare routine. My skin is begging for more hydration. This year’s the first year that I’ve actually felt like my skin was really dry. It’s been peeling and flaking (I know, gross) and it’s in need of a serious overhaul.

If you’ve read my earlier post on my skincare routine, you know Dr. Hauschka’s Cleansing Milk and Clarifying Toner are everything to me. However, I’m in need of some additional love. Since that post, I’ve added Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil which has done absolute wonders for my face, so much so that I had to get their Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel as well. So what is squalane and why I am I so on board?

2017 Gift Guide-4

Squalane is a moisturizing molecule that our bodies naturally produce. However, it’s levels severely decrease over time. I chose the Biossance line mostly because they offer eco-friendly, sustainable, plant-based squalane from sugarcane. Yass. I’m all about that. This really skyrocketed my skincare routine moving into fall and winter.

Once temps really began dropping, the cold air wreaked havoc on my skin. I needed further moisturization. Enter Tata Harper Clarifying Moisturizer. Technically this stuff is for oilier skin, but I really like its lightweight, matte feeling. GAME CHANGER. I’ve always loved Tata Harper, but this is the first time I’ve actually used their product continuously, and I just love it.

Winter Skincare Essentials-6

 

Last, but not least, these next two products really were the cherries on top. First, Mun Pure Argan Oil. Get this now. Slather it all over your body, sit back and let your skin soak up all that goodness. Argan oil molecules are much smaller than other oils giving it the ability to sink into the skin quicker. It’s really beneficial for any skin type. Second, the La Tierra Sagrada Hair Treatment I got specifically to nourish my hair and scalp, and boy does it knock it out of the park. With coconut oil, vitamin E, rosemary, palo santo and a selection of other beautiful oils and essences, it helps repair skin and hair damage, balances out imbalances, and moisturizes all at the same time.

Winter Skincare Essentials-8

To say the least, my skincare routine has turned into an all out spa treatment. I honestly look forward to it everyday, not only because all of the products I’m using are clean ingredients, ethically sourced and cruelty-free, but also because it is a way to slow down and get in tune with my body.

**I was not paid to mention any of these brands or products. I truly love and use all of them on a daily basis!

Advertisements

LH 2017 Gift Guide

 

It’s that time of year again. You know, the time between being thankful for those in your life, and giving back to those in your life. The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas I find myself thinking about those who’ve made a difference in my life throughout the year, and how I can send some appreciation their way. In most years I definitely fall under the procrastinator umbrella, running to the store at the last minute to scrape up the last of the gifts. This year, however, all of my shopping is already done, and the majority of my presents are already wrapped! What? Who am I?

So, since I’ve been really on top of it this Christmas, and have done a lot of research leading up to now, I thought I’d offer some of my favorite gift ideas. From your beauty loving best friend to your fitness freak sister, there’s something for everyone. The best part is that everything is under $100! 

I have to note, none of these brands paid me to put their products on my site. These are all just brands and products that I truly love and believe in, and I think anybody would be over-the-moon to receive them this holiday.

For The Traveller

  1. All Birds x Outdoor Voices Wool Runners 
  2. Cuyana Alpaca Scarf
  3. Cuyana Classic Passport Case
  4. Ursa Major Traveller Skincare Kit
  5. Everlane Modern Commuter Backpack
  6. Everlane Bomber Jacket

 

For The Workaholic

  1. Appointed Planner Gift Set
  2. Cuyana Leather iPad Sleeve
  3. Appointed 2018 Wall Calendar
  4. Komono Estelle Deco Watch

 

For The Homebody

  1. Cuyana Pima Long Sleep Set
  2. Standard Wax Reed Diffuser
  3. Pair of Thieves Wool Socks
  4. Farmhouse Pottery Vermont Wood Candle & Gift Box
  5. Parachute Home Classic Bathrobe
  6. Jenni Kayne Cedar Candle
  7. Maison Louis Marie No.9 Vallée de Farney Candle

 

For The Beauty Lover

  1. Biossance Head-To-Toe Hydration
  2. Herbivore Botanicals Coco Rose
  3. Biossance Face & Body Brush
  4. Ilia Love Me Do Gift Set
  5. Maison Louis Marie No.04 Bois de Ballincourt

 

For The Fitness Lover

  1. Alo Yoga Ripped Warrior Bra
  2. Outdoor Voices 7/8 Springs Legging
  3. Nike Juvenate Sneaker
  4. S’well Smokey Quartz bottle
  5. Alo Yoga Mat

 

For Him

  1. Herschel Studio Dopp Kit
  2. Norse Projects Lambswool Scarf
  3. Ursa Major Shave Set
  4. Komono Winston Deco Watch
  5. New Balance 247 Knit Sneaker

 

Happy Holidays!

SaveSave

René Redzepi Is Working Out, And Why You Should Be Too

A few days ago Men’s Journal came out with an article about the importance of exercise for those with high stress, intense jobs, like chefs. It detailed how chef René Redzepi, of Noma, started feeling stronger and more energetic in the kitchen and at home once he began working out. “A few years into this, I started noticing that I was incredibly exhausted. I felt so drained on weekends, I didn’t have the capacity to do anything. Even creative work made me tired — I was tired all the time,” he said.

Wellbeing is a hot topic right now in the restaurant industry, but has been mainly focused on mental illness and tough working conditions. Restaurants can take a huge toll on one’s mind and body, and if we don’t do something about it, it can quite literally kill us. It’s so important to not just take care of our mental stability, but also our physical one as well. There are many healthy benefits to exercise that can combat these rigorous tolls restaurants have on us. It alleviates stress and anxiety, can help you tap into creativity, and can help control addiction.

I’ve been working in restaurants for almost 10 years now. I would have these ebbs and flows of working out and then taking months off. I could always tell the difference in my energy levels, nutrition, and performance at work when I wasn’t doing some sort of physical activity. I would sleep in late, drink more alcohol, be bothered by small guest requests, and overall make more and more exceptions to my healthy lifestyle.

In the past, my workout of choice was running. I would run every day for about 2 months, take some time off, feel like crap, then start running again. It really wasn’t sustainable for me as a work out, mainly because I hate running and so does my body. Since playing soccer for so long, my knees are weaker than I’d like, so after a while I’d start taking more and more days off from running so I didn’t aggravate them. After about 6 months of feeling like complete crap, I decided to join a yoga studio.

REV-A-LATION.

I took yoga when I was in high school to supplement my soccer workouts, but I never took it seriously and rarely thought about it once I was in college. However, I learned quickly, that yoga was not just about meditation and relaxation. There were days when I was sweating so much I couldn’t see, days when my arms were so sore I could barely hold an empty tray. Yoga was much gentler on my body, but demanded much more focus,  thus much more sustainable for me to continue. The results came slower than they did when I was running, but I’m much happier with them. I’ve been practicing yoga for over 3 years now, and it has become a sort of release for me. It has completely changed the way I work both mentally and physically. I don’t get heated over people’s mistakes, which gives me a much clearer mind to work to find solutions quickly.

While I am fully aware that yoga is not for everyone, I do think that those of us that work in such intense and stressful environments need to find something physically challenging that will in turn empower some mental positivity. It could be running, boxing, rock climbing, cycling or yoga. What matters is balancing out that intense part of your life with something that makes you stronger in mind and body.

I would love to hear some of your favorite ways to release stress!

A Refreshing Lemon-Ginger Soda To Cool You Off

Summer in Chicago means a few things: patios, beaches and hot, muggy weather. I feel like I’m constantly searching for the next refreshing drink to cool me down, and let me relax outside for a bit longer. I came up with this recipe on a whim with ingredients I had laying around the house, and it was so good I had to share it. I’ve literally been drinking it every single day. While it’s non-alcoholic, if you add a bit of vodka or even gin, it would work fantastic as a cocktail!

Ginger-Lemon Mocktail-5

 

 

Lemon-Ginger Soda

2oz. Lemon-Ginger Syrup (see recipe below)
3oz. Ginger Kombucha
splash of sparkling water
juice from 1/4 of a lemon

Mix the syrup, kombucha and lemon juice together over ice. Top with sparkling water! Yes, it’s that easy.

 

Lemon-Ginger Syrup

1/4c. dried lavender
3/4c. honey
1in. piece of ginger, peeled and diced
3c. water
Juice of 1 lemon

Add everything but the lemon juice to a pot and bring up to a boil. As soon as the edges start to boil, turn heat down and cover. Simmer for 5 minutes. Take the syrup off of the heat and let sit, covered, for another 10-15 minutes. Strain the syrup and add the lemon juice.

A Sister-Bonding Road Trip Around The Western U.S.

I will be the first to say that I love road trips. It is the perfect way to more deeply explore an area, region or country. It really lets you connect, especially when you’re spending nearly every night outside, under the stars, like we were. There’s no one I would have wanted to be holed up in a car/tent with for two weeks, more than my very own sister. I realize just how lucky I am to have a sister who also happens to be my best friend. The trip really wouldn’t have been the same were I traveling with any one else. We’re already planning our next adventure!

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Edited Roadtrip-2

 

 

I met her in Denver to begin the first leg of our trip. We woke up at 4:30am the first day to prepare for an almost 12 hour drive to the north end of Yellowstone National Park. We were determined to make it there before dark, giving us time to set up our campsite, and allowing for various stops along the way (gas, food, pictures, just because). While each stop on our route was momentous, it was the turnouts, pull offs and detours that really made the trek extra special. Finding forgotten homes built inside rocks, canyons within agricultural fields, and rivers to dip our toes in made driving at least 6 hours every day tolerable, if not enjoyable. These stops gave me a chance to spend time discovering places like Hebgen and Ennis Lakes in Montana – places I look forward to visiting again.

Edited Roadtrip

Edited Roadtrip-6

Edited Roadtrip-5

The temperatures rose everyday. By the time we made it to the halfway point in our trip, the mercury levels were consistently hitting 100F or higher. By the time we made it to our final destination in Moab, Utah, the temperature was sitting at 106F. Even with the A/C in our car blasting, we still felt the need to pull over to Every. Single. Lake we passed by (or drove out of the way to) for a quick swim. We were in the water so often, our bathing suits quite literally became our mainstay clothes. It was the first thing we put on in the morning because we knew, waking up to temps over 80F, diving into ice cold alpine lakes was the only thing that would be on our minds. Well, that and how much longer until the coffee is brewed.

iphone roadtrip radar in oregon

iphone roadtrip hebgen lake

It wasn’t difficult to separate job duties, seeing as my sister is a fairly seasoned camper, and I work in restaurants. Naturally, she would set up camp (and usually help start the fire), and I would cook, wash dishes, and clean out the cooler. After the first few days, either one of us could set up or break down camp by ourselves, and in record time. We only took the bare essentials out of the car, and packed as much as possible the night before, so we could get on the road early the next day.

Processed with VSCO with c8 preset

Edited Roadtrip-18

Edited Roadtrip-11

iphone roadtrip tent

As far as cooking goes, I highly recommend to do some major meal prep before you leave, especially if you’re not planning on staying one place. A package of tortillas became a lifesaver. From breakfast burritos, to everyday burritos, we basically wrapped all our food up in a fire kissed tortilla. We prepped lots of brown rice, black beans, corn, and roasted chicken breasts, that produced several tasty meals for us. Bacon and egg sandwiches were another perfect protein-packed breakfast. Of course, there was coffee. Lots of coffee. It was really the only thing that got me out of bed. Being the intelligent adventurer that my sister is, she brought a little butane stove and cook set that made making coffee in the morning so easy – no need to start a fire. The best part about meal prep and planning was that we never stopped for fast food or even gas station food the entire trip. We had snacks (almonds, carrots and hummus, and organic gummy bears for my sister) ready to go for when we got a little too hangry. The only stops we made were for gas, coffee, and restrooms.

Edited Roadtrip-20

Edited Roadtrip-8

I still can’t believe the different terrain we saw. I feel like I’ve seen every type of mountain, hill, grassland, lake and river. Our wildlife checklists seemed to fill up pretty quick as well – bison, elk, antelope, rattlesnakes, bald eagles…

 Our trip course was: Denver, CO – Grand Tetons & Yellowstone, WY – Big Sky, MT – Lolo National Forest, ID – Yakima Valley, WA – Whitman Wallowa National Forest, OR – Lucky Peak, ID – Wasatch National Forest, UT – Moab, UT – Denver, CO

Edited Roadtrip-14

Edited Roadtrip-9

I was most surprised by how much I loved staying on the Lochsa River in the Lolo National Forest in northern Idaho. It’s about an hour drive from downtown Missoula, MT, and feels like you’ve been lost in the forest for days. The trees around our campsite were massive, at around 90-100ft tall. We found river access to the Lochsa, and sat on the rocks just off shore for hours watching the sunset. About every half hour I’d look at my sister and say, “I feel like we’re inside National Geographic.” It was an incredible experience and one that I was not expecting. Moab was another one of my absolute favorite parts of the trip. Read about all of my favorite desert details here.

Edited Roadtrip-29

Edited Roadtrip-7

Moab_-15Moab_-23

 

A Two Day Guide To Moab, Utah

I’ve had several friends and family visit Moab, Utah recently and just rave about it. It’s been a bucket list trip of mine for a while, and their encouragement really drove me to find a way to fit it into my recent road trip around the Western U.S.. My excitement to experience this red hot, desert town had been building for several months. So once I finally got there, to say I wasn’t disappointed would be a massive understatement. It was another world. Literally. I felt like I was on Mars.
My sister and I drove into town having spent the last seven days sleeping in a tent in various National Parks throughout the Western U.S. We were exhausted, sore, malnourished, and completely over the constant 100+ degree weather we’d been experience the last 5 days of our trip. So you know, here comes Moab, dead center of the desert, 106 degrees, with rocks and red dust EVERYWHERE. It was probably my worst nightmare at that moment. However, as Wu-Tang Clan was heaving from our speakers, we became glued to the increasingly foreign landscape. I felt like I had entered a John Wayne movie, which was fitting, since many of them were filmed there.
Moab_-11
Moab_-8
Moab_-14
By some act of God, my sister had had the brilliant idea of booking an air-conditioned Airbnb, so we could leave her dog there while we explored the area’s famous rock formations. It was a serious lifesaver. I think I might’ve died if I had to sleep outside. My skin would have, literally, melted off my body. It was so hot that when it appeared to be raining above, the drops would actually evaporate before reaching us or the ground. Our little house was an A-frame log cabin in the middle of the desert backed up to The Rim which runs along the Main St in Moab. It was the perfect size and had all of the amenities we needed – basically, a shower, a bed, and A/C.
Moab_-12
Moab_
Moab_-5
Moab_-2
Moab_-7
Again, with some sheer intuition, we decided to enter Arches National Park around 6:30pm (2 hours before sunset). We just couldn’t imagine hiking in the direct sunlight, and according to the locals, that was the perfect plan.  We passed the soaring skyscraper-like monuments of Park View, which were more impressive than NYC. We drove our way out to the Delicate Arch, one of the parks most popular attractions. Most of the rock formations in the park are viewable from your car, or from a short walk from the car door. Please take note, Delicate Arch is NOT. We were severely unprepared for the almost 2 mile hike up basically a mountain in dry 95 degree weather with dwindling water supplies. If I ever thought I was going to die, that was the moment. The craziest part was that there were families pushing strollers next to us, and even a lady in a dress and heels. WTF?! I couldn’t. The hike went on, and on, and on. When we asked a passerby how much further to the monument, he answered, “oh you’re not even half way!”. Puke. But we made it up, and watched the sun set on the red world below us. It was unreal. Then, like magic, it seemed like the same sun was rising from the East. Obviously it wasn’t the sun, but it was the largest, orangest full moon I’ve ever seen in my life. That experience was unforgettable. Little did I know I would have many more of those kinds of moments in the next few days.
Moab_-4
Moab_-18
Moab_-21
We woke up the next morning before sunrise. No, it was not easy, but was well worth it. We necessarily made coffee, filled up our Camelbacks with extra water reserves and drove into the peaking sunrise with our bikes. We spent the next few hours riding our up and down the Scenic Byway along the Colorado River. There were several stops for photo ops, and to see the Petroglyphs and apparent Dinosaur tracks (these are very cool, and some of the Petroglyphs date to 6,000 B.C.!!). The sunrise was, of course, stunning. The red, rusty canyons around us made it feel like we were standing inside the flames of Hell. We got home with a few hours to spare before meeting up with a local friend for some rafting down the river. If you are ever visiting Moab, a white water rafting trip is a MUST, especially if you’re there during the sadistic summer months. We were lucky enough to be invited on a trip with a friend of my sisters who just happens to be a rafting instructor in the area. We spent 6 hours kayaking through rapids, lazily floating, drinking beer, and swimming in the eddies. The views of the massive rock walls were exponentially amplified from the river. I cannot express enough how amazing that experience was. There are several great rafting companies in the area, so you really can’t go wrong.
Moab_-26
Moab_
Moab_-25
Moab_-9
Moab_-17
Moab_-22
Unfortunately, we only spent two short days in Moab, but there is so much to do and see that you’ll find yourself collapsing into your bed at the end of the day. I will definitely be visiting again, but this time, with the recommendation of the locals, I’ll be heading there in the fall! Here are some of my recommendations if and when you visit this special place:
Stay – Moab Under Canvas, there are also an assortment of great Airbnb’s, but if you’re not visiting in the dead of summer, camping is a great option.

Shop – Moab Made, Pagan Mountaineering

EatMoab Diner, Sabaku Sushi, Sunset Grill, Milt’s Stop & Eat

DrinkMoab Brewery, Woody’s Tavern

Activities – Rafting/Climbing: Navtec;  Hiking: Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Mill Creek

 

 

 

 

 

A Round Up Of The Best Blog Posts To Kick Your Wanderlust Into High Gear

In a few weeks I’m headed out West to Denver on Saturday to begin a 10-day road trip around the Western United States.  I’m meeting my sister, who lives in Denver, and we’re camping our way up through Yellowstone, and Big Sky, out to Yakima Valley in Washington, and back down through Idaho and Utah. It’s a fairly extensive and intensive trip, and the majority of the sites we’re planning on staying at are secluded in the mountains.

I’m as excited as ever, but as the dates are approaching, I’m quickly remembering that the last time I went camping was in Northern Michigan when I was 9. I’ve been living a very urban life ever since, and I really have no idea what I’m getting myself into. Thankfully, my confident, outdoorsy sister camps almost every weekend in Colorado. She is 100% spearheading this entire trip, from packing to campgrounds, while I’m just trying not to forget to pack a toothbrush.

Telluride 6.27.17-43

Nonetheless, I’m in complete wanderlust right now, and have been obsessively digging through the internet for inspiration for our trip, from places to see along the way to what to cook. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite posts I’ve come across to really kick anyone’s cravings to get outside into high gear.

  1. 9 Of The Best Places to Pitch a Tent Across the United States

  2. 6 Scenic Drives In Moab That DON’T Require 4-Wheel Drive
  3. A Road Trip Along The US West Coast
  4. A Trip Through The Pacific Northwest
  5. Why Going On A Road Trip Can Get You Unstuck
  6. 5 Places To Visit On Your Oregon Road Trip