Self Care

10 Books Everyone Should Read

I’m chuckling to myself thinking about when I first started reading self help books – it all started about 3 years ago.  I got SUPER into them and like, wanted to read every self help book under the sun for about a year straight.  Every week it was a new Amazon box full of self help books!!!!  I spent my weekends holed up in the bathtub or curled up on my couch, reading and reading and reading. I had been single for about a year, and dated a TON prior to that, and was just over dating and all of the bullshit in general.  Instead of constantly going out, I buried myself in my books and went on a deep soul searching dive.  I was sooooo curious – absorbing everything I was reading about and learning like a sponge.  I had some really eye opening, enlightening moments after reading excerpts from these books – and I still utilize a ton of what I’ve learned in my life today, so I wanted to share these life changing books with you! On a side note – I now go in waves of reading self help books and reading in general.  I feel like you do need to be in the mood or in the right headspace to get into some of these books.  Keep an open mind and just see which books connect with you and draw you in.  Not every best selling, self help book that I’ve ordered has jived with me – and that’s ok.   If a particular book doesn’t jive with you, please don’t throw in the towel for all self help books!  Skim through a few different ones and feel ’em out! Self Help Books1 – DVF’s The Woman I Wanted To BeThis is such a quick read and super inspiring especially if you love fashion/are in the industry and idolize Diane Von Furstenberg like I do.  She’s an extremely resilient woman and embraces the ups and downs she’s faced in life.  I love that she has made it her life mission to empower women – she’s one of my greatest role models and I am still pinching myself that I got to meet her inside her apartment! 2 – The SecretThis is a book that I truly think everyone should read and will enjoy.  It’s also a fairly quick read and shares simple life principals that we can all be more aware of and implement in our lives to thrive! 3 – The 5 Love LanguagesHoly crap talk about awakening and a-ha moments!  This book does not only apply to romantic relationships but will help you have a better understanding about your relationships with friends and family.  A definite must. 4- The Drama of the Gifted ChildThis book really helped me work through some unresolved feelings I had in regards to my childhood and my relationship with my parents.  I had a great childhood and I have a wonderful relationship with both of my parents, but of course, like anyone – there’s always family drama or sometimes uncomfortable family dynamics that go on.  No one’s family is perfect!  Everything made a bit more sense after I read this – it’s a classic in the self help, family relationship world. 5 – Lean InI really enjoyed this book and felt empowered knowing I wasn’t alone as a woman in the workplace.  Sheryl offers some great insight and tips with regards of how to carry yourself and handle certain situations at an office. 6 – Daring GreatlyBrene Brown is one of the #1 best selling self help authors.  Her books are incredible and really helped me open up and become more vulnerable. 7 – The Gifts of ImperfectionAnother Brene Brown book that I loved.  This is a great one especially if you are a perfectionist, type A personality like I am. 8 – Men are from Mars, Women are from VenusThis book possesses all of the answers to understanding and communicating with the opposite sex!!!  It’s so on point.  An absolute must read for interpersonal relationships. 9 – Eastern Body Western MindThis book took me a while to get into.  It’s so thick and starts out slow and is kind of serious at first…lol.  But I am so glad I stuck with it, and slowly worked my way through it.  I had some major wake up calls, enlightening moments and can honestly say this book changed my life.  Highly recommend. 10 – Love Style LifeThis is a coffee table book/autobiography/short and sweet self help style book.  Another great book for any woman – but particularly if you have an interest in the fashion industry and love Garance Dore as much as I do!  She’s so real, so cool, so laid back, and her journey to success in the fashion industry is truly inspiring.  I love the way she makes fun of herself and of other bloggers – she will make you laugh and give you honest insight into the world of fashion blogging!!! Other books I love; 10% Happier, I’ll Drink To That, and Grace.   The last two are not self help books, but just quick, fun reads that are great to travel with, will make you laugh and inspire you.  Speaking of Grace – my dear friend Grace of The Stripe always has the best book recommendations!!!  What are some of your favorite self help books?  I’m looking for a new one to dive into! xx
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What I Buy At The Grocery Store

I’ve thoroughly come to enjoy grocery shopping.  I used to loathe it, but with all of the fresh produce here in LA and my newfound love of cooking, I have really come to love it! Today I wanted to share how I navigate the grocery store, how I decide what to get, and a few rules I live by. Honestly, I know grocery shopping can seem overwhelming for some. There are so many options and so many labels jumping out at you. “Buy me! I am healthy! I’m gluten free! I’m low in calories!”  It can really be quite confusing – like what is actually healthy?!  So here are my tips for grocery shopping and everything to look out for/steer clear of! I buy as many fruits + veggies at my locals farmer’s market as possible before going to the grocery storeThis allows me to eat fresh, seasonal produce and get the maximum amount of nutrients and flavor from my fruits + veggies.  Farmer’s market produce tastes 20 million times better because it’s truly fresh.  Most of the farmers pick the produce that morning or a few days prior to selling it .  Have you ever bitten into a farmer’s market peach and then a peach from the grocery store?  The difference is HUGE.  Did you know that some produce at grocery stores such as apples, could be a year old?  Yep – that’s right – do a little research and see for yourself.   wild caught fishI was getting a salad with delicious salmon on it from one of my favorite restaurants here in LA for lunch a few times a week, but felt sick and inflamed every time I ate it.  I couldn’t figure out why – the salad was so healthy with minimal ingredients, but then I asked them if their fish was wild caught and they said no it was farm raised.  Farm raised fish is bad for you – I don’t care how someone spins it and says they were humanely raised or raised in a “nice farm environment” – whatever – the facts are the facts; farm raised fish is full of toxins.  Most restaurants serve farm raised fish because it’s cheaper, so when I eat out, I only eat fish at restaurants that say it’s wild caught, otherwise I order something else.  Yes wild caught fish is significantly more expensive, BUT you cannot put a price on your health.  I often buy fish at my local farmer’s market and I’ve heard Costco has great wild caught fish! organic produce and meatI don’t eat red meat, so I only buy organic chicken which has fewer/to no antibiotics and hormones, and then organic fruits + veggies have fewer pesticides. I don’t buy a ton of pre-packaged, processed stuffBecause most of it really is crap!  I don’t care how healthy it says it is on the box, how few calories it says, how gluten free it is – whatever – if it’s in a box, it’s been processed which instantly diminishes the nutritional value and is probably loaded with chemicals that will make me bloated.  If something is in a box that I need/want like crackers or pasta – I always read the ingredients.  If something has more than 5 ingredients I usually won’t buy it and if there are any ingredients/chemicals like guar gum or carragenean which are known gut irritants I stay far away from it.  You will find fillers like this in “healthy” yogurts, almond milks, gluten free baked goods, etc too so BEWARE.  As consumers, we must be more savvy because the food industry is soooo sneaky!  You can check out my favorite snacks with under 5 ingredients here! I steer clear of gluten free baked goodsThey seem so tempting and healthy, but honestly, most of them are not healthier than a regular ol’ baked good and often make my stomach hurt more than just eating the real deal!  So don’t let these fool you and always look at the ingredients.  Common gut irritants like brown rice syrup and gums/filllers are often in them.  If you really want a croissant, I say, just eat the real thing every once in a while!!!!  And go to a delicious, high quality, authentic bakery to get one – and savor it! I don’t buy pre-made lunch/dinner items from the deli counterWhy?  Have you ever looked at the ingredients in any of the side dishes that are in the case at somewhere like the Whole Foods deli counter?!  Here’s what’s in something a simple like their mac and cheese: Pasta (durum wheat semolina, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Alfredo Sauce (milk, water, cream, romano cheese [pasteurized cow’s milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes, powdered cellulose (anit-caking)], parmesan cheese [pasteurized part-skim milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes], modified cornstarch, enriched flour [wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], garlic, butter [cream, salt], cultured dextrose, salt, parmesan cheese flavor [parmesan cheese (pasteurized milk, cultures, salt, enzymes), water, salt, disodium phosphate], spice, citric acid), Whole Milk, Cheddar Cheese (cultured pasteurized milk, salt, microbial enzymes, annatto [for color]), Monterey Jack Cheese (cultured pasteurized milk, salt, microbial enzymes), Panko Bread Crumbs (unbleached wheat flour, natural cane sugar, yeast, sea salt), Cream (heavy cream, carrageenan, mono & diglycerides, polysorbate 80), Parmesan Cheese (pasteurized part skim cow’s milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes, powdered cellulose added [to prevent caking]), Salt.  WOAH all of that crap – just for simple mac and cheese?  NO THANKS!!!!  Beware of “simple” seemingly harmless meat and fish sides too – most grocery stores or delis cook with canola or sunflower oil because it’s cheaper than olive oil, but canola and sunflower oil are not good for you.  I get that not everyone has the time, money, or desire to cook – but seriously, buy an Instant Pot and you’ll have a full blown, delicious meal – minus all of these crazy ingredients – in 15 minutes or less. Here’s what I DO BUY!Basil – for my easy 2 minute homemade pesto Pine nuts – for my easy 2 minute homemade pesto Olive oil – high quality – check your labels/research the brand they’re not all the samePink sea saltYellow popcorn kernelsCoconut oilMaple syrup or coconut nectar (my two sweeteners of choice)Gluten free soy sauce Dijon mustard Lemons Ginger Sweet potatoes (not yams) Romaine lettuce (if I don’t eat it as a salad, it can go in my juicer so it’s never wasted!) Organic chicken breast Wild caught salmonWhite basmati riceKelp noodles Chicken broth (make sure to check the ingredients and make sure it doesn’t have sneaky cane sugar in there!) Coconut milk Jicama, rice paper wraps, or corn tortillasNohmad chocolate Zucchini Carrots Artichokes Asparagus (dip them in little mayo mixed with soy sauce – sounds gross, but trust me it’s a delish aioli) Fennel Broccolini Broccoli Celery Cucumber Parsley Green apple Broccoli sprouts (one of the most nutritious, anti cancer things you can eat) Bok choyFlackersSeaweed seasnaxCoconut butter cups When I’m on my period I eat a ton of butternut squash.I make butternut squash mac and cheese with this yummy 1 ingredient gluten free rice pasta (which btw is not this expensive at my local market Erewhon!)  If you are wondering why – it’s called cycle syncing and I think every woman should read Flo Living.  Other than that, I just rotate what I make for lunch and dinner with the items listed above. I’ll have things like chicken noodle soup with kelp noodles from my Instant Pot, or zucchini noodles with pesto and salmon, teriyaki flavored salmon bowls with white rice and veggies, or chicken tacos.  For breakfast I always have a green juice with broccoli, fennel, celery, cucumber and green apple (sometimes I throw in sprouts or parsley.)  If I’m hungry an hour later, I’ll have a sweet potato with coconut oil and pink sea salt.  For snacks I have any of these options. I really try to listen to my body and if I am craving a particular thing that week I get it.  If I want a glutenous loaf of bread I eat it.  If I want a huge chocolate chip cookie I eat it and truly enjoy it.  I just make sure anything I eat is made of REAL, whole ingredients!  What food items do you love picking up at the grocery store?!
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Common Causes of Bloating and Digestion Problems

Happy Wednesday!  I never thought I’d be talking about bloating on here, but it’s something that I’ve personally been dealing with for the past 3 years and after opening up about it on my instastories, I was shocked to learn so many of you have too.  It seems like almost everyone I know these days is suffering from bloating, digestion problems, stomach pain, and/or food sensitivities.  And what’s really sad is that most of us haven’t been able to figure out what’s causing it. Despite seeing countless doctors and trying every diet under the sun! Well, I feel incredibly lucky and grateful to have finally gotten to the bottom of my stomach problems and I wanted to share everything I’ve learned over the past 3 years with you.  I’m a total nerd and when I need an answer to something or am interested in a particular topic. I go on a deep dive and read every article, book or podcast I can get my hands on to find a solution!  I have been able to speak to countless experts in the industry and pour through hundreds of documents to come up with this list for you! Ultimately what really solved my bloating though – was listening to my body, a lot of trial and error, and eliminating foods high in histamine.  As a reminder I am not a doctor and you should consult with yours before making any drastic lifestyle changes! -Raw veggies especially cucumber skin and carrots are hard to digest for some -Beans/legumes/chickpeas -Eating fruit with other food. It should always be eaten on an empty stomach -Probiotics containing lactose or weird additives -Kombucha (at least for me!) -Dairy -Chewing gum -Refined sugar – try an alternative like maple syrup or coconut nectar/sugar -Nuts – if you can tolerate nuts, only eat sprouted or soaked nuts because they are much easier to digest -Gluten free baked goods that you think are healthy but actually have more chemicals in them! -Brown rice syrup (found in many energy bars) -Brown rice – I eat white rice since it’s easier to digest, many say brown is healthier, but my bod just doesn’t digest it as well –Stevia – I got addicted to stevia and it actually increased my sugar cravings and made me feel sick after consuming it regularly –Agave – this is not a healthy sugar alternative -Caffeine -Alcohol – If I do drink, I love Belvedere because it’s the purest vodka -Additives and preservatives in food like guar gum and carrageenan. Basically anything that you can’t pronounce or don’t know what it is and isn’t natural – wreak havoc on my gut – and is found in “healthy” food including almond milk and yogurt too. So read your labels and don’t buy anything with it -Pork –PCOS -You could have SIBO or a parasite -You could have a food sensitivity and not know it (I found out I have a histamine intolerance) –Histamine intolerance -Drinking ice cold beverages. Cold liquids are a major culprit for me so I drink mostly room temperature water, etc. -Carbonated beverages – even Pellegrino -Too much salt (the celery juice craze is real, but celery is very high in salt, so cut the salt content by adding in other veggies with your juice) -Too much fiber and not enough water with it -Not enough water throughout the day -Drinking too much water with a meal. You should technically not drink water 20 minutes before a meal and 1 hour after since it dilutes the digestive enzymes in your tummy, I don’t follow this religiously, but I am mindful not to guzzle water with a meal, or right after a meal – instead I’ll have small sips if I’m dying of thirst –Stress – we hold emotions in our guts -Nightshade sensitivity.  I stay away from tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and mushrooms 90% of the time since they cause inflammation -Supplements/powders that aren’t high quality or that your body just can’t digest/break down – I do not take anything -Not giving your body enough time to digest between meals and grazing throughout the day -Eating too many high FODMAP foods. I love zucchini but it is a high FODMAP so I don’t eat it every single day – it’s crucial to rotate and switch up the food you eat everyday so you can get a wide range of nutrients -Eating spicy foods when your dosha doesn’t align with it – check out Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda to find out your dosha (its been around for almost 5,000 years and is the real deal) -Pre-existing conditions/illnesses can also make you more susceptible to bloating The way I personally beat bloating was through an IgG blood test (a food sensitivity test), trial and error, an elimination diet, and avoiding the things I listed above majority of the time.  The icing on the cake to my health journey was realizing I had a histamine intolerance which I will eventually do an entire blog post on, but for now you can find a list of high histamine foods here.  To explain the the IgG blood test – it’s a test that basically compares the protein in your blood to the protein in common food items and analyzes whether or not they’re an inflammatory for your body. Things I always disliked growing up like; shellfish, blueberries, and bananas showed up as inflammatory on my list – no wonder I never wanted to go near them!  It’s amazing how our body already pretty much knows what’s good vs what’s bad for it isn’t it?  Now, let me say that this test is not 100000% accurate. Because for example – it said that nuts were good for me/not an inflammatory… but I get bloated and feel sick when I eat nuts, so now I just listen to my body and omit nuts.  You can use the test results as a loose guide (most of it was accurate for me), but ultimately you need to listen to your body. As far as elimination diets, I have eliminated gluten for weeks, dairy for weeks, meat, and other more specific food items and then reincorporated them back into my diet to see if they were triggers.  Elimination diets are a great way to naturally test what works for you and what doesn’t.  Because again, a test result can’t always tell you exactly how you’re going to feel after you eat something. It really comes down to you. I did an elimination diet for my histamine intolerance where I cut out all high histamine foods, then slowly one by one started incorporating them back in to see if they gave me a reaction.  An example of how I did this – was I eliminated avocado for 4 weeks since it releases histamine and then reincorporated it back in, but when I did I instantly felt sick/bloated – so there was my answer – avocados are not for me (sad, but I also weirdly had a feeling and just didn’t listen to it – lesson learned!!!)  I did the same thing with chocolate – and was SO happy to have no reactions so I enjoy it in small doses! Everyone’s body is different and we all require different things.  Please don’t look at this list and think “Omg I can’t have anything, this is so restrictive!”. Because that’s not true.  These are just common things that trigger bloating but some people may be perfectly fine with any or all of these.  I love food and I do not believe in depriving myself.  Now that I’ve got my bloating under control – I feel like I can actually eat more and really enjoy everything from rice to pasta, chicken, salmon, fresh veggies, etc. I am not afraid of carbs haha!  You can see what I eat in a typical day here. I hope the biggest thing you take away from this post is – LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Don’t go off what one person, label or article says is healthy, don’t jump on the latest fad diet without checking in with yourself first, use common sense and stay away from chemical filled foods, preservatives and anything that doesn’t come from the ground/is natural, and don’t get discouraged!!!! It’s worth it to do your research, ask questions, get multiple opinions and tests done, and go through trials and errors to find out what will help you look and feel your best. Remember gut health affects your mental health, mood, physical abilities, skin, hair, nails, and more!  I hope you found this article helpful and as always feel free to email me with any questions you may have!!! XO
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Best Workouts in NYC and LA

I’ve tried just about every type of workout and workout class under the sun and wanted to share a roundup of my favorites here with you!  Whether you’re visiting or live in NYC or LA, these are the workouts that cannot be missed.  Read through to see what this week’s giveaway is…it’s a big one! The best workouts in NYC and LA…Love Yoga Venice (LA)This boutique yoga studio is so unassuming and laid back.  There’s no intense check in area (the yoga instructor teaching the class just casually checks you in), and the space is small and intimate.  The style of flow focuses on breath work and deep stretching so I always leave feeling restored, balanced, and 3 inches taller.  My favorite teachers are Miki and Hannah. Box Union (LA)It is essentially the Soul Cycle of boxing.  The room is dark and sexy, the music is amazing, and the class is so high energy/peppy it goes by in the blink of an eye.  If I am ever in a rut – I know I can go here, sweat it out, shake up any bad vibes I was feeling and walk out of the class totally high on endorphins.  Make sure to book a class with Deja – she books up fast but is definitely the best teacher there!!! Hot 8 Yoga (LA)This is one of my favorite heated Bikram yoga classes.  The sculpt class is insane and will literally sculpt your bod within a few sessions… Charlotte McKinney always goes to the class I go to at the Santa Monica location – talk about bod goals!  Take a class with Leigh he’s fabulous. Hike Runyon Canyon or Solstice Canyon (LA)Hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities in LA – and it’s free!  Head to Runyon Canyon in West Hollywood and then to a yummy brunch right after, or drive along PCH to Malibu and spend the day at Solstice Canyon followed by a smoothie at Sun Life at the Malibu Country Mart. Love For Pilates or Studio MDR (LA)Love For Pilates isn’t related to Love Yoga but they both have a low key vibe.  Also, Love For Pilates is a very small studio (I go to the one in Santa Monica) that focuses on slow movements that really get your muscles fired up and toned.  Honestly, I appreciate that the classes are always less than 10 people and that the teacher takes the time to correct your posture and form.   I included Studio MDR on here because so many of my girlfriends love it. Furthermore, I have done it several times and while I did like it – I found that it was a little too intense for my liking and the teachers didn’t pay close enough attention to my form so I often came home with a sore neck or back from doing the movements incorrectly.  That being said, the music is great, you really feel the burn and it’s a fun/trendy studio workout class. Gotham gym (NYC)I used to do private boxing with Kareem 3 times a week in their Meatpacking/West Village location and my abs were rock solid at one point LOL!  Kareem is amazing and everyone there was so friendly.  Don’t be surprised when you see Gigi and Bella Hadid…or Ashley Olsen working out there – it’s a celebrity hangout! Flybarre (NYC)I went to the Flatiron location once or twice a week when I lived in the city.  The studio is spacious and the classes produce results – I always noticed a difference after just a few sessions! Y7 Yoga (NYC)This is a heated, hip hop yoga class.  They actually just opened a location in LA and I have yet to go!  The music is always incredible and you lose yourself in the hour you’re in the room.  I love that it combines intensity and relaxation throughout the class and that you can always go at your own pace. Running, tennis, Tone It Up or BBG on the West Side Highway (NYC)I lived right near the West Side Highway/Hudson Park in the West Village and used to love running along it and then I would do the Kayla Itisines BBG Sweat app in one of the side grassy areas. Jamie Ehrlich Pilates and FLEX Studios Pilates (NYC)Jamie was my private pilates teacher in the West Village and has the cutest studio with two reformers.  It doesn’t get more intimate/boutique than this little haven!  I love her style and philosophy and she really makes the most of your 50 minute session.  If you’re in Soho – head to FLEX Studio’s Noho location and take one of their pilates classes.  You won’t be able to walk after but it will be worth it!!!! I also wanted to answer a few frequently asked questions I get around the topic of working out in general.   Q: Do you workout? A: Yes I do workout even though I sometimes loathe it/don’t feel like it haha!  I workout for my mental health, to stay physically healthy/toned, and for my digestion (did you know working out improves the bacteria in your gut?)   Q: What types of workouts do you do?  A: I have tried sooooo many and go in waves of certain workouts I’m really into depending on my mood.  At the moment, I am doing less intense workouts and opting for a personal trainer 2 times a week to do circuit training with me (stuff like kettle bell swings, planks, TRX, and lunges), yoga once a week, and I hike on the weekends – plus I walk Charlie multiple times a day.  Having a personal trainer is worth the $ – they know what they’re doing, monitor your form, and hold you accountable. Q: Why have you decided to work out less? A: Working out is obviously amazing for you – however certain workouts can raise your cortisol/stress levels.  I had a blood test done a while ago, and my cortisol levels were quite high so I aim for workouts that don’t get too intense so I can keep my cortisol. And in turn hormones more balanced.  Plus, I realized I didn’t really enjoy super intense workouts and needed to let my body recover from the workouts I was doing so that I could build muscle.  Recovery is so crucial!  If you’re unsure of what workout is right for you… I highly recommend taking an Ayurveda test to find out what the best workout for your body type is.  Ayurveda has been around for more than 3,000 years and is extremely helpful in navigating your mind, body, health connection.  FYI I’m currently reading the Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda written by my friend Sahara Rose in case you’re more interested in learning about it! This week’s giveaway is $500 worth of workout clothes, makeup, sunscreen, accessories and more in the cutest lucite gym bag.  To enter, leave me a comment below telling me what your favorite type of workout and/or workout class is, Subscribe to my Youtube and newsletter, Follow me on Instagram and like my last 3 photos.  Winner will emailed on Friday!  Good luck! SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave
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