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Wellness

Venice, CA

Mexican Hot Cocoa For The Holidays

It’s starting to get chilly here in NYC which makes me want to hole up in a coffee shop and sip yummy hot chocolate all-day-long!!!!  I’m so happy to be back in the city to relish the last few days of fall before winter comes (apparently it’s supposed to snow here tomorrow – whatttt?!) This delicious Mexican hot cocoa recipe was developed by my incredible chef friend Alex for my cookbook.  We wanted something that was comforting, perfect for the holidays, but had a kick.  AKA not your typical hot cocoa ;)  She played with a ton of different spices before choosing these – and I must say it turned out PERFECT. Serve this hot cocoa on a brisk morning before work, with brunch on the weekends, or at your next holiday party.  Speaking of holiday parties…I am thinking of doing a Secret Santa party this year!  It’s the BEST excuse to get girlfriends together, drink yummy concoctions, eat sugar cookies, decorate and exchange gifts!  Many of you have been asking about when I’ll start sharing holiday gift guides, and I will start them next week.  In the meantime, be sure to catch all of my past holiday gift guides, entertaining stories, and outfits here! Homemade Mexican Hot CocoaDairy + Refined Sugar FreeIngredients: 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk 3 1/2 cups unsweetened nut milk of your choice 3-4 TBSP cacao powder (depends how rich you want it!) 3 TBSP monk fruit sweetener 1/2 tsp cinammon 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper 1/8 tsp nutmeg 1/2 tsp vanilla extract pinch of sea salt Instructions:In a small saucepan, bring milks to a low simmer over medium heat. Add cacao powder, monk fruit, salt, vanilla and spices, and whisk vigorously to combine. Allow milk to come to a simmer. Pour hot chocolate into mug and top with chocolate shavings, cacao nibs, marshmallows, or cacao powder. Snuggle up and enjoy!
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Venice, CA

My Favorite Face Oils

I’ve been testing face oils for the last 3 months and am SO excited to share my favorites with you!  I had never even heard of face oil until about 8 months ago (clearly I was living under a rock!)  Thankfully my beauty junkie girlfriend was kind enough to inform me.  Once I started incorporating face oil into my skincare routine I was HOOKED. Face oil is basically an extra layer of moisturizer that you can use alone or underneath your sunscreen, eye cream, and/or moisturizer during the day or at night.  I LOVE using mine with my Clarisonic and doing lymph drainage every morning.  *Note you should always use a generous amount of oil with this device otherwise you’re stretching your skin and creating wrinkles! I wanted to debunk a few face oil myths or preconceived notions you may have about them.  Face oils do not cause breakouts, clog pores, or make your face MORE oily.  The right oils actually balance your skin and help prevent/clear up breakouts!  It’s the fatty acids in face oils that stop your skin from producing too much of the bad kind of oil which leads to blemishes. I tested a wide variety of oils from all different brands and price points.  Some are drugstore brands and some are high end luxury skincare lines – all ranging from $12 to $180.  I went into this whole face oil testing completely unbiased and clueless. Also, I ordered 10+ oils and rotated new ones every week.  Honestly, I was really surprised at what I found!  Some of the fancy brands with the pretty packaging (I’m a sucker for packaging) that I totally THOUGHT would be my favorite actually weren’t – and some of the drugstore/inexpensive oils that I assumed wouldn’t work actually DID.  So read on to see what the verdict on all of these is! Face OilsIndie Lee face oilThis is the first face oil I tried.  I love the price point ($30!) and the texture.  It’s completely all natural and cruelty free.  The smell isn’t the greatest but it’s not terrible – it just smells exactly like what it is – squalane oil.  Added perfume scent typically has harsh chemicals in it, so I’d rather have no added scent than a fake floral scent! Mara Beauty face oilThis is one of my favorite face oils.  My friend Allison created it after working in the beauty industry for years.  The packaging is SO chic and I love the texture.  It makes my skin glow!  It ties for my #1 favorite face oil next to Drunk Elephant which I’ll talk about next! Drunk Elephant face oil I had heard so many amazing things about Drunk Elephant before trying it.  It was the most popular face oil on my Instastories poll so I knew I had to include it here!  I’m so glad I did because it ended up being my #1 FAVORITE face oil!  The texture is perfect (not too thick, not too thin), it’s 100% natural and it WORKS.  My skin feels hydrated and silky smooth after using it.  LOVE LOVE LOVE. Vintner’s Daughter serum/face oilThis face oil is a celebrity cult favorite for a reason.  I was SO excited to try this, and even more excited to be able to speak with the founder herself on the phone a few months ago.  She is incredibly genuine and I am so impressed with what she has built.  She really took the time and effort to create this product and it shows – it is extremely powerful, effective, and worth every penny (yes it’s a pricier one.)  I loved the soothing essential oil smell, the fact that it is all natural/organic, and the way it evened out the texture of my skin.  It soaked right in and was perfect to put on before my moisturizer.  I prefer using this at night, and the Drunk Elephant oil in the morning with my Clarisonic since its thicker. Cocokind face oilThis paraben, all natural, cruelty free face oil was another popular oil in my Instastories poll.   I was pleasantly surprised with it considering it’s only $12!  It wasn’t as thick or moisturizing as the other oils, but definitely a great option if you don’t have dry skin and want something to absorb super fast when you’re on the go. Herbivore face oilI had high hopes for this face oil because I love the brand and the packaging is GORG!  I didn’t LOVE the strong floral/orchid scent and felt like it didn’t really improve the texture of my skin or soak in like some of the other oils.  It still moisturized my skin and I could tell it’s good quality, but for whatever reason it just didn’t wow me! Rodin Olio Lusso face oilOk this face oil was PRICEY – we are talking $170 for 1 oz.  BUT it totally changed the texture of my skin.  It evened it out, made it so silky smooth and I was obsessed with the super luxe/rich geranium and orange blossom scent.  I had never smelled anything like that combo before.  In terms of rebuying it/splurging on it again… I am still up in the air.  Even though it works wonders, it’s hard to justify spending that much when I have found other oils that are much cheaper that I love.  All I know is that I will be using this oil sparingly for special occasions so it lasts longer! Honest Beauty face oilI was so impressed with this oil.  The scent is so pleasant – it’s sweet, but not overwhelming (I am soooo sensitive to scents.)  The texture was perfect, it went on smooth, and really moisturized my skin.  It also won an Allure beauty award!  Overall this is a GREAT drugstore buy (it’s available at Target) with an ideal price point at $28.  Out of all of the oils, this was my 3rd favorite (after Drunk Elephant and Mara Beauty.) True Botanicals face oilThis was a lighter texture face oil compared to the others.  I didn’t love the super earthy scent and just wanted it to be thicker so I could use it with my Clarisonic.  I’ve heard wonderful things about this company and will absolutely keep testing their other products, but their face oil just wasn’t my fave. RMS Beauty face oilI love RMS as a company, but the scent of this face oil was so strong I couldn’t continue using it after the second time. The Buff face oilMy friend Jasmine started this company after trying a zillion different face oils and beauty products as an editor in NYC.  I love that you can customize the oil for your skin needs and add your initials to the packaging.  It makes it a fabulous gift for the beauty junkie friend in your life.  I always smile when I see it sitting on my makeup counter – it just looks CHIC! Sunday Riley face oilThis face oil is my secret weapon for acne.  If I am ever getting a breakout or pimple I put this on and it instantly dries it up and my skin is CLEAR the next morning.  Seriously this is LIFE CHANGING!!!!!  You need this in your cabinet for emergency blemishes! GiveawayI’m giving away $1000 of skincare products split amongst 10 lucky readers.  To enter, leave me a comment below telling me what oil you’re most excited to try/or already use, then like my latest IG photo and tag a friend in the comments who isn’t already following me on IG – and tell them why they should be.  Winners will be announced on Thursday – good luck!
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Venice, CA

All Natural Deodorant Roundup

After months and months of testing all natural deodorants I am so excited to finally report my findings with you!  I really wanted to approach this almost like a scientist. Totally unbiased and clinical. So I had my girlfriend test deodorant after deodorant with me for over 3 months.  We wore each deodorant for at least 1 week in an assortment of conditions from everyday temperatures and activities, to hot summer days, stressful situations, and intense workouts.  Before I get into my favorites though, I will give you a brief background on my deodorant history which may be very similar to yours! Personally, I did not wear deodorant consistently until about 5 years ago. I was never a huge sweater growing up and also didn’t do a ton of intense workouts/activities so I just didn’t really need to wear it!  (I feel like some people have a more intense sweat gland situation and smell than others and I was fortunate in that it just was never an issue for me!) Honestly, I only started wearing deodorant when I began doing more physically intense workouts like Soul Cycle and boxing and felt self conscious that I would start smelling since I was working out so much!  So, I picked up a generic deodorant at the drugstore that everyone seemed to have in their cabinet and used it for 2 years thereafter. Everything was fine with it… (I honestly didn’t really notice a difference one way or another. And I was wearing it more for mental clarity/security) but when a guy I had been dating opened up my medicine cabinet and literally gasped at the deodorant I had and said, “You use this stuff?!  You know this is terrible for you and has aluminum in it which causes breast cancer.  You shouldn’t use this. Seriously Kat.”  I was SO shocked and taken aback by his reaction and had NO idea it was bad so I immediately started researching it myself.  He was a jerk. But I can thank him for opening my eyes to the aluminum in deodorant haha! Anyways…  I was stunned to find article after article talking about how many of the ingredients in generic deodorant, primarily aluminum, were linked to breast cancer!  And yet government articles I was finding insisted aluminum was NOT linked to cancer… Very conflicting!  Either way, I knew that I didn’t want to even risk the small chance of aluminum causing cancer. So I threw it out and began looking into all natural deodorants. For months, I tested all natural deodorant after all natural deodorant and was very sad to find that they made me smell TERRIBLE!  I was mortified at my new body odor. And literally started canceling workouts and friend dates because of it.  My body felt out of whack and I almost felt like I was producing MORE sweat during this phase!  Probably from the stress and fear of smelling bad LOL!  I decided to do some more research on why this could be/what was happening/if I even should continue wearing deodorant.  It was a super embarrassing time. Thank goodness I’ve now figured out what works for me! First and foremost…I will never wear a deodorant with aluminum again.  Second, if you are thinking of making the switch from regular deodorant to all natural, give your body at least 2 weeks of not wearing ANYTHING to adjust before trying a new deodorant.  I know, I know, this seems scary especially if you are a sweater… But trust me your ph levels and smell will even itself out and then you’ll have a neutral base to incorporate/test out an all natural deodorant into your routine.  Third, when choosing an all natural deodorant remember that everyone has different ph levels and takes to chemicals and scents differently. So what may work for one person, may not work for you (which is what I found in this testing process that my girlfriend and I did together.). Fourth, what you EAT and your overall health does have a huge impact on your body odor.  You could have body odor regardless of what deodorant you use because of something being imbalanced internally.  This is why I am such a stickler about what I put into my body. Because I have found that it directly impacts my scent!  If I eat spicy, greasy food or something that doesn’t sit well with my system, I notice I have more of a BO scent than if I’m eating fresh, healthy, organic food. FinallyI don’t think anyone really NEEDS deodorant.  I think it’s a great safety, precaution tool to smell more fresh. But if you’re balanced internally/healthy and sweat out the toxins/go through the elimination phase I truly believe your body will even itself out and that you will sweat AND smell less.  Nowadays, I wear deodorant maybe twice a week max, I rarely sweat, and hopefully I don’t smell (and if I ever do – I hope my friends would tell me!!!) After talking with my girlfriends about what deodorant they use/what works for them – I was surprised to learn many of them, especially the ones in LA, now don’t wear deodorant either!  They have let their bodies even out naturally and if anything, they use this cool crystal deodorant stick.  Here’s a roundup of all of the deodorants I tried and which ones I liked/disliked + why! All Natural DeodorantsScully deodorantI was turned off at first that this was a liquid spray, but I have to say after wearing it for weeks, I became super impressed with it!  My girlfriend Jesse who did the testing with me was equally as impressed.  This has a minty scent and tingles for the first few seconds you spray it, but that quickly goes away.  What we both loved about this is that the ingredients (which I found out have been used for over 100 years in their family’s secret recipe) completely neutralize all body odor and the spray has no scent (after those first few seconds) so it doesn’t compete with any perfume you want to wear!  Neither of us had any residue, BO problems, or stains.  This was definitely one of my favorite deodorants that we tested. Curie deodorantThis deodorant is my #1 favorite.  I LOVE the white tea scent which is not overly strong, floral, or “earthy” smelling – it’s just a pretty and subtle smell.  I also love the texture – it is exactly how you’d want a deodorant to feel.  It goes on smooth but isn’t too sticky and isn’t too dry – it’s the perfect in between.  And most importantly it worked and I did not have to reapply it during the day! Schmidt’s deodorantMy girlfriend Jesse and actually another close friend of mine both love Schmidt’s and say this is their go-to deodorant. *Jesse does say that she can’t wear it with black workout clothes during hot yoga because it does stain them white.  I on the other hand tried this deodorant and hated it!  It totally stained my clothes and I had white streaks running down my arms during yoga – not cute.  Another reader who saw me doing the deodorant round up on Instastory a few months ago – messaged me saying this gave her a rash.  So this is a perfect example of how everyone’s ph levels and bodies react differently! Kopari deodorantThis coconut oil based deodorant just won Allure’s Beauty award.  I trust Allure’s Beauty roundups, but I have to disagree with their findings here!  I really like Kopari as a brand and LOVED the scent of this product, but the texture was too gel-like and made my armpits feel damp for most of the day.  It just didn’t seep into my skin/absorb at all for me, and my girlfriend said the same thing. Native deodorantI bought the mini travel pack of Native deodorants so that I could test 6 of their scents.  The coconut vanilla scent was my favorite and I wore it throughout my Italy trip in August.  It was a really hot summer as many of you know and this definitely worked.  I had no body odor or stains.  I was happy with this deodorant, BUT the only thing I will say is that I felt like it was a bit too dry texture wise and was kind of chalky going on + didn’t glide/absorb like I’d have preferred. Malin + Goetz deodorantThis gave me BO at two different points in my life (I tried it back in 2016 and again this past summer in 2018) and it just smelled WAY too earthy for me.  It’s like pure eucalyptus so you smell like a sweaty Equinox gym sauna. NOPE not for me! Crystal deodorantI haven’t tried this but wanted to include it after several friends recently told me they have been using it for years and love it.  Note – they said you need to apply it right after you shower or else it doesn’t work.  I’m intrigued now and am going to try it and will report back! PiperWai deodorantThis was a thick black sticky paste that you roll under your arms and smelled super earthy… It was a no immediately for Jesse and I. Also, I didn’t block out any odor whatsoever. AER deodorantI tried this deodorant back in 2016 and was obsessed with the Palo Santo scent.  A ton of bloggers I love use it and rave about it.  The texture was a bit too gel-like for me, and it didn’t mask my BO (but this was when I was first transitioning out of regular deodorant and I haven’t re-tested it since.).  I wanted to include it here because again, everyone is different and I did really enjoy the scent and so many others seem to really like it! Overall, my two favorite deodorants were from Scully and Curie.  If I had to choose a third it would be Native.  I hope you enjoyed this roundup and would love to hear what your deodorant experiences have been and which ones are your personal favorites!!!
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Venice, CA

Homemade Granola Energy Bars

What better way to kick off October than with a yummy fall inspired recipe from my cookbook?!  These homemade granola energy bars are mouth-wateringly good and you’ll want to keep a stash at home and at work!  Your coworkers will love you for bringing these in – and won’t believe how easy they were to make.  I always get asked what I eat in a day, and what I snack on.  These granola bars are the perfect treat to have if you’re on the go and don’t have time to make breakfast, want a mid day snack that isn’t a processed energy bar, or are craving something sweet after dinner.  I love carrying these in my bag so I always have a healthy treat to reach for when I’m out and about! These delicious granola bars are completely free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar.  Every single recipe in my cookbook is actually free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar!  I like to eat this way 80% of the time because it allows me to look and feel my best and strengthens my digestion and immune system. Honestly, I hate being overly strict with what I eat so this lifestyle works really well for me!  I’m all about that balance… and never like to deprive myself – life is too short.  If you’re interested in what I eat in a day – you can read my post here, and if you’re interested in what diets I’ve tried/my overall thoughts on them – you can read my post about that here!  Plus I’m also always posting new recipes and behind the scenes stories of what I’m eating throughout the day on Instagram (@kattanita.) Now back to these bars! When Alex Thomopolous (the incredible chef I partnered with to develop recipes for the book) and I were testing recipes we were having trouble creating one that had the right consistency and taste, AND wasn’t loaded with sugar.  On our very last day of testing we perfected these together and I am SO thrilled with how they turned out.  I eat them all the time and love that they’re packed with nutrients yet don’t taste “too healthy” (if you’ve ever tried baking a gluten free baked good you know what I’m talking about lol….so many gluten free recipes often end up tasting BLAH or like cardboard am I right?!). I wrote a cookbook because I couldn’t find any gluten/dairy free/low sugar recipes that actually tasted GOOD and that were easy to make.  Literally, I went through 60+ different cookbooks before embarking on this project and none of them 100% fit my needs.  I’m bursting with excitement to share it with you – be sure to sign up here for pre-order details! These bars are loaded with healthy oats which are high in protein, chia and flax seeds which are high in fiber, coconut which is an anti fungal, pumpkin seeds which are a healthy fat and packed full of antioxidants.  They’re sweetened with maple syrup which is my favorite sweetener of choice because it is 100% natural and tastes the best out of all the sweeteners I’ve tried.  *I’ll be doing a post on why I stay away from refined cane sugar – and even artificial sweeteners like aspartame later this month!)  I hope you love these bars and if you make them – be sure to share them with me so I can repost on Instagram! Homemade Granola Energy Bars Gluten + Dairy + Refined sugar free Ingredients: 2 cups gluten free oats 1/4 cup shredded coconut 2 tbsp chia seeds 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds  1/2 tsp cinnamon 2 tbsp flax seeds 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 cup maple syrup 2 tbsp coconut oil melted 1/3 cup coconut butter softened Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl and then pour the mixture on the baking sheet. Using your hands spread out the mixture into a 1″ thick rectangle. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes.  Then slice and enjoy!  Makes 12 bars.
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