Category Archives: Health

 More Water, Please!

 Water is great for so many reasons, but it just gets boring. And This little voice in the back of my head is repeating all the daunting facts about dehydration, from toxins to wrinkles. I get the picture, and believe me I don’t want to go there! So to spice things up, some amazing doctors and anti aging experts from NYC, gave me some natural elements that can be thrown into a glass of H2O for some flavor explosion along with some added benefits.

1. Mango Ginger


This combo might seem weird, but adding the health benefits of ginger and the antioxidant power of mangoes is a surprisingly tasty mix! “Mangoes contain so many vitamins that help boost your immune system. It has antioxidants that maintain youthful glowing skin and aid in the production of blood cells,” says Dr. Christopher Calapai D.O. a NYC anti-aging expert. “Ginger is also helpful in fighting infection, has been linked to lower cholesterol levels, may reduce muscle aches, and helps digestion,” adds Dr. Calapai. 
 
2. Grapefruit Rosemary


Recently rosemary was found to be the main ingredient eaten by residents of an Italian village with one of the highest populations of people who live past 100! “Rosemary improves circulation and sends more blood to the brain which is linked to greater concentration and potentially reduces risk of Alzheimer’s,” says Dr. Calapai. Grapefruit is not only delicious but it’s a natural fat burner, boosts metabolism and cleanses your liver. 
 
3. Melon Mix


Cut up watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe chunks and throw into your water over night. “This melon variety tastes great and is amazing for your skin,” says Dr. Kally Papantoniou board certified dermatologist and clinical instructor at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. “Melons are immensely hydrating, meaning more hydration per cup of water. They are also chock-full of antioxidants that keep skin clear plus they contain vitamins that promote collagen production which helps skin cell turnover.”

 4. Citrus Mint 

Pick your favorite citrus fruits, cut up into slices and add some crushed mint. “Adding mint to your water is not only extra refreshing but also improves digestive health and can speed up your metabolism,” says Dr. Calapai. “Mint actually contains salicylic acid, a potent acne fighter,” says Dr. Papantoniou. “It’s also well known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties which work to calm irritation both on your skin or internally,” she adds. 
   
5. Cucumber Lavender


“The reason so many spas use cucumber based treatments is because it contains many skin friendly minerals like magnesium, potassium and silicon,” says Dr. Papantoniou. “This mix is especially healthy,” says Dr. Calapai “Cucumbers are powerful detoxifiers, flushing out any waste in your system. Adding crushed lavender to the mix not only adds a beautiful aroma but can also help digestion as lavender contains polyphenols that reduce bad bacteria in your gut, making your system run smoother,” he explains.    
 
6. Pineapple Coconut Water

This one is almost cheating… almost. Get your favorite store bought raw coconut water and refrigerate over night with large chunks of pineapple. The coconut-pineapple flavor combo is delicious and reminiscent of a piña colada without all the sugar and calories. Although this is not pure H2O, coconut water contains electrolytes which plain water does not, which rehydrate you in record time. “Pineapple is yet another fruit that aids in collagen production,” says Papantoniou “This is not just great for beautiful skin, collagen also has a major role in bone health and tissue repair.”

STK LA Introduces Chicken 

From LA to NYC, who doesn’t love STK. It’s a classic you know will be the perfect fit for any occasion. STK has just introduced a delicious new Chicken dish to their menu called Mary’s Free Range Chicken with Organic Farro, Baby Summer Squash and Grilled Lemon Jus. 

Just in case your not in the mood for going out, we were able to snag the recipe for this fresh summer dish. I love trying new recipes and this is a combination of everything my family needs on a daily basis.


Mary’s Free Range ChickenOrganic Farro/ Baby Summer Squash/ Grilled Lemon Jus

 

For the chicken:

1 ea whole organic free range chicken

1 ea garlic clove

1 ea thyme sprig

3 tsp kosher salt

1 ea lemon (sliced)

 

For the farro:

1 c farro

1 ea shallot

1 sprig thyme

1 bay leaf

1 ea clove garlic

 

Baby patty pan squash:

2 c of mix baby squash

1/2 ways shallot (diced)

1 ea garlic clove (chopped)

2 tsp Olive Oil

1/2 ea lemon

¼ c mint leaves

 

For the grilled lemon jus:

2 ea lemon (grilled)

2 c chicken stock

1 ea bay leaf

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp peppercorn

1 ea garlic clove

2 tsp unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F

Chicken:

Place Chicken in a roasting pan, with a food processor pulse/mix salt and garlic and herbs. Season chicken generously inside and out. Stuff the cavity with sliced lemons and more thyme. Tie the legs together with kitchen string.

Roast uncovered for 1hr and 15min in the preheated oven. Minimum internal temperature 175F. let rest for 15 min before cutting.

Jus:

In a sauce pot sauté garlic and spices with butter add stock and reduce to ½, add grilled or roasted lemons and reduce for 10 more min, set aside.

Farro:

In a sauce pot cook farro (rinsed) to brand specifications with the added aromatics.

Veggies:

While roasting, quarter summer baby squash, toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set Aside.

 

To serve, sauté summer squash to desire tenderness, add farro, season to taste and fold in mint to finish. Slice the chicken onto a plate on top of summer squash and farro, finish with jus and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Baby Spitsin: Number 2

Mark, Jonah and I are over the moon to be announcing the coming of our second blessing from above! It is such a priveledge to be able to carry this child inside my body for 40 weeks. Feeling the growth and change in my personal life as I understand another being is also rapidly growing inside me. Something that is hard to understand until your belly begins to expand!

Today will mark my 26 weeks of pregnancy and the day I am ready to make this public announcement. 

The news of this pregnancy came right before my mother was diagnosed with cancer and at the time I felt that it was so inappropriate to be sharing joy when I was experiencing an overwhelming wave of grief. Mark and I were waiting and ready for another child to come and feel regretful to say that in our human understanding we thought it was a “bad” time.  

Over the last 6 months I have been learning to deal with joy and grief simultaneously. We have no control over many circumstances but with humility and gratitude we can accept everything that comes our way. 

I have included some photos from our recent shoot with Olesja Shevchuk, an amazing friend  from Australia who was able to capture our family so well. Taking photos with toddlers is way harder then it looks! Jonah is actually really happy about the coming addition, expressing it with extreme attachment to me. 

Being A Woman- Fertility

The past year has brought me to my knees time and time again. All of my effort to maintain any ounce of normalcy was halted when my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 Cervical Cancer. I have been unable to write
about anything happy or sad. And now I feel like the time is right to reconnect. Its like meeting with a friend you haven’t seen for years. The beginning is awkward because you just don’t know where to start but once you do its like you were never apart.The only logical place to begin is the beginning. When my amazing husband and I were married in March of 2012, we weren’t in any rush to have children because we both thought that when it’s the right time to have children, we will just have them. We compared it to baking a cake, you put all of the correct ingredients together, you have a good nonstick baking dish, a working oven, and the result is a delicious cake. Unfortunately, I came to find out this was not the case for me. I always assumed that fertility issues were connected to factors such as age and specific medical conditions. Everyone seemed to keep any such issues secret, probably to avoid the stigma of being marked an inadequate woman. There is so much guilt associated with not being able to conceive. Society puts this notion in your mind  that being a woman means you should have the ability to pop out babies on demand until menopause. Maybe for some people this is the case, but not for us.

After 9 months of actively trying, we conceived our son Jonah. It was an incredible feeling. I felt so grateful to our Heavenly Father and God for creating this life inside of my womb. The joy overshadowed any pain and suffering we experienced along our path of conception.

Mark and I of course wanted more children, but were expecting to have a similar experience in the conception process for any other pregnancies, if we were to have them. We were amazed to find out that I was pregnant, last May when Jonah was just 11 months and still breastfeeding! Unfortunately, I miscarried at 15weeks. My heart was broken and I had no understanding of why this was happening to me. I never considered that this was an option. It was hard enough not being able to get pregnant when you wanted, but not being able to carry a pregnancy felt even worse. 

I was comforted to find out I became pregnant a few months later, only to hear some familiar bad news at the initial ultrasound. I miscarried again at 6 weeks.

Why am I writing this? Why is it important. I felt like in the beginning of this struggle I was looking for answers everywhere, unfortunately no one seemed to be having the same issues. My friends would just get pregnant as soon as their husband touched them and other childless couples didn’t seem to be trying anyway. It took me some time to be able to find other women to connect with, but in the interim I just felt so alone, helpless, and plagued. “Why ME!” was something I recall hearing often in my head as I was going about my day, noticing that others don’t have these struggles. 
All of this brought me to my knees in prayer, going to the only One who is in control of all things, my Creator and God. I asked Him this same question, just in a different way. I wasn’t asking from a place of entitlement, as if I am such a good person and deserve so much better, and I cannot believe this is happening to ME! Instead, I came to Him in all of my Humility seeking any ounce of grace He would be able share with me. I asked Him: Why is this happening to me? How can I use this for Your good? 

At this point, the veil was lifted and I was shown time and time again the answer to my worries. Why my fertility issues were not in vain. I came to realize there are so many others who are struggling and too scared to speak about. I would share my story and women would share their pains with me. My experience gave me the ability to understand their pain, to cry with them and pray for them knowing how difficult it is. I can’t tell you how many times I have been walking my son to the park while sobbing and praying for other women. Praying for their comfort. We don’t have control over the creation of life, no matter how easy it is for you to have a baby. No matter what we plan or how we plan it, we have to rest everything in Gods hands.

Ultimately, it’s ok if things aren’t working out as planned. We have trust in something so much greater then us. And more importantly, “perfect” is in the eye of the beholder! Instead of sulking in pity for yourself, use the opportunity you have been given in a positive way.

Once I was able to finally give up this control over my whole situation, I did get pregnant.  My doctor advised that I should give my body a rest after my 2nd miscarriage and we agreed with him. We were wiped out, emotionally, physically, mentally. I didn’t want to risk another loss and let down. And that was it. So of course, God put a little baby in my womb a few days later, and I was shocked to find out that I was pregnant. I am 26weeks pregnant now, and taking each day as it comes. 
It’s sad to say that after all of this, it’s so difficult to be happy and excited. I just know that anything is possible and life is not in my hands. Regardless, I am so grateful for my difficulties, for the things that bring me to absolute humility, because it makes me appreciate what I do have so much more. My beautiful family, my loving husband, my crazy toddler, all of it! And when I do hold this new baby in my arms, I will appreciate the moments I am given even more! 

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Winter Essentials

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  1. Color Block Moto Jacket

Sandra Quilted Moto Jacket $230

(Soft quilting accents on the sleeves and shoulder, mesh insert and lining and exposed zippers)

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  1. Printed Leggings w/ Secret Waist Pocket

Goddess Yoga Tight (Winter Floral) $98

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3. Cut Out Top

Warrior Touch Cut T-Back $78

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  1. A NY Chic Moto Jacket

Selma Moto Jacket $184

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  1. Essential Pull Over w/ Detailing

Annette Half Zip Pull Over $140

( leather inserts, side ruching, vented mesh sleeves and thumb holes and a mesh lined shirred neck.)

 

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  1. Figure Flattering Jumpsuit

Janet Fitted Unitard Leggings $99

 

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  1. Mesh Leggings

Gwen Color block Legging $138

 

Rise Nation

Angelenos love crazy diets and new workout regime’s.  Each new trend has to outdo the next.   So naturally, Rise Nation has taken the torch to create a true full body 30 minute workout on a machine called the Versaclimber. Up for the challenge?  You will burn up to 800 calories per 30 minute session and you can see the difference yourself after 3 classes.

The Founder, Jason Walsh created rise Nation to bring his signature cardio workout he uses with his celeb clients like Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone to the masses.   Walsh says the Versaclimber mimics our bodies instinctual ability to climb (from our toddler days) which reinforces good alignment.

I experienced the class for myself, and it was by no means easy, but the payoff is that you don’t have to dedicate a full hour to a class while still achieving optimal results, burning the maximum energy (aka more calories).  Where else are you going to kill 800 calories in 30 mins?

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Rise-Nation

Training For That Little Sparkly Dress

Although the joy of this seasons indulgences were overwhelmingly satisfying, New Years Eve is right around the corner.  Our waist line will be screaming in that Little Sparkly dress come time for the ball to drop. Good thing  a month is plenty time to get back to our old self of Christmas’ Past.  Naturally, we went to an expert, Franci Cohen a NYC certified fitness trainer, nutritionist and exercise physiologist. Here are her top tips for getting back to tip top shape in less then a month:

Strength with Cardio

For most, weight-training and cardio exercise are two separate events. However, mixing strength exercises with a cardio interval, like a 30 second sprint, will boost the metabolism and growth hormones.

 Go Compound

Try multi-joint or compound exercises that engage multiple muscle groups at the same time. Replace isolated exercises, which only focus on one muscle group at a time, with movements like the squat or deadlift to burn more calories and increase your metabolic rate.

 Train Like an Athlete

Huge biceps look great, but are unlikely to contribute to overall health. Instead of training like a bodybuilder try exercising like an athlete. Include plyometrics, kettlebell swings and sprints in your training plan to add intensity and variety to workouts while improving overall fitness.

 Go Heavy

Lifting heavier weights for less repetitions helps to build strength and shed fat. Start with a weight that is manageable for 15 reps. Then add weight over time to find a weight that is doable for eight to ten repetitions. Remember, always practice perfect form, and try to work for an extra rep before calling it quits.
 Bring a Friend

Working out with a partner improves results and makes the going-to-the-gym experience a more enjoyable one. Having a partner to provide encouragement during workouts can help you get the most out of a workout. And when you have someone relying on you to do the same, it makes you accountable and more likely to show up for workouts.

 Don’t Train, Compete

Turn workouts into a competition with yourself of a workout partner. Join a sports league, play pick-up basketball or sign-up for a 5K. Or create your own challenges in the gym by completing a circuit workout as fast as possible, pushing the pace and intensity.

Write it Down

Record the exercises, sets and repetitions performed during workouts. Keeping track of goals and progress will reveal what you have accomplished and where you can improve. With that knowledge on hand, it’s then possible to structure workouts that play to your strengths and improve weaknesses.

 Hydrate

Be sure to drink plenty of water during workouts and throughout the day. Heading into a workout dehydrated takes its toll on muscles, motivation and energy levels. Drink up and train hard, then don’t forget to refuel with food and water after workouts to promote recovery.

Looking Fabulous All Winter Long

Summer fades away and is like a dream that you don’t fully remember. There are no more weekend getaways, european holidays, or a summer love affair left to distract you from the harsh truth’s of life . And once the reality fully sets in, you are frozen by the winter months and it is all so overwhelming.  The end of the year, harsh weather and christmas may be stressful, but this doesn’t mean that you need to look the part.  There are so many things that can keep you looking and feeling fresh through it all.  We turned to an expert for some serious advice!

“The holiday season and winter can be a drain on people,” explains Katherine Goldman, celebrity esthetician/waxologist and owner of the Stript Wax Bar. “It is important to make sure you take care of yourself throughout the winter, so you don’t end up feeling completely stressed out and drained.”

Here are some tips for looking and feeling your best throughout the holidays and all winter long:

  • Facials. When it comes to looking your best, opt for having facials done throughout the winter. This will help keep the skin looking fresh and healthy, despite any extra stress that may arise during these months. While having this done, see about taming your eyebrows so that they look great for those holiday pictures.
  • Tanning. Many people want to keep a healthy glow or tan during the winter months. It is important to opt for a healthier way to do this, such as using a good salon quality spray-on tan, rather than going to a tanning booth. This way you can maintain your color, but won’t dry your skin out or have the risks that come with tanning beds.
  • Stay hydrated. The winter months can tend to be very drying on the skin, so it’s important to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated, as well as use a good quality skin moisturizer. With the colder weather, you can also keep your fluid intake up by having hot tea, just don’t load it up with sugar.
  • Eat well. The holidays can be a busy time, making it even more important to eat a good diet so that the body gets proper nutrients and energy. A healthy diet will keep people feeling good all winter long. The winter months are notorious with people reaching for comfort foods, but many of them can leave people feeling flat and packing on the pounds. Opt for healthy soups and tasty vegetable casseroles for comfort. When attending holiday parties, opt for trying to eating something before attending, to keep from filling up on all of the goodies sitting out. Rather than completely avoiding the goodies, stick to trying just a small portion so there are no regrets later.
  • Keep moving. Getting enough exercise will not only help keep you looking good, but it will help you feel great, too. Exercise releases endorphins, which naturally brings about a happy and positive feeling. Consistent exercise will also help to reduce those stress levels as they creep up around the holidays. It’s tempting for people to lax on exercising during the winter, but that will leave you feeling down. There are plenty of exercise plans you can do indoors by tuning into workouts on television, popping in a DVD, or you can always join a gym.
  • Relax. There may be parties and festivities to go to, but it’s important to get some down time, too. This includes taking time to unwind, relax, and get enough sleep each night. This is the perfect time for you to take up yoga and/or meditation as a way to relax, lift the spirits, and get those happy hormones flowing.

“There will a lot of holiday pictures taken, so you want to look your best,” added Goldman. “You also want to feel great when you are enjoying those festivities, too. It’s important to take measures to help care for and maintain your insides and out, so you look and feel great all winter long.”

Stript Wax Bar has locations throughout California, including in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Lafayette, Oakland, Pacifica, and San Jose. They specialize in offering top-of-the line waxing services for men and women, using the highest quality hard wax from Europe. In addition to waxing all areas of the body, they offer facials, spray tans, brow shaping, and make-up application. For more information, visit the website at: www.striptwaxbar.com.

Top Healthy Must Haves For the Winter Months Ahead

Winter may be cold and dreary, but that doesn’t mean that you have to pack on the pounds to keep warm.  After all, the Summer quickly reappears and what will you do when you find yourself jet setting to a Caribbean adventure?  This is why we are so grateful that  Sara Siskind, Certified Nutritional Health Counselor and  founder of Hands on Healthy gives Markit Loved her top items to stock up on during the Winter Months.  Heres what you should have in your Pantry:
1. Coconut water is a great natural water that is lightly flavored, low in calories and contains numerous nutrients including electrolytes like magnesium, sodium, potassium and calcium. You can drink it on its own and it doesn’t require refrigeration which is perfect for your pantry. I love to use it in smoothies or with oatmeal to add a naturally sweet taste.

2. Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites are my favorite pantry snack staple that not only tastes great but are full of nutrients as well. Containing pistachios, cranberries a touch of sea salt and agave nectar, Pistachio Chewy Bites are naturally gluten and dairy free with no added preservatives or additives. Providing the perfect balance of carbohydrates and protein these snack bites keep your energy sustained throughout the day.

3. Rolled Oats are a naturally gluten free whole grain for anyone who has gluten sensitivities. Rolled Oats have a long shelf life and are filled with fiber to help aid in digestion and keeping you full. They also provide an excellent source of carbohydrates and have been proven to lower cholesterol. Rolled oats do not have to be cooked in order to be eaten. My favorite rolled oat recipe is Overnight Oats- 1/3 cup rolled oats, 1 cup of almond milk or coconut water, 1 1Ž2 tablespoons chia seeds and a handful of berries or dried fruit with a dash of cinnamon. Leave in your fridge overnight and enjoy.

4. Apple Sauce is one of my favorite pantry staples. With a creamy and sweet texture, this snack comes in handy as a satisfying healthy comfort food during the winter months. Loaded with vitamin C and fiber, apple sauce boosts your immune system and helps to keep you full. I recommend buying the organic individual serving size that you can leave in your pantry and not worry about waste. They come in all sorts of varieties varying from sweet to tart. The choice is yours!

5. Nut Butter- Peanut butter has been known as the go-to nut butter, however now you can find pretty much any of your favorite shelled nuts or seeds made into a butter. Just a small amount (no more than 2 tablespoons per day) packs enough protein, healthy fat and fiber into your meal. With an extended shelf life this is the perfect pantry staple. You can shmear it on a cracker, add it to a smoothie or eat it straight off the spoon. Remember to watch for added sugar and salt and stay clear of low fat versions as they add in fillers to replace the heart healthy fat.

6. Dried Fruit- There are so many varieties of dried fruits to choose from that provide a nutritional punch of vitamins and minerals and fiber. Although my second choice to fresh fruit due to lack of water, dried fruits are nonperishable and serve as a convenient sweet, healthy snack. Make sure to read labels and watch for any added sugar. My top picks are ones loaded with the most fiber such as dried figs, apricots, and peaches. They keep you full and help slow down the absorption of sugar.

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All Hail, Coconut Oil?

IMG_4614The last place that you are thinking of putting Coconut Oil is on your face, body or hair, right? I mean my muscles tense at the thought of it. Regardless, growing bodies of research, countless experts, and armies of natural beauty devotes swear by the stuff.  Are they onto something?

Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and anti fungal, its an excellent moisturizer, it can penetrate hair better then other oils and smells like cookies.  Have I won you over yet?   With a $10 bottle you can use it from head to toe and replace hundreds of dollars of product that you are buying now.  Use Raw and Organic  Virgin Coconut Oil for the best results.  Here are 5 amazing uses for it in your home without spending a fortune on store bought products.

  1. As a Face Cleanser and Eye Make Up Remover The Coconut Oil actually pulls off the oils and dirt from your face, leaving your skin smooth and supple. Its especially noticeable the following morning.  Take a spoon full of Coconut Oil massage it into your skin and leave on for about 5 minutes. Once you feel ready, soak a wash cloth in hot water and gentle wipe off the oil.  This will change your life!
  2. Teeth Whitening  Oil-Pulling, has been used for thousands of years in Chinese Medicine.  The store bought tooth paste is not removing the oil based plaque, which is why you should go to your dentist every 6-12 months for a cleaning.  The Coconut Oil actually pulls off the plaque, helping to whiten and clean teeth.  Swish a spoon full of Coconut oil in your mouth for 5-10 mins nightly for the best effect.
  3. As a Hair Conditioner and add Shine to hair There’s a reason many conditioners contain coconut oil: It’s better able to penetrate hair (and prevent protein loss) than mineral and sunflower oil, according to research.  Apply a quarter-size dollop to your hair, comb it, and then pile it into a loose bun. You’ll want to place a soft towel over your pillow or sleep in a shower cap. In the morning, shampoo as usual with a gentle cleanser.
  4. To Moisturize Body and Hands  Coconut Oil needs some time to absorb, so its not suggest doing this on your way out of the door.  Best time to lather up is after a shower when your getting into bed.
  5. Rubdown or Body Scrub  Wether you’re planning a romantic rubdown or need a good scrub, Coconut Oil is your go to.  Store bought body scrubs are a waste of money, aside from the fact that they have useless ingredients that are impossible to pronounce.  For a quick DIY project, mix up a fresh batch yourself by adding Sugar or Salt with any essential oil that you like.  We prefer Lavender.