12 Steps for Party Perfect Skin

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(That's me before a recent holiday party, driving home from DryBar with full hair, makeup ... and sweats. Yes, I changed.)

Champagne, confetti, countdowns ... New Year's Eve is coming, whether you like it or not. And with it comes all the potentially unfiltered photos that will grace – or haunt – your social media for the next month. That means when you head out to whatever extravaganza you've got planned, you want to look and feel your best ... which means an outfit you love, hair on point (thanks, Drybar!) and most importantly, party-ready skin that looks fresh, not fried. Staying home to watch Mariah *try* to redeem herself at New Year's Rockin' Eve? It's still worth putting in a little extra time to wake up on January 1 with an enviable "this is my year" glow.

I'll preface this by saying that I am not one of those people who occasionally suds up with a bar of Dove soap and miraculously has a complexion like Lily Collins. Like many people, I struggle with breakouts, wrinkles, dark under-eye circles ... the list goes on (*sob*), so I do my best to stick to a regular skincare regimen to keep things in check. And, for big events. I like to add a few more special steps for glowing skin.

Whether you're heading to a casual dinner, a fancy soiree or just the local dive bar this NYE, here are a few night out skin secrets that will have you reaching for the selfie stick (hey, they actually do take good pix, okay) when the clock strikes midnight.


The night before

  1. Avoid salt. You don’t want your face to look like a puff ball, do you? So avoid anything laden with sodium, like processed and packaged foods, sauces, canned soups, etc.

  2. Chug depuffing drinks. I drink two, typically the night before an event AND the morning of the event if I can make it happen. Recipes for Ultra Lemon Water and Cranberry Flush are below.

  3. Steam. Set a pot of boiling water on the stove (bonus points if you add in dried herbs), then carefully (carefully!) hang your head about 10 inches above the pot. Drape a towel over your head to keep the steam in. This will help any gunk ooze out of your pores, which brings us to Step 3 ...

  4. Apply a detoxifying mask. Now that your pores are nice and clean and open, purge any buildup with a mask suited to your skin type. I switch it up, but usually like masks by Peter Thomas Roth, Aveda, GlamGlow and Glossier.

  5. Slather on an intensive moisturizer or oil, and eye cream. Moisturized skin is plump, bouncy, youthful … all things we’re going for, so lay on the hydration. I’ve been using this nighttime oil and this eye cream.

  6. Apply an overnight face mask. Your skin repairs itself while you sleep, so this is a great time to load it up with beneficial nutrients and vitamins. This is one of the only overnight masks I’ve tried that gives me visible results.

  7. Use two pillows. This will help fluid drain away from your face and prevent under-eye bags the size of carry-ons.

The day of

  1. Give yourself an ice facial. What’s an ice facial, you ask? It’s simple. Dump a tray of ice cubes into a large, shallow bowl, fill the rest with cold water, and dunk your clean face in for as long as you can stand. This will tighten up your pores and bring a beautiful flush to your cheeks. Kate Moss does this, so you know it’s legit. Make sure to hold your breath.

  2. Apply a hydrating sheet mask. Again with the moisture. Sheet masks are great because they really press ingredients into your skin. Look for ones featuring words like “luminous” “brighten” “hydrate” and “glow.” I recently used this one and liked it.

  3. Jade roll. I freaking love jade rolling. It’s basically a form of facial lymphatic massage that drains away excess fluid and puffiness (it also pushes those good mask ingredients in even further). Store yours in the freezer, then roll repeatedly over forehead, cheeks, eyes, sides of nose, chin, and neck. No jade roller? Massage your mask in with your fingertips, and place two frozen spoons over your eyes for a minute or two.

  4. Apply light moisturizer and depuffing eye cream. Ok, now it’s time to get down to business. Apply your daily moisturizer (I use this one) and a depuffing eye cream, and let them sink in for at least 10 minutes.

  5. Smooth on primer. Don’t miss this step!! Primer is critical for ensuring smooth, even makeup application. This one is an old standard. And, for brownie points, you can keep chugging depuffing drinks throughout the day.


Ultra Lemon Water

Wash 2 organic lemons and slice them in half.

Bring water to a boil.

Squeeze the lemon juice into the water, then throw in peels as well.

Let steep for at least 10 minutes.

Sip slowly.

 

Cranberry Flush

Blend ½ cup frozen cranberries with 1 cup water.

Drink.


What are your favorite tips and products for amazing night-out skin? Please let me know ... I need 'em!

 

Posted on December 28, 2017 and filed under Lifestyle.

What I Eat in a Day

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Alright guys, Thanksgiving is behind us, and along with it all the buttery stuffing, gravy-sogged turkey, both kinds of pie, and excuses for “just one more” glass of wine (“My family drives me to drink”/”The holidays drive me to drink”/”Whatever, I’ll just do sober January” … take your pick).

It’s time to get back to our regularly scheduled programming, especially since the season of holiday parties (and hence, holiday dresses) is mere days away. So, I’m sharing what I eat on an average weekday.

Please note – this is most definitely not true for every weekday, and my weekends include a lot more indulgences like farmer’s market scrambles with a side of Bloody, fish tacos, you get the idea. Also, on an average day I drink 1-2 cups of decaf coffee with soy milk and Splenda, and as much water as I can force down. Also … La Croix. #basic


Breakfast: Blueberry Coconut Smoothie

I drink the same breakfast smoothie almost every day, based on the Fab Four Smoothie formula, and here’s what’s in it: one heaping handful of organic baby spinach, 1 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk, 1 scoop vanilla coconut collagen protein powder, 1 TBS almond butter, 1 TBS flaxseed, 1 TBS chia seeds pre-soaked in water, ¼ cup frozen organic blueberries, 2 ice cubes. I blend it in the Vitamix, seal it in a mason jar, and drink it at the office. If I’m running late or the Vitamix is dirty, I’ll grab the Epic Green smoothie from Project Juice (obsessed).

Lunch: Power Bowl

The concept of a power bowl is simple – it’s any combination of roasted veggies, legumes and cooked grains you have on hand, topped with a healthy dollop of hummus and a big scoop of avocado. Typically I roast a big batch of veggies on Sunday and make either a pot of quinoa, farro, or black beans, then reheat as the day goes on. My favorite roasted veggies to include: broccoli, chickpeas, sweet potatoes or butternut squash, red onions and bell peppers. Also, after lunch I usually eat two or three chocolate-covered pretzels because I have a raging sweet tooth.

Snack: Trail Mix or Banana with Peanut Butter

Chalk this one up to laziness, because both of these options are just steps away in the Salesforce kitchen. I’ll either grab a heaping handful of trail mix, or slice up a banana and top it with a packet of Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter.

Dinner: Seafood + Veggies + Grain

This one varies, and we for sure don’t have fish every night, but after my trending vegan journey started we pretty much never cook meat at home anymore, so that leaves seafood, veggies, and grains. A few easy options are salmon tacos or whole-wheat pasta mixed with zoodles and shrimp. We also get Gobble meals like pan-seared tilapia with garlic cilantro rice delivered (kinda like Blue Apron but wayyy faster to make). Oh, and I also can’t get enough of this vegan mac and cheese recipe with broccoli.

Dessert: “Healthy” Treat

I require a little dessert every night (remember, I have a raging sweet tooth), and I love to bake, so most weekends I whip up something sweet to carry me through the rest of the week. After dinner, in front of Bravo (fine, sometimes E!), I’ll have a mini ramekin of healthy chocolate chip cookie dough, a black bean brownie topped with almond butter, a raw date, coconut and cashew ball, or another healthy dessert.

And there you have it! Nothing too crazy but helps me stay on track, at least Monday through Friday. Now here’s hoping I can actually stick to it once the holiday sugar cookies stat magically showing up in the office …

Posted on November 27, 2017 and filed under Food, Lifestyle.

August Roundup: Apricot Granola, Whole Foods Drops Prices & More

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The latest links worth clicking

 

Apricot-hazelnut granola recipe: Made this last weekend and it is SO. GOOD.

Hallelujah! Lower prices at Whole Foods: From eggs to bananas, your full list of cheapies.

10 healthy eating Instagram accounts to follow: Bring on the food inspo.

How to sleep like a baby on airplanes: Attempting all these on my flight to NYC tonight.

9 new things to buy at Trader Joe’s in August: Coconut cold brew, onion salt and more.

What to expect at your first SoulCycle class: Lots of sweat, little personal space.

Kitchen tools to save and splurge on: Guess I didn’t need that $150 cast-iron skillet.


For more of my favorite links, follow me on Twitter.

 

Posted on August 31, 2017 and filed under Roundups.

5 Friday Favorites

Five fabulous things I’m loving this week.

 

Beloved

I just discovered this adorable hole-in-the-wall natural cafe and juicery in the Mission and I. AM. OBSESSED. The vibe is cozy hipster bohemian and the menu is out of control - goji turmeric smoothies, chia seed and hemp oatmeal, raw vegan cheesecake, you get the picture. I had the citrus hazelnut kale salad with figs, carrots, sprouts, oranges, toasted hazelnuts and avocado (above), and the quinoa bowl with roasted veggies was also amaze. Can I move in?

 

5 Pound Weights in SoulCycle

I’ve been going to Soul off and on for years, and have always defaulted to the 3 pound weights (and P.S. they are not easy – we’re talking about tons of fast-paced reps). But a few weeks ago I was there with my friend Megan (who’s preggers and fitspo to le max), and saw her immediately go for the 5s. So I figured, what the hell. Yes, it was harder. Yes, I had to stop to rest a few times. But it felt so good to push myself and I know I’m going to keep coming back for more. Check out this article to see if you’re ready to go up in weights.

 

Running in Glen Canyon Park

Back when we lived closer to the Marina, I used to run constantly … to the Golden Gate Bridge, to the Ferry Building, up and down the slopes of Russian Hill. Since we moved to Noe Valley, I’ve fallen out of the habit. My excuse: there are too many hills and too many crosswalks (I also don’t have my running buddies nearby to hold me accountable). But recently I discovered a beautiful 3-mile loop from my house through Glen Canyon Park. It’s a trail run with wooden steps and inclines, forest paths, and gorgeous views, and feels like you're not even in the city anymore. I’m hooked again.

 

Cheap Bikinis from Zaful

It’s summer, which means sun, which means beaches, which means bikini season. But honestly, I already own a TON of bathing suits, and in foggy San Francisco I really don’t need any more. So I’ve been ordering a few fun, insanely cheap bikinis online … for like, $13. Yeah, they’re probably going to fall apart after a month, and yeah, the sizing and fit leave something to be desired. But they satisfy my shopping urge, are great for mixing it up in pix, and keep me from breaking the bank. My latest purchases: this, this, and this.

 

Epsom Salt Baths

Work stress (at least for me) is a fact of life, so lately I’ve been proactive about finding more healthy ways to deal with it. My latest relaxation technique is soaking in an epsom salt bath. You can buy the salts anywhere (I got mine at Walgreens) and they boast a host of health benefits – they break down into magnesium and sulfate in the water to help ease pain sore muscles, improve sleep, reduce stress, flush, aid your body’s absorption of nutrients, and treat everything from psoriasis to bruises. Plus you’re lying in a hot bath which is heaven anyway. Sold.

 

Posted on August 25, 2017 and filed under Roundups.

30 Days to a 5-Minute Plank

30 Days to a 5-Minute Plank

Happy August friends!

How is it August already? No clue, but summer is flying by and I’m not sure how I feel about that. Luckily, we’ve got another whole month until Labor Day, which means we’ve still got time to work on our summer bodies (which is definitely needed since I spent last weekend eating steak, cake and champagne, it’s fine).

Enter the August Plank Challenge. This 30-day program will take you from a 20-second plank to a 5-MINUTE PLANK! I know. I know. Five minutes sounds like an eternity, but let me tell you – I did this challenge last year, and after doing a 5-minute plank you feel seriously badass. And, not only are planks an awesome core conditioning exercise, but they work your glutes, hamstrings, quads, obliques and help give you fab posture and balance.

Start today, August 1, and you’ll be rocking Navy Seal-esque planks come September, straight up.

Take the Plank Challenge

After making it through the challenge before, here are my top tips:

  1. Use padding. Spending up to 5 minutes on your elbows on a hard surface is not fun. Get thee to a yoga mat, or plank on a folded blanket or towel.

  2. Form is everything. Your form will make the difference between an effective plank that works the right muscles, and a potential injury. Keep your neck and spine long, eyes gazing down at your thumbs, shoulders right over your elbows, abs pulled up and in, heels shooting back behind you. Learn more here.

  3. Mix it up. Keep things interesting by adding variations to your plank: dip your hips from side to side, bend one knee down to touch the floor and then reverse, step your feet out and in again, or pop up to your hands for a minute.

  4. Distract yoself. It’s absolutely critical to provide a pleasant distraction, or those 5 minutes will feel like 5 hours. TV is a no go since proper form requires you to be staring down at the floor. Enter YouTube videos on your cell phone! They’re usually several minutes long already (at least), and you can nestle the phone right between your elbows. My fave is watching abspirational music videos - Britney, Christina (back in the day), Shakira, J.Lo, Beyonce. Listening to podcasts or the radio are also acceptable.

  5. Breathe! You’ll never make it through the challenge if you’re not getting enough oxygen. Take deep breaths in through the nose filling the lungs, and out through the mouth.

 

Alright what do you say? Are you with me?

 

Posted on August 1, 2017 and filed under Fitness.