Beauty

Welcome to the best part of the year! I love to curate gift guides because I am one who likes to give the perfect gifts. Each of these gift ideas were carefully selected and are also some of my favorite products that I’ve used and loved for years.

You’ll find many small businesses, eco-friendly, non-toxic, and cruelty-free gifts featured here. That doesn’t mean that everything in this guide is pricey, they’re just the best. 😉 I don’t want you guys to do the work – let me showcase it all for you.

Just click on the guide above or access it here and flip through the pages.

xx, Lynn

I have been totally immersed in nutrition and wellness for a long time, however now I feel like I am truly honing in on what actually works, what’s innate to human health, and how to truly live your best life. And that starts, in part, with what we eat. The gut is the second brain – haven’t you heard?

Hippocrates said over 2,000 years ago that all disease begins in the gut. And it’s also clear that health begins in the gut.

Over 80% of the immune system resides in our gut and the gut produces 75% of our neurotransmitters! SO…we need to take care of our precious guts. {via}

Ok, now let’s get really specific on bacteria AKA gut flora in the gut. We are made up of over 100 trillion microorganisms, or bacteria, which reside in our gut. That’s 10 times more bacteria than all the human cells in the entire body. Having lots and diverse gut flora promotes healthy gastrointestinal function, keeps us protected from infection and illness, helps to regulate metabolism, and recent research has even shown that a healthy microbiome can reduce anxiety. {via}

A lot of people suffer from not so ideal gut flora due to stress, antibiotics, Overuse of NSAIDs, eating a poor diet, and chronic infection.

Ok, so how the eff do we take care of our gut flora? The answer can be complex, but some general tips include:

♡ Consume whole foods

♡ Reduce inflammation by eating turmeric and ginger and remove or reduce foods that are inflammatory from your diet

♡ Take a probiotic

♡ Eat gelatinous foods

…AND here’s where we get into gelatin and specifically, the GUMMIES. Which is why you’re here, right?

Eating gelatinous foods can help protect you from getting a leaky gut. More health benefits of gelatin:

♡ Gelatin contains 18 amino acids which help balance your diet

♡ Reduces wrinkles and cellulite – like HELLO, sign me up! {via}

♡ Supports digestion

♡ Helps to build strong muscles

♡ Enhances gastric acid secretion and aids in restoring a healthy mucosal lining

♡ Reduces joint pain {via}

If you would’ve asked me months ago if I would go out of my way to purchase gelatin or gelatinous foods, I would have said “fuck no”. But referencing the beginning of this blog post, I have realllly begun to dig deep into what is best for optimal health. And I need to put my neurotic disgust with certain foods aside. And yeah, I’m still working on that. I am having a lot of issues with dairy mentally…not physically. I can’t stomach the THOUGHT of it. Gelatin is similar but not quite as bad. I’m telling you this because you might be like me. Sensitive mentally to certain foods. But I am putting my own neuroticism to the side to benefit what’s best for me. Kind of similar to what I did when I stopped being vegan.

ANYWAY.

After looking into the best ways to get gelatin, I came across gummies. Like gummy bears but healthier. The deets on the ingredients:

THE GELATIN

I did what I do best and I researched the hell out of what kind of gelatin to get and I decided on Perfect Supplements Unflavored Gelatin to make the gummies I’m about to share with you. So many gelatin brands add fillers and cut corners but Perfect Supplements does not. It’s important to purchase the right type of gelatin with abundant nutrients and amino acids. It’s rich in amino acids, minerals and is 98% protein. Gelatin is sister to collagen which is the only thing I use to up the protein in bars, shakes and smoothies. They’re nearly identical in amino acid profile, the only difference is gelatin “gels” and collagen does not.

Perfect Supplements Gelatin is exclusively sourced from pastured cows, is non-GMO and is free from hormones and pesticides.  

TART CHERRY JUICE

I knew I wanted to make gummies that were kind of sour, like sour gummy worms but without all the refined sugar. Tart cherry juice is perfectly tart and it is also rich in phytochemicals such as melatonin, the natural sleep hormone. So eating these in the evening may help you sleep in addition to healing your gut. Make sure you buy a tart cherry juice with no additives. I got mine at Whole Foods and it’s the 365 brand with zero additives or preservatives, including sugar.

HONEY TO SWEETEN

I love using a local honey to help with allergies and also to support local businesses. Honey adds the perfect amount of sweetness to your gummies.

THE RECIPE:

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, pour half of the juice and sprinkle gelatin over the juice to “bloom.” Whisk to combine and set aside. It will become very thick – that’s a sign that the gelatin is blooming. 
  • Set the saucepan on medium heat, add the remaining juice. Bring to a gentle simmer, while consistently stirring to make sure all gelatin is dissolved. Set aside for a few minutes to cool. FYI this will smell like a barnyard. Not going to sugarcoat it. It’s pretty nasty…a huge turnoff. And at this point I thought, I will not be able to eat these gummies if this is how they taste or smell.
  • When gelatin and juice is slightly warm to the touch, add honey and stir well. You want to make sure not to denature the honey, so letting it cool is important before adding it in.
  • Pour in silicone candy molds – I bought these cute heart molds on Amazon and they work great. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes, then transfer to refrigerator for 2 hours to set.
  • Invert the silicone molds to remove the gummies. Store in air-tight container for up to 2 weeks. Best be kept in refrigerator.

I’m pleased to tell you that the nasty barnyard smell goes away once the gummies are cooled and set, but if they do warm up, like if you leave them out for a bit, the flavor will creep back in so I like to eat mine cold. And they taste like delish tart cherry gummies!

Eating gelatinous foods like these gummies with muscle meats (think steak, chicken thighs, bacon, etc etc) is so important because it balances out the amino acids we eat when we eat meat.

Peace, love, and GELATIN!

xx, Lynn

If you know me you know I love to do my research – this means really digging, understanding biases, agendas, you know the drill. 

WAY back in 2009 I wrote a blog post about sunscreen. That is when I learned that not all sunscreens are created equal and wrote about the benefits of using a physical sunscreen vs. a chemical sunscreen. But now, I’ve learned that there is a lot more to the picture and a lot more to consider even buying physical sunscreens, because some are still filled with toxic chemicals. 

Almost every health and/or women’s magazine will advise you to wear daily sunscreen in an effort to protect us from skin damage and skin cancer. Until a few months ago, I followed this advice. Once I learned about the toxic chemicals in most sunscreens and humans’ need for unprotected sun every day, I now only wear sunblock (and yeah, there is a difference between sunscreen and sunblock) when I will be out in the sun in the middle of the day for an extended period of time. 

Ok, now back to sunscreen vs. sunblock. The difference is simply that a sunSCREEN will screen out the sun with chemicals. Chemical UV filters penetrate the skin, enter the bloodstream, and can wreak havoc on our bodies. 500 of the most popular sunscreens actually increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer. {via} SCARY SHIT, right?! {via} SunBLOCK is a physical block, such as Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide. You will need to work a little harder to blend sunblock into your skin, but it’s SO WORTH IT. 

Not only is sunscreen (the ones with toxic ingredients)  mostly just not great for you, but we actually need to be able to produce Vitman D naturally for optimal health. {via}

So what’s a girl to do? How can we protect ourselves from sun damage?

  1. Eat a nutrient-dense diet and avoid polyunsaturated fats which will help your body protect itself from disease. {via}
  2. Dress well – A hat and longer sleeves protect the body without any chemicals.
  3. Use a natural, non-toxic sunblock when you will be exposed to the sun for an extended period of time. My favorite is Juice Beauty’s Sport Sunscreen. The only ingredient is Zinc and it blends into my skin really well. No breakouts, either. I apply it anywhere and everywhere that I need it. 
  4. Use coconut oil as a backup – I just learned that coconut oil has a natural SPF of 4, and I’ve put it on my arms for early morning hikes and no burns here. 

Since most of us are working from home right now, I feel like we should make it a mission to get outside for at least 30 minutes each day and get that Vitamin D! Being in the sun also just puts me in a good mood.

Off to do some sunning…

xx, Lynn

It’s tanning SZN! But you know we don’t like tanning beds. And that’s where a good fake tan comes in. Personally I like to have a glow year-round, but it’s something I do even more during the summer months.

There are a few tricks that you must know before getting that good faux glow though. Because we’ve all seen some bad fake tans, right? Like Oompa Loompa orange skin, extra dark palms, patchy-ness + more.

Let me say that I have experienced ALL of the above. And that is why I’m writing here today about the tips and tricks to practice to get your best, even, natural AND non-toxic glow.

Let’s get right into it:

PREP

  1. At least 8 hours before you use a tanning lotion or mousse, shave everything you need to shave. This is to avoid having your hair follicles show up darker than the rest of your skin when you apply the self-tanner. They need time to close back up after you’ve cut the hair down.
  2. After shaving, exfoliate your entire body with a dry brush or with a shower scrub. I LOVE this one from Nécessaire.
  3. Do not apply fragrance, deodorant, or lotion (yet) to your body.

Quick break from the steps to talk about the tanning mousse that I recently started using and absolutely LOVE. Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 Week Tinted Tan Mousse. I’ve been going through the process of replacing toxic beauty products with non-toxic alternatives which I recently did with my tanning products – not naming names here but when I typed in the self-tanner that I was using before into Think Dirty (you need this app if you want to make sure your bath, body, and cosmetic products are clean) – it came up as VERY DIRTY as in TOXIC. Think Dirty offers up a list of clean alternatives and that is how I found Vita Liberata. This mousse is streak free, lasts for 2 weeks on me, and it does not smell.

So, once you’re ready to start the tanning process:

  1. Stand on a towel to protect your floor and the bottom of your feet
  2. Take off all jewelry
  3. Apply a barrier cream (lotion) on areas where your skin is thicker, like your knees, ankles, elbows, etc.
  4. Start at the tops of your feet and work your way up your body using a tanning glove. I love this one and I wash it often.
  5. When tanning your hands, form a bear/claw-scare pose with your hands to apply the self tanner so that it doesn’t miss your knuckles. I’ve walked around with tan hands with white knuckles before and it ain’t cute.

If you’ve heard about washing your hands right after your tanning sesh, don’t do it. You’ll end up with white hands and a tan body. LOL. Wait at least an hour if you can.

POST

  1. If you start getting too tan, just shower. That will stop the tan from developing any further.
  2. I try not to shave afterwards for as long as possible. No exfoliation either. Not even a loofah! You want that tan to last.

That’s it! Let me know if a video on this process might be helpful?

Here’s to the perfect golden glow!

xo, Lynn

 The Body Dry Brush Medium • Dr. Barbara Sturm • $35 
Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 Week Self Tan Mousse - Medium • Vita Liberata • $54
The Body Exfoliator • Nécessaire • $30

CLIP-IN HAIR EXTENSIONS!

There are so many kinds and your head might be spinning trying to pick out the best pair for your hair. And then blend them in with your real hair. Clip-ins are my JAM and I feel like an authority on the topic because I have tried out so many different brands and styles. I’m pretty detail oriented when it comes to my extensions. They can’t look like they’re dangling from my head like an octopus or give me a penis head. You know what I’m talking about, right?!

Let’s get right into it. Here’s my guide on how to make sure your clip-ins look as natural as possible:

♡ Make sure that the hair extensions texture matches your natural hair texture. The best way to do this is to make sure that 1. the hair you are buying is 100% human hair and NOT at all synthetic. No plastic Barbie vibes here. 2. Take note of the amount of grams you’re buying. If you have thick hair, you’ll want to up the grams.

♡ Make sure the color is on point. Usually with hair extensions you can go 1-2 shades lighter or darker (give or take) and your hair will blend. However: I have had the most luck having custom color done. This will allow you to have the most natural, seamless look color-wise. When I had NBR extensions (not clip-ins), they were custom colored to match the highlight pattern and color of my hair perfectly. You could not tell where my real hair started and ended.

Side note: I recently went darker and LOVE my hair color so much. I wanted something more natural and seamless so Noelle at ash Salon toned by blonde way down to a bronde and left my roots alone for a pretty melt. I had purchased these Hair Shop clip-ins that were bright blonde to match my previous color, but she toned them with the exact same toner that was used on my hair to match my new hair perfectly.

The Hair Shop is my go-to place to buy clip-ins because the color selection is amazing, the quality of the hair is better than any other clip-in brand I’ve tried (and I’ve tried A LOT), and the customer service is fabulous. If you need help color matching, their team will help you.

♡ Have your clip-ins cut to accentuate your hair cut and style. This one is SO IMPORTANT. You don’t want to be walking around with hair that doesn’t blend. Whether you have layers or no layers, you’ll still want to have the extensions cut to make the whole look natural.

After mine were cut, I took one weft out at a time and labeled each one with where it was placed on my head and I keep them all labeled in a drawer with hair ties around each weft. For example: on the top right side of my head, I label that weft “top right” so that I know exactly where each piece goes. I snap them all in super fast – less than 2 minutes!

Let me know if you have any questions – I love helping you with this kind of stuff!

xo, Lynn