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Summer is definitely winding down, especially since the last 2 days, although still warm, were filled with “tropical” rain. Luckily, San Diego doesn’t cool down too much with the change of seasons, which always makes it acceptable to snack on a cold sweet treat.  And when that treat is also healthy, it makes you feel like you don’t have to give up your healthy lifestyle, and you can live life brighter.  I always crave what we call “paletas,” like these Outshine Fruit Bars. And unlike the ones London, Kendall and I sometimes find ourselves riding bikes to pick-up from the local liquor store, I much prefer these Outshine Fruit Bars because I know exactly what they’re made from — real fruit and fresh ingredients. No artificial colors, dyes, or flavors, thank you! These are best enjoyed with the perfect sunset :)

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When I came across the Outshine Fruit Bars, I also realized that they make Simply Yogurt Bars too, which can be eaten like a fro-yo dessert, or if you’re like me and like to get a little weird…breakfast! Back in college I used to have this yogurt concoction that I would literally eat for any meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner). I would freeze my yogurts, and then either chisel them out, or wait until they thawed to the perfect consistency. Then I would top them with fresh (or frozen) fruit and some granola. Please note that any meal also meant when I was in a silent library, chiseling away at my frozen yogurt that I just had to eat.  However, I found it to be the perfect excuse to eat a healthy “dessert” anytime of the day. The Outshine Yogurt Bars make it a little easier because it’s already frozen yogurt with the perfect texture. No more loudly scraping on a frozen solid mass of block.  Just another way to live life brighter 😉 If you want to try it out, I added a little bit of soft-baked granola, semi-recreating my weirdo college treat!  Make sure to look up @OutshineSnacks on Instagram for more recipes and ideas on how to dress up/eat the bars.

Next time you’re at the store (– and not the liquor store…see where Outshine bars are available here), check out Outshine for healthy, sweet, and reliably delicious bars.

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Here are some tips and tricks to help kick-start or renew your passion for fitness and healthy living.  Starting the summer off right…all summer sixteen.

Try out different classes — I know I’m super late to the bandwagon, BUT I recently signed up for Class Pass after 3 months of NO cross-training, but now I am hooked. It made me realize how many different studios are in the area, plus I like how the app is laid out and makes everything super easy to find and book a class (this is not an #ad).  Plus, booking a class and having a cancellation fee = inevitable dedication.

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Find complimentary workouts — If you’re looking to try something new, there are a lot of fitness retailers that offer complimentary workouts. For example, Athleta at Westfield UTC has local instructors from studios such as Yoga Tropics, Barre3 and the Rush come on a weekly basis to offer free workouts. It’s a great way to try new teachers and different workouts all for free! If you’re shopping at Westfield UTC or just in the area, pop-in for a workout, or check out their calendar here.

Attend a workout festivalThe Dailey Method, a line of barre studios that offers a focused and effective workout, just hosted their second annual outdoor barre festival called Daileyfest. This free festival brought together fitness, meditation and the heath and wellness community for a one day action packed yet thoughtful festival. They also introduced their newest workout — Dailey Fusion, combining traditional barre with bursts of intervals. If you missed out, you can try this new class (and The Dailey Method) at the Carlsbad, San Diego and Rancho Bernardo studios.

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Drink the juice — remember when I lived in Little Italy and had access to the best Farmers’ Market including my favorite juice, OH! Juice? We’ll they recently opened a tasting room in Carlsbad, bringing the OH! Juice up to North County (and closer to me). The new tasting room allows for you to try juices before you buy them, and also see the process of how they create their cold-press juices. It’s all part of their mission to educate consumers on the importance of choosing an organic and healthy lifestyle for long-lasting and sustainable health. Definitely a must do if you’re up this way.  The OH! Juice Tasting room is located at 5631 Palmer Way, Suite A, Carlsbad, CA 92010.

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This #Skindependence campaign is sponsored by Well at Walgreens, but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Dri-Fit isn’t only for running tops and workout pants. Just like you don’t want your workout wear to get soaked with sweat or cause chafing, Well at Walgreens pads utilize the same type of technology – the Dri-Fit™ system – to wick away moisture and eliminate friction. This line at Walgreens now has a variety of pads to empower you to regain your #Skindependence.

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During my last period, I took the 7-Day challenge and tried out the Well at Walgreens feminine care products to really put them to the test. My plethora of pads included the Well at Walgreens Ultra Thin Pads featuring the Dri-Fit™ system, Well at Walgreens Long Super Ultra Thin Pads featuring the Dri-Fit™ system, Well at Walgreens Overnight Ultra Thin Pads featuring the Dri-Fit™ system and Well at Walgreens Regular Pantiliners featuring the Dri-Fit™ system.

One of my biggest fears about trying out these pads was just that…wearing a pad. I have no Mean Girls confession to make of a heavy flow and a wide-set vagina. It’s just, it’s been a while since I’ve worn a “sanitary napkin.” I’d even go as far to say AGES.

The last time I can recall wearing a pad ended up being one of the most traumatic experiences of my teenage life. I was at the stage where I had embarrassingly already started my period before all of my friends. At this point in time, my mom didn’t allow me to wear tampons so I was strictly a pad girl. It was a summer afternoon and everyone went swimming. I had my underwear secretly set up with a fresh pad for when I returned so I didn’t have to awkwardly go to the bathroom with a pad in hand. Well this completely backfired when I walked into a room of a completely shredded fresh pad on the floor. My friend’s dog (as dogs do) sniffed out the vagina of my underwear and ate out my feminine hygienic product.

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Shortly after that I’m pretty sure I made the plea to my mom to switch to tampons. Since making this transition, I’ve never turned back. And I’ve continued to maintain this perception that pads are bulky and inhibiting…like your “area” can’t breath. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the Well at Walgreens products, especially the Dri-Fit™ system. It left me feeling fresh and not like I was sitting in a diaper. And this time around I’ve learned my lesson to not pre-set my panties with a pad 😉

Normally my comfort zone is a popular branded plastic applicator tampon, whose name kind of rhymes with “Spandex Twirl”…it’s a product I trust and gravitate towards during that time of the month. However, after trying out these pads, I have a couple of more options to add to my repertoire. I’d say the pantiliners were light and easy for back-up/extra protection on those almost nonexistent days. And the overnight pads were great for night because I didn’t even have to think about the ominous TSS/wearing a tampon to bed. Now I feel comfortable switching it up and grabbing Well at Walgreens feminine care products featuring the Dri-Fit™ systems – especially now that I know, and have experienced, their high quality and affordable price.

couponPLUS, shopping for that T.O.M. at Walgreens means T.O.M. treats 😛

Click here for a coupon to get $1.50 off your next purchase of Well at Walgreens fem. care products featuring the Dri-Fit™ system.  Good for any ONE (1) Well at Walgreens Brand Ultra Thin or Maxi Pads with Dri-Fit™ (excludes 20ct. liners).

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Want to try them for yourself? Enter the #Skindependence Sweepstakes for a chance to win each item I’ve featured above as well as some other fun goodies to help you feel comfortable during your T.O.M. >> Well at Walgreens #Skindependence

Bonus! Join in on the conversation via Twitter on July 7th for another chance to win the featured Well at Walgreens Feminine Care products featuring Dri-Fit™ system, a Walgreens gift card and other prizes! Stay tuned for full details.

 

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From our meal prep last week, London and I both felt and recognized we needed to tweak the system and add more protein. We both felt like we should be incredibly skinny based on our hunger levels. So, to feel satiated we have added more protein to breakfast and some grains to lunch.  We both felt uninspired for dinner and it’s always hard to plan ahead for what will happen during the week.  So we have left dinner to be determined (but if at home, probably something along the lines of a veggie saute topped with a fried egg).

This week’s menu:
Breakfast – Overnight Oat Parfait
Lunch – Pea and little gem salad with farro
Snack 2 – Fig Bars
Dinner – TBD

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Overnight Oat Parfait
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine almond milk, oats and chia seeds in a mason jar.
  2. Cover and shake.
  3. After 12 hours (or once the overnight oats have set), layer with yogurt.
  4. Top with strawberries and serve.

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Pea and little gem salad with farro (+ some)
Inspired by Bon Appetit
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup farro
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 cups little gem lettuce
1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 kumato tomato, diced
1/2 avocado, cubed
2 pinches of walnuts
1 pinch microgreens

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook farro according to directions (I use the 10 minute farro from Trader Joe’s).
  2. Whisk oil and lemon juice in a small bowl to combine; season dressing with salt and pepper.
  3. In a separate bowl or container, add farro, lettuce, peas, tomatoes and avocado. Toss with dressing.
  4. Top with walnuts and microgreens.
  5. Serve with your choice of protein.

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Spring is officially here!  And while you’re spring cleaning other areas of your life…why not add your skin care routine?  Because I know I DID.

Last week I visited Westfield UTC to shop for new skin care products.  I was never really concerned with this before, but in the last year or so I realized, if I don’t make any changes…neither will my skin.

I also made the mistake of not taking any skin care products with me to Mexico.  I thought the sun would fry it all.  However, oil-based massages (the kind that also involve rubbing your face) led to what felt like an ant colony crop up on my chin.

So desperately, I sought out natural products that would work well for my skin and have some longevity.  I’d say my skin is definitely on the oily side, with varying patches of acne (no rhyme or reason to where or why it pops up).  With how much activity I engage in, regardless of how hard I try to keep my skin clean, ultimately it comes down to the products I’m using.

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Luckily, Westfield UTC had both stores I needed to visit — Lush and The Body Shop.  I am the biggest skeptic and I usually hate being helped at stores.  But I willingly accepted advice and purchased the following products — all of which have already made my skin so soft and noticeably smoother!!  These products are a great way to spring clean your skin care routine because they’re effective and natural remedies.

Lush is known for their face masks and bath bombs.  I’ve never been to into masks but decided it’s something I want to add to my regimen.  Plus, putting on a mask for 10-15 minutes and just chillin’ sounds so therapeutic and relaxing for a 1-2x per week ritual.

To deal with my catastrophic face, I decided to go with the Catastrophe Cosmetic mask (hahah ok I’m being a little dramatic).  However, this is a good overall skin calming face mask that utilizes blueberries and calamine.  Cupcake was also recommended which I found humorous because it’s suggested for teenage skin 😛 #foreveryoung

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Then I mosied on over to The Body Shop where I delved into tea tree oil and seaweed products.

Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic that works for different types of skin impurities. Originally started out with this tea tree oil kit from The Body Shop and found I found it worked really well.  So I decided to go full force and commit to full-size products and some additional lotions.  I got:

The seaweed product line is also good for rebalancing oil.  So instead of getting increasingly greasier during the day, my oil is more manageable and mellow.  I’m using:

Luckily, The Body Shop has a great deal of buy 3, get 2 free promo which helped out on my skin desperation spending spree…

Plz share! What’s your skin clearing regimen?

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Last week I had the opportunity to review Sun Basket. Sun Basket is a meal kit delivery service, shipping fresh organic ingredients from west coast farmers directly to you.  With accompanying quick and healthy recipes developed every week, this makes weeknight dinners easy. I received 3 meals for 2 people. For the week, I selected:

  • Grilled shrimp and blood orange-jicama salad with salsa verde
  • Burmese pork and vegetable stew with lemongrass
  • Turkey-apple sausage, beet-apple salad, walnut vinaigrette

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I loved this because it gave me the opportunity to entertain. The first night I invited London over for the grilled shrimp and blood orange-jicama salad with salsa verde. It was a light and refreshing meal packed with protein.

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The next night I had Kevin over for the Burmese pork and vegetable stew with lemongrass. This soup was very warming, super fragrant with a robust flavor.

Unfortunately, due to my schedule, I wasn’t able to make the turkey-apple sausage, beet-apple salad with walnut vinaigrette meal.

I loved how Sun Basket introduced me to new flavors and new meal ideas. These were super easy to put together with all of the ingredients exactly portioned out so nothing went to waste. Definitely makes living a healthy and active life more streamline and easy!

For only $11.49 per meal (per person), I think this is a great deal. It will definitely get you in the kitchen and save you time (grocery shopping, prepping, portioning). And with paleo, gluten-free and vegetarian options, there’s something for everyone, regardless of your dietary preferences or restrictions.  Sun Basket is currently available to be shipped to California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Nevada.

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I’ve mentioned it before, and Kate’s literally laughed in my face when I’ve said one of my goals has been to clear up my skin. For someone who had moderate pubescent acne, it’s stricken pretty hard as an adult.

For the past couple of months I’ve been pretty religious with my skin care, taking my “acne kit” around with me for anytime I’m not home.

I’ve gone from dermatologist prescribed (day topical: Acanya, night topical: Atralin, oral: minocycline,wash: Sumadan), to OTC (Juice Beauty), back to derm (night topical: Epiduo, oral: spironolactone).  You’ll see instead of having the whole gamut of prescriptions, I have one night topical and a blood pressure pill that doesn’t really work well to lower blood pressure but works better for acne (don’t ask me).

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With this regimen, I was in need of a gentle wash and natural moisturizers. In search of this, I found my favorite skincare, Skinfix, just came out with a face line! Like the hand repair cream and rash repair balm I use, the face line is about as natural as you can get (which is important, especially when you’re dealing with an acne war zone!).  Made with natural ingredients and pH balanced, the formula is free of parabens, synthetic fragrance and dyes making it gentle and non-irritating.

Here’s what I’ve been using:

Foaming oil cleanser (97% natural) — I know my gut instinct is to gravitate towards an abrasive scrub to get rid of all oils and impurities.  However, when I do this, I find my skin produces more oil to compensate for everything it’s been stripped of. In stark contrast, this Skinfix foaming oil cleanser utilizes natural oils to keep your skin supple.  It’s dermatologist recommended and for all skin types.  It also uses coconut based cleansers that gently wash away dirt and make up, without stripping the skin’s essential moisture.

Hydrating lotion (95% natural) and Moisture boost serum (97.5% natural) — I’ve been using the hydrating lotion during the day and the moisture boost serum at night to lock in the benefits.  Both of these moisturizers are lightweight and help make my face look fresh, moisturized and “dewy” without feeling overly greasy or oily (a big struggle for me)!

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Brightening eye cream (96.5% natural) — I’ve also been using the eye cream because Daja (the girl who’s done my makeup for a couple recent photoshoots) recommended using one because the skin beneath your eyes doesn’t absorb regular moisturizers the way the rest of your face does.  It’s definitely something I’ve neglected in the past, but it’s already helped to brighten the dark circles under my eyes.

All of these products are now available (and on sale!) at Ulta.

What’s your tried and true skin regimen?

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For bright and glowing skin…literally. When you create a thick, blue box mac ‘n cheese consistency, pasty mask with 8x as much turmeric as you’re supposed to…your skin will turn yellow and you’ll definitely be glowing!

So, my brother told me about a concoction he’s been using lately to clear up his skin and blemishes. This past week my skin has gotten awful. Like pubescent awful. In desperate need for anything to help clear up my skin, I decided to try this. However, not receiving any type of specific recipe, I decided to tool around to create my own (and con London into doing it too).

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Not realizing until our fingers had already been dyed yellow that our faces would soon be too. Luckily, with some soap and some make-up wipes, the yellow came off, and we were left with soft skin. And I swear it helped reduce the inflammation and clear up my forehead filled with dots…

Coconut Curry Skin Mask
INGREDIENTS:
1 Tbsp. turmeric**
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. coconut flout
1 Tsp. raw unfiltered honey
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.  Add more liquid or powder substances as necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
  2. On clean, dry skin, use your fingers to coat your face and create a mask.  Leave on for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Using warm water, rinse off the mask.

**Our suggestion would be to reduce the amount of turmeric used, or be ready for yellow damage control!!

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Or rather, barely ran.

Since my last race was in May and I was able to achieve what I set out to do (BQ), it’s been no secret I’ve taken quite a break from running this summer. My dad even asked me the other day, “looks like there’s a lot of ‘rest’ days lately…” So, yes. While I still try to run 20-30 15-20 miles a week, other activities have popped up and I’ve tried to capitalize on new opportunities to stay fit and have fun. Whether you’re a runner or not, here are a few ideas on how to stay in shape during the summer months, especially when you go from something so intense (such as marathon training), to feeling like you’re doing nothing…

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Cross-train: for me right now (and I keep saying it over and over…but it is NOT supposed to be 90+ degrees in San Diego), running outdoors is unbearable. Luckily, there is hot yoga available (hahah — I guess from one heated extreme to the next…at least hot yoga is supposed to be hot!). I’ve been incorporating some regular flow and bootcamp classes into my schedule, something I seriously lacked during marathon training.

Other ideas: find other (indoor) gym classes such as BODYPUMP, spin, etc.

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Try other activities: yassss bro, right now I’m like the ultimate surfer girl. Jk. But this summer my boyfriend taught me how to surf and now I’m completely obsessed. Jumping in the water is like 100x better than running in the scorching sun on a Saturday morning (because we all know I haven’t been doing those lately…).

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We’ve also been camping, hiking and just getting outdoors in general a ton, which makes you feel refreshed, healthy and active, keeping things fun without making it feel like you’re purposefully “working out.”

Other ideas: swim laps in a pool, swim in the ocean/open water, ride bikes, etc.

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How do you stay in shape during the summer months?

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I’ve spent a good amount of time this summer complaining about the heat, while simultaneously soaking up sun and submerging myself in water at the beach. And while summer technically “ends” this upcoming weekend, San Diego doesn’t experience seasons, so as a result this activity will continue well into September/October…

However, due to all this sun exposure and water play, my tan has developed but I’ve noticed dry patches of eczema creep up that have created white splotchy sections on my arms. And while I appreciate the tan…sometimes I feel like a spotty banana!! I’ve started using a new product that I wanted to share because I feel like you wouldn’t normally pick up and decide to use for your whole body — SkinFix Hand Repair Cream. But strangely enough, it works. I’ve started to apply it on my arms after every shower, and even within the first few days I started to notice a difference.

My favorite part though is that it’s a natural formula (free of steroids, fragrance, and soy) that uses healing botanicals, rich natural butters and emollient oils to rebuild the skin barrier.  It’s a good investment and addition to the medicine cabinet because I know come fall/winter (when the seasons sort-of change) I’ll be using it for it’s actual “hand repair” use to deal with dry and cracked hands.

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Bikini Top  // Bottoms // Skinfix

Tell me: do you have any natural products or regimens to deal with dry skin and/or eczema?

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