My Skincare Regimen With Perioral Dermatitis

After my last two recent posts on my personal experience with perioral dermatitis, I've received a ton of questions regarding how I care for my skin on a daily basis with PD. I was already going to post my skincare regimen, but felt I had to get this post out ASAP for all of you out there looking for a beam of light in all the PD darkness. I also want to mention that I feel so humbled and blessed that my struggle with perioral dermatitis has brought hope back into your life! Thank you for those with such kind words and support!

First of all let me start out by saying this, I take care of my skin every single day as if I have a full blown case of perioral dermatitis rash. I may not see redness or unsightly, itchy bumps, nonetheless what goes on my skin each day and night must work harmoniously with my skin in order to prevent irritation or going back to square one. By far, I do not live in fear that the PD is gonna pop out again, I just always keep my skincare products in check and make sure I am doing everything possible to keep it away or gone for good! As it was mentioned earlier, once you have perioral dermatitis its hard to get rid of completely and comes back in time. So I want to be prepared!

I also need to mention this, if you have perioral dermatitis and you want clear skin again, you must be diligent with your skincare regimen. PD is insanely sensitive to nearly everything. Your daily and nightly regimen is crucial to keeping your skin and your spirits happy and healthy!

So here's my current skincare regimen:

Osmia Organics Black Clay Facial Soap. What it looks like fresh and new out of the box! 

Every morning & evening, I double cleanse. Double cleanse means exactly what it says, cleanse twice. The first cleanse removes oil, dirt, residue etc. The second cleanse leaves my skin a clean slate and ready to soak up the next set of cleansing. Omit any washcloths or facial cleansing towels to the areas affected please!

Product: 1. Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser   |   2. Osmia Organics Black Clay Facial Cleansing Soap

After cleansing, I gently pat dry my face with a clean towel. No rubbing or tugging here! Remember PD is a rash, and irritable skin condition, the last thing it needs is further irritation. Once my skin is dry, I apply a thin layer of Dr. Alkaitis Organic Soothing Gel to my entire face and neck (avoid the delicate eye area) I allow the Soothing Gel to fully absorb before I put anything else on.

Product: Dr Alkaitis Organic Soothing Gel

I moisturize my face, neck and decollate with a facial oil/serum. Yes I just said OIL! Many PD sufferers shy away from oil and have been told oil can exasperate the condition. Not if you use the right kind. I alternate between two facial moisturizing oils. What I used for a long time and still do is True Nature Botanicals Pacific Face Oil. I wrote about it in my post of 3 Serums to Treat Perioral Dermatitis and in a review here. I also now have added into my moisturizing step, Indie Lee's Squalane Facial Oil. I don't use both on my face at the same time FYI! Both oils are so different and I choose them based on how my skin is overall feeling that day. I find that the Pacific Face Oil is a bit richer in its properties so I tend to use it more at night time now. The Pacific Face Oil has a divine yet soothing and natural aroma, a perfect way to end the day with such a lovely moisturizing ritual. Sometimes during my morning skincare routine I'll apply the PFO to my neck and decollate.  The Squalane Oil is much lighter and easier to absorb into the skin during daytime. It acts as a nice moisturizer alone or underneath my makeup! It's great for those with even the most sensitive skin!

Product: 1. Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil  |  2. True Nature Botanicals Pacific Face Oil

I like to let my Facial Oils penetrate my skin for a few minutes or as long as I can realistically leave it on without applying SPF or Makeup over it. I'll brush my teeth, or do other things to give my skin time to get all those great nutrients. SPF is the very last step in my skincare regimen. I apply Rhonda Allison's eZinc Protection Cream. I absolutely love this SPF! Its All natural, soothing and never leaves a greasy film. It also goes on without rubbing the typical thick white paste all over the face. It is smooth and has a natural creamy color without tinting or whiting out your skin. Zinc Oxide is great for those with Perioral Dermatitis as it acts as a natural skin protectant and helps balance oil production. And if you don't have PD, you still can benefit from a SPF made only of Zinc Oxide as the sun protectant factor ingredient! Titanium Dioxide is also deemed safe. Anything else listed on the ingredients list as a SPF are CHEMICALS! So beware!

Product: Rhonda Allison eZinc Protection Cream

There is still more perioral information yet to come! So please check back for more important information on this irritating facial rash!

Eucalyptus & Pine DIY Winter Wreath

Today I am over at Eco Diva Beauty, sharing this easy DIY Winter Wreath tutorial made of Eucalyptus & Pine for the season. It graces my front door entry and my family and I just love it. The simplicity, elegance and the fact that its made of natural materials makes this a lovely & eco friendly winter decor accessory! Read the tutorial here. Have a great weekend!

Holiday Recipes: Sweet Potato Souffle

In case you missed this, you have to click over to Eco Diva Beauty to get this amazing Holiday Sweet Potato Souffle! It is so delicious, you can't believe how good it is for you too! Happy Holidays!

3 Serums To Treat Perioral Dermatitis

Today I am continuing the Perioral Dermatitis saga....

In order to treat Perioral Dermatitis it is first important to know what it is. So what exactly is it?

According to "Perioral dermatitis is a rash that develops around the mouth. The word perioral means "around the mouth". Dermatitis means "inflammation of the skin".

UGH. I really don't like RASHES. They are hard to detect and can often be quite challenging to heal since there are almost an infinite amount of rashes out there. So the next question to ask is: What is the rash like? Again according to the above site this is what they say:

"Typically, small red or pink lumpy spots develop on the skin anywhere around the outside of the mouth. That is, they may appear on the chin, cheeks, and the skin next to and below the nose. They look a little like acne spots, but perioral dermatitis is NOT acne. The skin under and next to each spot is often red or pink. It there are a lot of spots next to each other, then the area of affected skin can just look red and lumpy. Sometimes the skin surface can become dry and flaky.
Typically, the skin just next to the lips is not affected, or is affected much less than the skin just a little further away from the lips. So, in some cases, it looks like the rash forms almost a ring around the mouth, but sparing a small border of skin next to the lips. Occasionally, the skin around the eyes is also affected.
The severity of the rash can vary from a few minor spots that are barely noticeable, to a definite and obvious lumpy rash that is around the mouth. The rash is not usually painful or itchy. However, some people report a mild burning or itchy feeling. Others report that the affected skin feels tense. The rash is not serious and is not associated with any underlying disease. However, it can be unsightly."
So again, really great information, but how to treat Perioral Dermatitis was a frustrating journey. I couldn't find the answer. There really is hardly any good information on exactly how to cure or treat PD. Why? This rash I take it, is just as a mystery to doctors as it is to us in my opinion. As I mentioned in my earlier post what the doctors were doing didn't help and I didn't want to take steroid cremes or antibiotics. Those are temporary as well as toxic fixes,  the rash will ultimately come back anyways. So I didn't even want to go there. Many times I felt like I wasn't making any progress with my PD. My skincare routine was painfully long and difficult. I experimented with different skin care regimens over a period of time. I became my own science project! To save you the pain and length of reading each method I tried, I want to share with you today the 3 topical serums/ointments that I use frequently to soothe and ultimately got rid of my PD. This does not include lifestyle, cleansers etc. Those are yet other posts to come.
What you put on perioral dermatitis is extremely important. I cannot stress this point enough and is why I am starting here. The topical cremes, ointments etc can either help PD or exasperate it out of control. In fact the rash is often suspected to be caused by lotions and potions. It really became a balancing journey for me to find healing topicals that didn't irritate the condition. Here are my 3 loves:
1. Dr. Alkaitis Organic Soothing Gel: Again, if I were stranded on a desert island the Soothing Gel would absolutely go with me! I cannot live without this amazing concoction of herbal healing bliss. The gel is actually more like a liquid than a gooey gel. The plant based ingredients within Dr Alkaitis Soothing Gel are incredibly antibacterial, antiviral and so amazing for even the most sensitive skin. I call it a superhero product and works naturally with skin. With each use, I noticed redness dissipating, the bumps flattening more and more and even the pigmentation I got as a result from the PD has started to fade. The answer to my prayers! The gel also works nicely as a light moisturizer. After I double cleanse and pat dry my skin, I spread a thin layer all over my face. I allow the gel to thoroughly soak into my pores before putting anything else on top. As a side note, even if you don't have perioral dermatitis, this soothing gel is universal. As an Esthetician and consumer of this product I would recommend it to everyone. I don't make that statement about many products, so I hope you will take that message whole heartedly.
2. True Nature Botanicals Pacific Face Oil: Earlier this year I wrote a review on this face oil here. However, I feel the Pacific Face Oil deserves another review in perhaps another post to thoroughly explain why this product is so incredible. I contacted True Nature Botanicals, asking them in-depth questions about this oil in relation to perioral dermatitis. Let me tell you the customer service with this company is phenomenal! They are so knowledgeable about each ingredient they put into their products! I was hesitant to use oil again on my face after finally seeming to get the PD under control. I had read that oil can irritate PD. So I contacted Kevin Dooley at TNB, and he went over in great detail many of the ingredients are antibacterial, antiviralanti inflammatory and so much more. I learned so much from him! So I decided to trust his knowledge and have been using the Pacific Face Oil as my daily moisturizer ever since. I love that a little goes a very long way. It does not irritate my PD, in fact I know it is giving my skin exactly what it needs to stay healthy, vibrant, moisturized and clear from perioral dermatitis naturally. Thank you True Nature Botanicals for all your support and such a great product!
3. Eminence Cornflower Recovery Serum: This hydrating serum is part of Eminence Organic's Biodynamic product line. This means that this product is incredibly potent, healing and free of all chemicals, pesticides and other toxins. The plants are even planted and harvested according to lunar cycles. Pretty neat info! As the title of the serum says it is for recovery. A perfect serum for those with redness in their skin caused by rosacea and other skin irritations. This serum helped get my perioral dermatitis to cut back significantly. It detoxed my skin of the rash naturally using cornflower, chamomile and hibiscus. It helped put the moisture back into my skin where the rash was occurring and also soothed the skin surrounding it. I love this serum, however I am not needing to use this serum as often as I did in the beginning. Sometimes I throw this serum on for extra hydration and anti aging purposes. 

It is my hope that anyone out there suffering with perioral dermatitis can see positive results using these 3 products. They worked for my skin and it is not a guarantee it shall work for others. 

Have you tried any of these products for perioral dermatitis or another skin issue? I'd love to know! Again, I will continue the perioral dermatitis saga with more helpful tips on treating it and so much more. Stay tuned! 

My Story With Peri Oral Dermatitis

Today is a very personal and transparent post about my own skincare problems or shall I say challenge. Almost 1 year ago now, I was unwillingly initiated and a participant in the peri oral dermatitis club. Let’s just say its not a fun club to be in at all. Following up on this post  where I introduced my struggle with peri oral dermatitis; it all started for me about a month after I stopped breastfeeding my son. Prior to that, I never had even heard of PD. In fact when it all started I thought I was getting little acne breakouts. It started on the right side of my face, between my nose and mouth. So I started treating it as if it were acne. No improvement. It actually started getting worse and worse. The itchiness was so bad. Then I started to think I was getting a fungal infection? I know, weird right. Then suddenly the same strange mystery breakout was now also on the left side of my face between my nose and mouth. That was it. I’d had it. My self esteem was plummeting, makeup couldn’t hide it and it was only getting worse. Imagine my embarrassment as an Esthetician, going into my dermatologists office. He took a quick look at me and immediately deemed “Oh, its peri oral dermatitis” I was stunned. Peri- what??? I had never heard of this skin condition in my life. I was never taught it in school even though it is actually a fairly common issue that many women suffer with. The derm said, “Well you had a baby, hormones change and fluctuate so much during this time of your life, your skin is producing more oil in those areas” He proceeded to talk to me about my skincare regimen, told me to use this certain type of gel cleanser that you can find at any local drugstore and put me immediately on a topical non steroidal creme. Honest moment here, I was desperate to get rid of the PD so I tried those two recommended products. Mistake. I SO knew better. My condition did not get better at all, it actually got angrier and angrier. The redness was horrible, the burn, the itch and the unsightly tiny bumps wouldn’t go away at all. I knew the next step would be to add a topical steroidal creme to the PD and I didn’t want to go there at all. 

This is me about a year ago. Sorry the picture quality is not the best. I shot these images using my iphone in the evening. I am showing this to be very transparent as well as brave to show how my skin looked with peri oral dermatitis.  As you can see the PD is very inflamed and is causing the rest of my skin to be irritated as well from the result of the PD. 

I decided as frustrated as I was, I know knew what this irritation on my face was and decided to do my own research about it. I quickly learned that there is a whole cult of PD sufferers out there. People are putting all kinds of weird stuff on their PD claiming it works but then conditions come back. I found in Europe there are all natural products to aid in the relief of PD but those of us in America can’t get those... Not surprising! I also discovered that my shampoo and soaps and even toothpaste were either causing PD or exasperated it! Then as fate would have it I met in person at A Night For Green Beauty two lovely ladies whom both had perioral dermatitis themselves: Dr. Sarah Villafranco of Osmia Organics & May Lindstrom of May Lindstrom Skin. Both of them soothed my concerns, and told me a bit of their stories and recommendations. I looked at them and all their natural beauty and knew that if they survived PD, so could I! Here’s a bit of what transpired: Toothpaste both claimed is a major culprit as well as my shampoo. I remember May said “ Don’t be surprised if you switch those products that your PD will just go away” Ah, that gave me HOPE. She also had a product recommendation for me to soothe my inflamed condition: The Blue Cocoon. You bet I bought it that very night. There’s more to come on The Blue Cocoon, for now you can read about the 3 highlighted ingredients over at Eco Diva Beauty. Dr Sarah gave me a sample size of her amazing Black Clay Facial Soap. I can’t live without the Black Clay Facial Soap. If I were on a desert island that would be one of several products I would have with me! Dr. Sarah also has a great blog post and video at her site with valuable information about peri oral dermatitis. 

These are some very recent selfies that I took with my iphone and as you can see my skin is free and clear from peri oral dermatitis.

I am so blessed and thankful to say that I no longer live with scaly, itchy, red and bumpy skin. I have been able to find the solution to my Peri Oral Dermatitis. The skin between my nose and mouth does have a slight pink undertone to it but its not bad at all. At least my skin is clear and not irritated any longer. So there you have my PD story in a nutshell. To continue my series of Peri Oral Dermatitis, tomorrow I will be sharing the serums/ topical products that I can’t live without. Each post from here on forward will explain in detail how I no longer have to suffer with PD and the easy skincare regimen that keeps it in check. 

Confessions of an Eco Diva: Why I Went Green With My Beauty Routine

I am really excited about today's post where I am sharing a bit more of a personal article today about my confessions about being an eco diva and my evolution into going green with my makeup, which lead into skincare and more. Click on over to see what its all about at Eco Diva Beauty.

DIY Bath Soak: Blissful Citrus & Lavender

You don't want to miss this easy, all natural DIY beauty post for a citrus and lavender bath soak! It is perfectly divine for autumn weather and great to give as holiday gifts! Head over to find out more at Eco Diva Beauty. Happy Bathing! xo

Portland Bee Balm + A Giveaway!

Trying all natural products is one of the fun things about being an Holistic Esthetician-Blogger. I especially get excited to try amazing all natural products that have incredible stories behind the product and brand. I really want to shout out to Portland Bee Balm for being such an inspiring company! I was contacted by them inquiring if I'd be interested in sampling their lip balm. Heck yes! What I didn't realize until getting to know the product and more about PBB is that they really are a company with a heart and soul. Integrity, honesty and a passion for what they love to do is evident in their incredible lip balm and when you read their story and connect with them you can just feel it. Those are the kind of companies that are rare to find and I love to work with and know. For PBB it started as a love for bee-keeping. Many people don't realize that bees are considered at risk and an endangered species. This is not good for us or the planet at all since bees do so much hard work pollinating a majority of all the plants we eat. Bees are the reason for healthy plants, which in turn means healthier air, water, soil.. a healthy planet. Portland Bee Balm has some great tips on their website about what we can do to make a difference with bees. I sure don't want bees to go away anytime soon so I support the mission of PBB wholeheartedly.

Portland Bee Balm is made of 4 all natural ingredients: Local Northwest Oregon Beeswax, Organic Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Oregon Peppermint Essential Oil.

I love the fact that the lip balm comes standard in a tube. Easy to use and keep in my makeup bag, which I take everywhere with me. It hydrates and moisturizes my lips in one all the while protecting them from the elements. My lips are left smooth and refreshed from the peppermint essential oil. Even my husband hopped on board and is now a huge fan of PBB as well. He tends to suffer from dry, chapped lips, but this balm has helped heal and soothe them. 

On a design note, the tubes are each wrapped in real wood shavings which eliminate the use of paper which is not eco-friendly at all. Everything about Portland Bee Balm from the design to the balm is sustainable and earth loving. Now, I am foreseeing stocking stuffers this year!

So this brings me to the second part of today's post.... In honor of featuring Portland Bee Balm today we are hosting a GIVEAWAY! Two lucky readers will be the selected winners...

To Enter:

Leave a comment below sharing why you love natural products, my blog or Portland Bee Balm
Super Easy.

If you tweet or facebook this giveaway you can enter again (be sure to leave a second comment for this). This giveaway ends this Sunday, November 9th. Good luck, Everyone!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

I am back in the baking mode! There's something about fall, the shorter days, the crisp chill in the air and the time to be sorta home-bound, surrounded by warmth and cozy tidings. Thats where baking falls into play for me. I've been a busy lady at work giving clients Pumpkin Facials so I needed to execute pumpkin somewhere else in my life! Pumpkin everything this time of year is just so fun! I really wanted to bake something this time around a bit more indulgent than I normally make and post here on Dwell in Beauty. I figured it is pumpkin season right now, and thanksgiving is just around the corner. What better way to celebrate both than with a gluten free pumpkin pie cupcake platter? I have to say, that I was pleasantly pleased with my recipe and how the end result turned out! For the record, there are times I get a great idea for a recipe in my head but if it isn't blog worthy, I'll never post it here. It has to knock my socks off to get a space on the web. These little pumpkin treats sure fit the bill. Yes they are indulgent but they are significantly healthier than a regular cupcake out there. Gluten-free, protein packed, fiber packed and all bound together by delicious pumpkin! Yummmm! These cupcakes really are so delicious. Can't wait for you to try...

Cupcake Ingredients:

1 15oz can of organic pumpkin
2 c almond flour
1/2 c coconut flour
1/2 c coconut sugar
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla

Directions for Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven at 375 degrees

In a mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together: almond flour, coconut flour, coconut sugar and baking powder. Then toss in the spices, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and sea salt. Turn the mixer on low and mix thoroughly. Next, add the eggs, milk, vanilla then the pumpkin. Mix until all ingredients are blended together well. Spoon the mixture into paper cups placed inside a cupcake pan. Bake cupcakes for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Directions for Frosting:

1 Package of Cream Cheese (room temperature & grass fed)
1/2 c Butter (room temperature & grass fed)
1/2 c whipped honey

While the cupcakes are baking this is the perfect time to whip up the frosting. Use a blender for this process. Toss in the cream cheese, butter and whipped honey. Mix until smooth and creamy. Set aside and frost on cupcakes once they have cooled.

Makes 12 delicious cupcakes


Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

In case you missed this article, head over to Eco Diva Beauty to get this amazing recipe for gluten free chocolate chip banana bread! Its grain free and paleo diet suitable! It is mouth drooling delicious! Click here to read the article.

Introducing: The Beauty Garden - Holistic & Eco Chic Skincare

Big, big news on the career front! As some of you may know by now through my instagram post here, I have launched my own business aside from Dwell in Beauty. I have opened my own Skincare treatment room... The Beauty Garden -Holistic & Eco Chic Skincare. I specialize in all natural skincare & hair removal, no toxins or man made chemicals found here! I offer my clients everything from Brazilian Waxing, eyebrow design to acne & anti-aging facials and all natural peels. It is my goal to continue to enrich the lives of my clients through healthy and beautiful skin!

I have been a licensed Esthetician for going on 6 years now & additionally have had years and years of healing skin. Skincare has always been an intuitive gift I possess. It was time for me to spread my wings and take the leap of faith of going out on my own and claim my independence. I put all my faith in God. If anything I really felt the stars were aligned and I was divinely guided to get out of my job that wasn't meant for me or my family any longer. An amazing opportunity fell in my lap and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was meant to take it! And here I am ! I am beyond happy with my decision even though at moments doubt creeps in. Doubt, fear or naysayers can't get me down. Change is good, change is necessary, change produces results! I hope this is a lesson we all can take into our own lives. Remember your strength. We all have infinite potential.

I would be honored for my readers to check out The Beauty Garden's Website:  

Love & Light 

3 Ingredients You Need To Know In May Lindstrom's: The Blue Cocoon

I absolutely adore May Lindstrom's skincare products. A few months ago I added to my beauty kit her wonder product, The Blue Cocoon... An amazing beauty balm that I multi-use for my skin. I will add in a review soon but today I have highlighted the top 3 ingredients in The Blue Cocoon on Eco Diva Beauty. You will not want to miss this one! Have a beautiful day. Click over to read more...

Detox with a Green Smoothie!

Hi lovely readers! Today I am sharing a delicious green smoothie recipe over at Eco Diva Beauty's blog! I whip up this smoothie all the time and it is one of my favorites! It is slightly creamy but so refreshing and tasty. I know you will enjoy it too. Healthy & beautiful skin starts with a great diet... Head over to find out how you can make this delicious detoxifying smoothie.

The power of Grapefruit // Pretty Pores Toning Mist by One Love Organics

Today I am sharing another product that I loved applying during the summer months! Pretty Pores a complexion toning mist by One Love Organics. Yes, another OLO product, what can I say... I am a fan.

Pretty Pores was part of OLOs summer skin collection (the whole summer set was beautiful in every way FYI)

I am hoping that they continue to keep this product available for purchase year round, if not maybe a good staple to bring back again for summer? 

As you may know, I love toners! I love the feel of a fine mist spray over freshly cleansed skin...ahhh.
I also love to use toners to set my makeup. Toners I like to call them my "attitude cleanse" in the middle of the day; I'll spritz my face and the day feels anew again. Just lovely.

Here's what I love about this particular toner:

First of all the very first ingredient is grapefruit water, so that means this toner has full strength of its active ingredient that will heal and balance skin. Aside from the natural antioxidant & astringent benefits here's an extra tidbit of information about grapefruit and skin... Grapefruit is one of those rare ingredients that actually help your body absorb other skincare products even better! So basically when you spritz with this toner or add grapefruit into your skincare regime, your other skincare products will perform so much better, thus you get to benefit the beautiful results! 

Secondly I must mention the second ingredient in Pretty Pores which is, gluconolactone. Big word right? Well it also has a big role on keeping your skin healthy too! It comes from gluconic acid which is a mild organic acid derived from glucose (sugar). So to keep it simple and prevent me from getting even more nerdy here, this baby is literally going to pull moisture from the air around you and bring it to your skin so it can be absorbed! Wow! I get so thrilled just thinking of that. Thus skin is being hydrated all day long. Professionally speaking we ALL can benefit from more hydration for our skin. 

I love how organic skincare works so well and actually delivers results. One Love Organics is definitely on their game and makes going green so easy and beautiful.

DIY: All Natural Lip Treatment

Today I am over at Eco Diva Beauty dishing out my special DIY all natural lip treatment! A scrub + mask = perfectly soft and hydrated lips! Click over to see how you can make your very own luxurious treatment at home!

Monday Musings // Quote of the Week

It is my birthday week! 

I feel that the celebrations kind of started off early with some self- love and care by getting an organic facial a few days ago. So needed. Its one thing to give myself a facial at home, but completely and totally different getting one done by another skin care therapist. 

To kick off the week is of course a lovely and inspiring quote. I've also attached some images of recent pins from my pinterest for more beauty and inspiration. 

That's all for today! 

(I'm really loving this short t-shirt/ a-line skirt trend! C'est chic! )

Get Your Dr. Sponge On

Today I am over at Eco Diva Beauty, talking about the essential konjac facial sponge by Dr. Sponge. Click over to read more about the incredible skin benefits this sponge can give your skin. A sponge for every skin type too!

Hello, Weekend...

To mix it up a little bit this beautiful friday, I am sharing this unique music video "I won't give up" sung by Jason Mraz but sign and acting by Brandon Kazen-Maddox. It's one of the most simple, yet artistic and moving pieces I have watched in a very long time. I love this song, however performed in sign language moved me to tears.

Most of you don't know this but I am fluent in American Sign Language. My mother is deaf and I was taught ASL as my first language. Brandon Kazen- Maddox is a CODA (child of deaf adult) as well and he performed this song at The Bay Area Deaf Dance Festival recently.  

I hope you enjoy this music video as much as I do. Have a fantastic weekend!

In My Kitchen

image via weheartit

I'm very excited to share today's post. It's a personal post and one I've been wanting to share here for a long time. It's also a topic I get lots of emails and questions regarding here on dwell in beauty which is food. 
I strongly believe we are what we eat, and we also are what we don't eat. I also believe that eating healthy is a way of living but it can be delicious and satisfying as well! Life is too short to go around eating bland food. I love to eat and I love to eat well! As Virginia Woolf said perfectly: 

I am passionate about food and cooking. I mean it. I don't just get excited to share my recipes here on my blog. I love to get in the kitchen on days and whip up tons of creations all in one sitting. Cooking has always been one way for me to express myself creatively. Over the course of time, I've learned by self teaching which ingredients are better for me and what is not. I feel better as a person and a mother when I can give my family healthy balanced meals any time of day. Food I feel is a very sensitive topic for many. So many of us struggle with finding the balance of eating well. We mean to eat good but fall off the band wagon. I feel from personal experience that "falling off the band wagon" happens when our own kitchens are not properly stocked with the right foods to create delicious, healthy meals. Whether it's a quick snack or a more thought out meal, your kitchen should supply you with exactly what you need to create the food that gives fuel to your life.

In this post, I spoke a little bit about my journey about health and losing pregnancy weight. Eating right will shed pounds. As they say "abs are made in the kitchen" and that couldn't be more true! By keeping my kitchen supplied with everything I needed to eat right, I lost ALL the baby weight and even more! Happy camper over here! Of course adding in exercise helped too. I don't believe in "diets" I believe in eating clean food. I believe in balance. And I know that by eating right great results follow.

Below I divided up different food/ ingredient categories to make it simple. 
Each item I listed are my personal selections that I always have in my household.

I want to note that I am not a dietician or is any of this information guaranteed to help with weight loss or to deliver results of any kind. It is a guide to help my readers utilize the tools I use to live a healthy life everyday.

I go grocery shopping once a week. I try to plan my meals and I always get the essentials. Essentials for me is produce. My cart is filled with produce and is the main component of what I buy each week. We all know fruits and veggies are good for us so I won't waste your time going on and on in that category. But I will share with you how having lots of fresh produce to choose from are perfect addition to a meal in a salad or side dish. They are easy and quick to prepare. I like to slice up apples (especially granny smith apples as they are low glycemic) as a snack and squeeze fresh lemon juice on it! Yum! I'll add the apples to salads as well. Sweet potatoes are easy to cook and I eat them often for lunch. Watermelon is a keeper since I make agua fresca often. Check out my recipe here. Bananas, avocados and even sweet potatoes can be mashed up and mixed into dishes. I also love to have fresh ginger on hand for green juices and also lots of fresh mint from my garden. The ideas are endless!

I do not drink milk. Period. I've been lactose intolerant since I was a child,  I grew up drinking rice milk instead, so I never really loved drinking milk since I wasn't raised on it.  Its funny, I actually prefer a glass of water with my chocolate cookie than milk! 
I will eat the occasional dairy product but keep it at a minimum and I know my personal limit. I love Almond milk now, not so much to drink but as an ingredient to add into yummy fruit smoothies, healthy oat pancakes and so much more. I did add milk to this category since I purchase it for my son, and I mix it into his scrambled eggs and things like that. 
I do need to mention that when it comes to dairy, eggs or even meat I try my best to purchase grass fed & organic. It tastes so much better and is better for our bodies.
In my household we eat a lot of eggs as well. I usually buy 2 dozen every week! I mix the eggs into baked goods and make up a lot of hard boiled eggs. Hard boiled eggs are too easy and healthy to pass up. No excuse to not get in some healthy protein in the day. 

In my pantry I keep all the dried goods in glass containers or mason jars. Its easy to see what I've got, keeps them fresher longer and is safer than plastic containers. Plus they're pretty to look at.
Dry goods will last awhile if stored properly. 
I like to add chia seeds into smoothies or make chia seed pudding, like this one.
Hemp seeds make a tasty garnish and topping to oatmeal and also good to add into baked goods, the same goes for flaxseed. 
I like to have nuts on hand to eat as a quick snack or addition to a side dish.
I tend to keep dried fruits to a minimum since they are loaded with sugar. Natural sugar yes, but their glycemic value is much higher than eating a fresh piece of fruit. 

As you can see I do not buy a lot of bread or bread products. I really keep those to a minimum. I prefer to make my own cakes, cookies, muffins etc. I'd rather eat something homemade anyway. Also, I know what ingredients are in them and its fun for me. Honestly, if temptation is sitting there in the pantry, its hard to resist snacking on chips or cookies all day so I don't buy them.  If I do, they're for my son and thats it! 
I don't eat a lot of pasta either, but I do love this gluten-free pasta from Trader Joes that is made from quinoa and brown rice. Even my son loves it! 
I also don't purchase many canned goods either. Sometimes I'll buy black beans since they're a quick and healthy side dish to prepare for dinner. Artichokes are one of my favorite canned goods and go great for topping a salad and making artichoke dip. The other items are so versatile as well. Sometimes I make my own curry from coconut milk or my own tomato sauce or salsa from canned tomatoes. Peaches are good on their own sprinkled with a bit of cinnamon or a crostada like this one.

Important to note about canned goods or any pre-made foods, please, please check the ingredient label! Don't purchase any that contain High Fructose Corn Syrup. HFCS is toxic to the body and will only make us sick & gain tons of weight. It is so bad, I cannot believe its even allowed. Just don't buy it.

It wasn't until after my son was born that I really got into healthy baking. Now I am hooked. I just cannot go back to conventional baking methods and recipes. I infuse older baking with the new to create a lot of my "gluten-free" or healthier version recipies. It's actually quite a lot of fun and challenging at times learning to bake this way. I am still learning the ropes. Healthy baking is a lot like chemistry, you've just got to find the right elements... and voila! A perfect match & delicious comfort food.

I always keep on hand all the above mentioned flours & sweeteners, I do have a tiny bit of white flour but rarely ever touch it. I am always amazed at how many delicious sweets can be made with just a few healthy ingredients. I keep honey, stevia and pure maple syrup always at our disposal to sweeten things up a bit. Oh and chocolate! Who can forget that?

My oil and spice shelves in my pantry are kinda overflowing. I have on hand a ton of different spices and dried herbs. I love mixing and combining them for the flavor I seek to liven up my dishes. Spices & herbs also have many added health benefits. The above listed spices and herbs are the ones I tend to cook with the most. 

In my kitchen you rarely find many pre-made drinks. I like to either make them myself or I purchase the above listed items. I do love tea though! Drink it hot, cold or mixed into smoothies. Pineapple juice gets used mainly for my green drinks and sparkling water is so refreshing and has no added calories! I found that drinking juice or other types of beverages has really no added benefit except immediate gratification. It adds unnecessary weight & sugar is hard on our bodies and skin. If looking to maintain a healthy weight, lose weight or just be healthy, its best to stay away from those items most of the time. Indulge every now and then, just not everyday. 

In my refrigerator door, I have quite a bit going on there as well but these items are staples in my kitchen fridge. I love love almond and sunflower butter, they taste oh so good and are so much better for us to eat than peanut butter. I like to eat them on toast (ezekiel bread) or eat with apple slices. Yum!
I also like to have hummus lying around as a good snack or addition to lunch meal. Hummus tastes great when its wrapped with a slice of turkey or with veggies of your choice! The other items add delicious flavor to many types of recipes.

So there it is. I'm sure there is more information I could post here but for now, this will do. I'll continue the kitchen series as time unfolds. From my kitchen to yours...Happy + healthy cooking!

Monday Musings // Quote of the Week

Happy Monday readers!

Today, I wanted to share little or shall I say big and annoying challenge that I've had to deal with my own skin for about 7-8 months... Peri oral dermatitis! Mine has developed on my laugh lines (the area between the nose and mouth)

I sit here writing this, and I question this darned thing that has happened to my skin. I am an esthetician and so incredibly passionate about skincare, health and beauty... and I get this weird condition! All I know is that I got it for some reason, and I am getting to the bottom of it.

Peri oral dermatitis affects a lot of young women. Specifically women in their 20s to mid 40s. 
A lot of links of POD relate to toxins in self care & beauty products, hormone changes, sun exposure, diet and more. There really isn't a definitive cure or clue to POD.

However, I wanted to just share with the world of women that are suffering from this skin challenge that you aren't alone. I will post a blog article soon on my own personal journey with POD and how I take care of my skin and more. That's to come later. For today, just remember you are beautiful. No matter if you are struggling with peri oral dermatitis, acne, eczema, wrinkles or sunspots. You are glorious, just the way God made you. Remember to let your skin breathe and love yourself.

Spinach Cakes + Spicy Honey Mustard Sauce

One of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet happens to be spinach. There's a reason Popeye chose it as his go to power food. Spinach happens to be one of my favorite vegetables and I eat it or drink it almost everyday. I decided to get creative with it, as adding it into omelets and green drinks are nice and all, but I wanted to mix it up. Especially now that I am back at work these days, and just leading a busy life its nice to have healthy snacks and meals at hand to just grab and go. Regardless of a grab n go meal, these spinach cakes would be perfect for a dinner party or social gathering of sorts. Add in the honey mustard sauce that has a spicy kick to it and your event will be a hit! The cakes are vegan and gluten free. I opted for almond flour instead of breadcrumbs to give these cakes a bit of a crunch and extra protein as well! The herbs are mediterranean inspired and are so fragrant. My house smells divine of parmesan and herbs roasting away in the oven. I know you will enjoy these healthy treats just as much as I do. From my house to yours... Enjoy!

Spinach Cake Ingredients:

2 packages Organic Frozen Spinach
4 Eggs
1 1/2 C. Almond Flour
1 C. Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp. Rosemary
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Basil
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Spicy Honey Mustard Ingredients:
1/2 C. Plain Organic Yogurt
2 tbsp. Yellow Mustard
2 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
2 tbsp. Honey
1/2 tsp. Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper


Set your oven to preheat at 350 degrees. Lightly coat your baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray. Set it aside.

In a large mixing bowl, toss in the thawed organic spinach. Add in the almond flour, parmesan cheese. Add in the herbs and spices now... Toss in the rosemary, oregano, basil, black pepper and seasalt. Mix well. Lastly add the eggs. Mix thoroughly to coat & bind all the dry ingredients and the spinach together.

Now scoop the mixture into little balls and set on top of the cooking sheet. I use an ice cream scoop, its easy and hardly a messy option! You could probably fill two large baking sheets and call it a day. Place into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the bottom of the cakes are golden. This recipe will make 30 spinach cakes. 

While the spinach cakes are baking it is the perfect time to make the spicy honey mustard dipping sauce. 

In a small mixing bowl lightly whisk together the plain yogurt, yellow & dijon mustards. Drizzle the honey and fresh lemon juice into the mixture. Toss in the cayenne pepper and black pepper and mix well. Set in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 

Enjoy the spinach cakes either warm or at room temperature and drizzle the tangy and slightly spicy honey mustard sauce for extra enjoyment! Bon appetit! 

A "Green" Birthday Wish List

August is my birthday month... Although the day it falls on is near the very end of the month, it counts! Only a couple weeks away and I've been eyeing a variety of self-luxury items such as the body scrub, body oil and sexy yet comfy bralette. Also for quite awhile Not Just A Pretty Face & the BKR glass water bottle have been on my essentials list (I love that color purple too!)... Time to rock n roll! If anytime is a time to be pampered, its birthday time! I also like to choose items that are sustainable, green and good for the body & environment. So here's my little wish list...

A Night For Green Beauty // Recap

Thursday night I attended A Night For Green Beauty in Los Angeles at the W Hotel. It was a perfect evening to remember and I left feeling completely loved, welcomed, filled with more green beauty knowledge and pampered! One of my personal top highlights was getting to meet in person the people I work with on a frequent basis, Eco Diva Beauty... Garcy Fry & Jennifer Moss. I also felt so honored to meet in person other leading beauties and brains whom developed their own beauty product companies that I love and use every day... Those included, One Love Organics, Zoe Organics, May Lindstrom Skin & True Nature Botanicals. It was also nice being introduced to green beauty companies such as Osmia Organics & Indie Lee! I loved getting to meet other beauty bloggers who are passionate about green beauty as well. The night was filled with yummy Pressed Juicery complimentary manicures, massage and best of all the connections and conversations with amazing ladies! Scroll through below for photos that captured the evening so well... Now I cannot wait to attend next year's event!
(photos by my dear friend & professional photographer, Veronica Feliciano)

Garcy is even more gorgeous in person & the sweetest ever! 

Fun meeting the beautiful and knowledgeable Jessica from Bare Beauty!

Lovely to chat with and meet Hillary the CEO of True Nature Botanicals!

May Lindstrom was quite a star that evening! We couldn't get enough of talking with her and asking questions about her amazing green luxury skincare line! As you can see she is so engaging, attentive & working hard!

Beautiful and custom floral headpieces were breathtaking and so fun!

I enjoyed chatting with the ladies of One Love Organics & Elizabeth Dehn of Beauty Bets
Suzanne of OLO is such a true southern Lady, so warm and friendly!