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

Directions:

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! 



Gluten Awareness in Self Care & Beauty Products


Today I'd like to bring a bit of awareness on an ingredient that is found in our everyday self care and beauty products... gluten. Yes, that's correct gluten! You'd be surprised how gluten is found in everything from makeup, sunscreen, soap, shampoo and conditioner and even medication! The list is practically endless.

So why is gluten in our self care products such a big deal? Its more than a big deal in my opinion, its a problem for so many. And I'd like to shed a little light on the topic. Gluten is by nature part of gluten contained foods such as wheat, barley, rye etc. Some people have reactions and allergies to gluten whereas others may not. However once the gluten molecule is modified and changed thats where mass amounts of negative reactions happen in accordance to gluten. Gluten as I have come to terms to understand it is simply put as this: "Chronic Inflammation"... By this phrase gluten can cause many negative side effects in our bodies and our skin. Our skin is our body's largest organ. What goes on goes in and what goes in goes out. This can happen as forms of acne, rosacea, hives, rashes and many more negative skin concerns. 




Fortunately there is hope! Look for nontoxic, natural products that don't contain gluten in their ingredients. Going gluten-free may clear up your skin! It might be worth it to give your whole body a gluten free cleanse and that includes your makeup and skincare products.

I also found these sites very helpful for finding gluten free products & more tips about this topic:


Monday Musings // Quote of the Week


Its the first monday of August! Lots of exciting things happening this week so far. Yesterday I had the privilege to check out Facial Works while visiting my family in Orange County. I have to say I think their spa/facial bar concept is new but quite amazing! I wished I had time for a quick facial to see what the experience would be like! The "bar" concept in the beauty industry just seems to be popping up everywhere, and its kinda fun! You can see the pictures I snapped of Facial Works on my instagram page here.

So moving on to whats ahead this week... I'm lucky I only live about an hour away from LA and will be attending "A Night For Green Beauty " this Thursday night at the W Hotel. Details are below! I am beyond excited to shop, and learn more about all the fabulous companies and their luxury green beauty products. It will be great to meet the brains and beauty behind many of the companies that I love so dearly. If you're attending, maybe I will meet you there!

Have a beautiful week!

Coconut Chia Lime Pudding


Chia seed puddings seem to be popping up left and right. So I decided to take it upon myself to see what all the hype was about. Pure healthy yumminess is all I can say! Easy to make as well! It hardly takes many ingredients and only combining ingredients with a whisk and mixing bowl is all that's needed to make these scrumptious treats! Not even a stovetop is needed! Chia seeds are so lovely; when combined with liquid they turn into a perfect gelatinous texture. 

Chia seeds are incredibly good for our skin, hair and bodies too. Omega 3s, magnesium, fiber, zinc and so many more beneficial vitamins! Sometimes I like to add chia to my morning oatmeal or a smoothie for added health benefits... For today I am sharing a easy to make coconut lime pudding with chia. It is refreshing, zesty and deliciously sweet! 



Coconut Chia Lime Pudding

Ingredients:

1 1/2 C Coconut Milk 
1/4 C Honey or Agave
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp lime zest
2 Limes (fresh squeezed juice from the limes)
1/2 C Chia Seeds

Directions:

In a medium sized mixing bowl, lightly whisk together the coconut milk, honey and vanilla extract. Add in the fresh lime zest and juice. Pour in the chia seeds and whisk thouroughly. Set the bowl aside to let the chia seeds absorb the liquid to expand. After 5 to 10 min whisk the mixture again. Now cover the bowl with clear wrap and set it in the refrigerator to thicken some more for another 3 hours. As a helpful hint, the longer the pudding sets it will get thicker it becomes. When you are ready to serve, just spoon the pudding into the dish of choice such as a small bowl and garnish with lime zest if so desired. Enjoy!