It’s Vegan… But Is It Eco-Friendly?

    As a vegan fashion writer, aligning an appreciation for style with a love for animals has always come naturally.  The trickiest part of my job, however, is finding beautiful, animal-friendly clothing that is also eco-friendly AND made ethically in regards to factory conditions and wages.  This is a challenge, yes, but a worthwhile and rewarding one.  Aligning all of these core values takes extra effort but is NOT impossible, especially if you just give yourself permission take it one step at a time.  Today, we are going to start the process by quickly addressing which vegan materials are eco-friendly— soon, we will also tackle the big picture of ethics together!  We can do this!

    eco-friendly fashion from reformation

    (Wearing an eco-friendly dress by transparent brand Reformation )

    Let’s go ahead and state the obvious: when shopping for vegan fashion, one’s initial reaction is “hey this isn’t that hard!”  Throw a rock, and it will hit any cheapie store selling clothing that doesn’t list any animal byproducts on the labels.  It is important to realize, though, that some of these materials are actually causing major devastation to our animals and the planet we all share and love. Water pollution, emissions, and little plastic microfibers which come off in the washing machine and end up in our oceans (and in our fish) are a few factors to consider when choosing fabrics to invest in.  Let’s break it down:

    The Earth-Friendly Five

    1. Buying recycled/vintage/second hand pieces is always best!  Aside from not contributing to rising demand for new clothing to be produced, you are also keeping discarded clothing from going straight to a landfill.
    2. Organic cotton.  This is different from regular cotton, because no earth-harming pesticides or GMOs are used in production. (Regular cotton is very pesticide-heavy, which pollutes our oceans.)
    3. Bamboo. It is one of the most sustainable materials available to us, deriving from a grass requiring no fertilizer or pesticides.  It is very soft and moisture-wicking, perfect for sheets, towels, baby clothing, and more.
    4. Hemp. This is a high yield crop, also grown without a need for fertilizer or pesticides.  It improves soil quality, and is durable and strong as a fabric, which leads to a long wear-time.
    5. Linen. Made from the (entire) flax plant, this is a zero-waste material that requires very little energy/water/resources to produce on a large scale. Linen is recyclable and and biodegradable, plus it is super hardy so you can wear the same garment for decades.

    The Fearful Four

    1. Polyester
    2. Acrylic
    3. Rayon
    4. Nylon

    While readily available, the chemicals used in the making of these products—plus the chemical waste— is not a great thing for the environment.  They are not recyclable or biodegradable. The production of fabrics like polyester require petroleum, a non-renewable resource. Not to mention, these fabrics are known to contain and be treated with harmful, possibly-carcinogenic chemicals.

    One thing to remember is that most of this is not black and white.  Organic cotton, for instance, while clearly the “clean” option, requires an excessive amount of water to be used in production. So, like most things in life, you do a cost-benefit analysis and buy mindfully, doing the best the you can. Remember to be kind to yourself– you care and are learning, and that is by far the most crucial step in becoming an ethical, conscious consumer.


    C-section, Tokophobia, & 90’s Rap: My Birth Story

    It’s been just over 6 weeks since I welcomed my son, my first child, River, into the world… And I am just now sitting down to attempt to describe his “birth story” to you all.  I am sorry for the delay. It is just that giving birth to River is the most insanely exhilarating, painful, rewarding, scary, joyful, and complicated thing I have ever done.  Words escape me and my brain shuts down when I think about trying to describe it in the form of a little short story.  Also, there is always that nagging fear of getting judged for certain aspects of my story, and for certain decisions that I’ve made. The vegan community, especially, seems to me to value and expect a birthing experience that includes things like– for starters– no medication, a midwife, and a vaginal delivery.

    While I applaud those who pulled it off like that, my birth story could not be further from the above.

    Where to start? The truth is, ever since I was a young child, I have feared childbirth.  It was always in an abstract way, though; such an event seemed so far away that it didn’t require me to examine my phobia.  All I knew was that more than anything, I wanted to be a mother… But when I closed my eyes and tried to picture giving birth, the way you see it in the movies– feet up, husband holding your hand, a doctor coaching you through– I just KNEW that was not me.

    Fast forward to 2017. It was a month after my wedding when I realized I was pregnant.  Matt was out of town on a quick business trip.  I was feeling “icky”… Body aches, a little nauseated, headache.  I was lining up wellness shots at a nearby juice bar, trying to kick whatever illness was coming for me, and a thought popped into my head: “you should take a pregnancy test.” Of course I KNEW I couldn’t be pregnant; I had JUST gotten off of birth control, and more importantly, I had gotten (what I assumed was) my period a couple of weeks prior. (Note to my former self: google “implantation bleeding.”) But just to put my mind at ease, I grabbed a cheapie, generic-brand test at CVS on the way to my car.

    I got home, hung out for a bit, ate lunch, answered emails, peed on the stick when I had some free time and… Hmm, weird, I thought there would either be one line or two lines, but this looked like one line plus a reallyyyyyy faint, can-barely-see-it second line. Nooo, surely not! I got in my car, went and grabbed several more tests, rushed back home, took ALL of them… And then sat down on my bathroom floor, staring open-mouthed at the collection of positive tests fanned out on the tile in front of me in total disbelief. Holy shit. I am pregnant. WHAT?! Still on the floor, I called Matt.  He stepped out of a meeting to take the call, and to his unsuspecting “what’s up sweetie, everything ok?” I answered “well yes, but you’re not going to believe this… we are PREGNANT!” So much for a cute, clever reveal! But I just had to tell him, I couldn’t hold onto this news alone for a moment longer.  It is such a surreal feeling, knowing that your entire life is about to change. Every aspect of it. Forever.  It is excitement, fear, disbelief, happiness, and more fear.

    It was about week 12 into the pregnancy when everything started to feel “real.” The scary window of time when miscarriage commonly occurs had finally closed, I was getting a tummy, I was feeling nauseated, I knew the sex, we had a name.  We had the beginnings of a nursery. THIS. Was. Happening.  The realness of the pregnancy is what made me finally face the fact that I had been carefully avoiding since day 1: This baby was going to need to exit my body, one way or another. I was terrified.

    I tried to convince myself that vaginal childbirth wouldn’t be that bad, that I could do it. I watched video after video of water births, I called friends who had given birth vaginally to get reassurance, I posted on BabyCenter message boards asking for people to share their positive vaginal birth experiences… Nothing helped, I was under a cloud. I felt hopeless and depressed and scared, and, I hate even writing this, but I found myself not wanting to go into the nursery, and was distancing myself emotionally from the pregnancy.  At that point my husband stepped in and said we should talk to my OB about options. She discussed tokophobia– a rare but very, very intense fear of pregnancy and/or childbirth, risks for vaginal birth vs. that for an elective c-section, and benefits of each. As soon as I decided to have a c-section (which is what I would have had anyway, it turns out.. River’s head was measuring off the charts,he stayed breech until delivery, and his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice), the clouds lifted. I felt like I could do this.  I know that a c-section is not what most women would choose for themselves, but for me it was absolutely the best option. It allowed me to bond with my unborn child, to relax and enjoy my pregnancy, and, ultimately, to successfully give birth to a healthy baby.  I also liked knowing when he was coming… The day before River arrived, Matt took off work and we took our doggies to the pool and to a dog park. It allowed us to formally say goodbye to our pre-baby life as a family of 5 (fur babies included).

    The next morning, a Thursday, Matt and I woke up at the crack of dawn to get ready for my 9am surgery.  We already had the bags packed in the car, we had the dog sitter booked to arrive at noon– she would be staying at the house with our doggies until we returned home from the hospital on Sunday, we were READY. We got to the hospital and hung out for about an hour and a half in a pre-op room, cracking jokes and trying to keep our minds off of surgery. I could tell Matt was nervous. But honestly, I was ok. I was ready to meet River.

    I was wheeled into the operating room, where I was told to lean over so they could administer my epidural (didn’t hurt whatsoever).  Then, they inserted the catheter. I had been scared for this part, but again, no pain at all (which was a tad bit unsettling, to be honest.  Because of my bump I couldn’t see what was going on “down there,” and because of the epidural I couldn’t feel it either.). Matt had prepared an “OR Playlist,” consisting of my favorite music– mostly music and rap from the 90s (by FAR the best era for music!)– and songs with a “baby” theme, like Justin Bieber’s “Baby” and James Brown’s “Give It To Me Baby.” My beloved OB (Amy Martin, if you happen to live in Dallas– I can’t recommend her highly enough!) came in, and I was so glad to see her. She went near my feet and put up the big sheet that would shield our view of the operation. Matt sat next to where my head was, and he immediately took to the task of distracting me and making sure I was ok.  Constantly kissing my cheeks, making dumb conversation, joking with the doctors, singing to Lil’ Troy’s “Wanna Be A Baller” with me. At one point I asked when they were going to start and– surprise!– they had already just begun.  Immediately after that, I asked them what that burning smell was– they explained that it was their laser they use to cauterize, in order to reduce bleeding. I thought, sooo basically that’s my flesh burning? Cool… Moving on…

    There was zero pain. For the most part, I just felt an odd, internal “jostling.” I felt pressure, especially in my lungs/rib area… THAT was the scariest moment I experienced throughout my entire c-section, simply because I was totally unprepared for it. In my head, all the action was going to be tummy and below. So when I felt such INTENSE pressure in my chest, like someone was basically standing on it, I was really taken aback. I whispered to Matt, “honey, I think something is wrong… I feel it in my lungs,” at which point he immediately dropped his cool guy act, stood up and asked the doctors if everything was ok and if I should be feeling pressure in my lungs. They quickly explained that it was just part of the tugging sensations that they would expect for me to feel. “So this is normal?” I asked them again. YES.

    A few minutes later, they said “Ok guys, get ready to meet your baby!!!” Matt and I locked eyes and held them there. Nothing. Nothing. Then, a cry.

    Matt’s mouth dropped open and his eyes filled with tears. I said “Oh my gosh, honey. That’s our BABY.” We still couldn’t see him, just heard him crying. “Is he ok??” was my first question…and  “Is he cute?!” was my second. The doctors laughed and said “he’s healthy and he’s adorable.” They held him up over the sheet for us to see, and then they took him a few feet away to check his lungs and give him some sort of quick test. Matt asked if he could go over to be with him, and I said of course.  About one minute later, Matt and one of the nurses came over and placed River on my chest. It was such an incredible moment. There aren’t words that could describe how surreal it was, so I won’t try.  He was so much tinier than we had expected! Matt sat back down near my head and the three of us took our time being together quietly as a family for a few sacred minutes.

    Later, with River still on my chest, they wheeled us into a recovery area. I was so happy and peaceful, and Matt was so excited and sweet… He kept telling me how proud he was of me and how he had never seen me look so beautiful as I did now with our son. Nurses would come check on us about every 15 minutes or so and ask how I was feeling and if I could wiggle my toes (I couldn’t do that until hours later. Apparently the duration of the epidural effects vary greatly from person to person). At one point, they had to press on my uterus, hard, to make sure it was shrinking back down at the rate that it should. THAT HURT. Note: They repeated this “uterine massage” (ha! some massage) multiple times per day while I was at the hospital, and it was probably my very least favorite part.

    Finally, it was time for us to go to our room where we’d be staying for the next few days. Being vegan, and having gotten to the hospital extra early, we already had the room stocked healthy snacks for Matt, popsicles in the mini fridge for me (the first 24 hours after surgery, you can only ingest clear liquids, which includes broth and popsicles.. I would recommend bringing your own if you have dietary restrictions), a polaroid camera, and movies to watch. We decompressed in there for another hour or so, and then we called our parents to come see us (it turns out they were already at the hospital, waiting for us to give them the green light to visit).  It was so cool seeing our parents hold River. It made me realize, yes, this is an incredible experience for Matt and me– but in a different way, its a surreal and awesome experience for our parents, becoming grandparents for the first time. They were all so hushed and excited and gentle with River, examining his little fingers and toes and nose. I am thankful we have such a mindful family; they stayed for under an hour and then left us to rest. I think much more time with them would have been very overwhelming to me; its such a time of physical and emotional shock. Once they left, the nurses gave me pain pills and an anti-inflammatory to take. This finally knocked me out, and I was able to take a little nap. **A word of advice: Don’t be like me and try to skip pain pill doses after a c-section. The main reason I say this is that doing so will make it harder to walk around and be active following your surgery. Moving around is vital to your post op recovery. But I digress.

    Matt and I had discussed this prior to delivery– we were going to let the hospital nursery take care of River, and bring him in to us at intervals to feed him and bond with him. They pushed back but we were firm in our decision. Our reasoning was: a) These people know how to care for an infant, and for the first 24-48 hours of his life, we wanted him to be as safe as possible. In the hospital nursery, he was watched around the clock, expertly swaddled, monitored, etc… We figured it was literally probably the safest place he could be. b) We knew that we were about to enter what was sure to be the most sleep deprived period of our entire lives. Might as well grab a little shut eye in preparation. Like clockwork, the nurses would bring River to us to nurse and cuddle every couple of hours, so we didn’t feel like we were sacrificing much time with him at all– we were simply able to rest and recuperate a bit more easily.

    The pain came that night. I was gradually becoming sore starting around 6pm. Around 8pm, they took my catheter out (this was another part I had dreaded, and I made Matt come and hold my hand.. Turns out that it was uncomfortable but not a huge deal). THIS was the bad part: I woke up around 1am needing to use the restroom to urinate, so as instructed I called a nurse to help me get up and walk to the bathroom. I WAS UNPREPARED FOR HOW MUCH THIS WOULD HURT. I clung to the woman helping me, and every step took about 30 seconds. Remember when I said that the uterine massage was my least favorite part? Scratch that. The first time standing up to walk absolutely takes the cake. Peeing didn’t feel great either, frankly, but I think that was just temporary soreness from the catheter.

    The next morning I woke up and was walking around, feeling great, holding River. The staff kept commenting on how quickly and well I was recovering– I honestly attribute this to three things: a) the surgery was planned as opposed to an emergency; b) I worked out twice per week with an experienced trainer my whole third trimester, with the main goal being a successful post-op recovery; and c) immediately following surgery, I asked my nurses to please order me a belly support band– I wore it religiously while in the hospital, and it made a huge difference.

    I actually LOVED staying in the hospital for those 3 days– it felt like a prep course before we were released into the world to care for this little infant all by ourselves. We learned how to nurse, swaddle, burp, and change him. By the time Sunday rolled around, I was like “OK! Let’s do this!”

    I get messages every single day from women wanting to know why I had a c-section, and what my experience was like. All in all, I would say I had a very positive birthing and hospital experience. Matt agrees. It was very special and emotional, and we wouldn’t do it any other way. I don’t feel like having a c-section was much, if at all, more painful than people describe their vaginal births to be; I don’t feel like I bonded any less with my baby (I’m completely obsessed with him) or likeI am any less of a mom (what??) just because he came out through the sunroof; I feel like a strong mama warrior who took control of her mental and physical health (and the wellbeing of my baby) by following my instincts and scheduling a c-section. Is it right for everyone? Nope. Was it right for us? Absolutely. And when I look back on my birth story, the #1 defining moment that stands out to me is Matt and me, the ultimate team, locking eyes, hearing our son’s cry, and then putting our heads together as he was laid on my chest.  It was perfect.


    5 CLEAN Beauty Products I’m Loving Right Now

    It’s been a non-negotiable for years that any product I use is cruelty-free (not tested on animals) and vegan (not containing any ingredients that comes from animals).  While pregnant, though, I got in the habit of also using only the most clean products on my skin… definitely no toxins or potentially harmful chemicals… And now, I’m hooked.

    A few products in particular stood out to me as keepers and game changers.  I swear… You’re going to wonder how you ever lived without them in your rotation!

    1. Coola’s Sunless Tan Anti-Aging Face SerumOk… I will use this stuff for the rest of my life!!! It’s amazing. Eco certified and made with organic antioxidants, it is great for giving your skin a streak-free glow while also making it look smooth, even, and more youthful.  It is a fragrance-free formula, but I love the way it smells.  I’ve been applying it at night before bed– sometimes alone and sometimes mixed into a moisturizer, depending on how intense I want my tan.
    2. DefineMe Fragrance in Sofia Isabel. I’m actually not typically a huge “perfume person,” but I am hooked on this one.  It is not only my favorite scent I’ve ever worn; my husband loves it when I put it on!  It is made of sugarcane and coconut oil, and it’s main notes are mandarin, black currant, jasmine and sugar.  Major bonus: part of proceeds goes to support educational scholarships for girls living in low income countries. True story: A few months ago,  I wore Sofia Isabel while traveling, and the man next to me on the plane asked what it was and where I got it. He pulled out his laptop and bought it on the spot for his wife! Talk about a major compliment 🙂
    3. Osea Malibu’s Hyaluronic Sea Serum. If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know I’m OBSESSED with Osea’s entire product line. It’s somewhat of an investment, but is truly so worth it if you are prioritizing your skin.  This particular, all natural serum is award winning, and I can see why– it visibly smooths fine lines and makes your skin look so dewy and moisturized.  A little bit goes a long way, so one bottle lasts forever. I put this on every morning before my moisturizer, and it evens my skin tone (especially the red bits around my nose) and gives my face a smooth, velvety finish- not greasy at all. LOVEEEE.
    4. Odacite’s Beautiful Day Moisturizer with MSM & DMAE. I’m always on the lookout for a good daytime moisturizer that won’t be too heavy on my skin.  This one– containing organic ingredients like virgin coconut oil, aloe, jojoba oil, and tea extracts–is PERFECT. It makes my skin look perked up, firm, and moisturized. This line is new to me, having been introduced to it midway through my pregnancy by Petit Vour clean, vegan beauty box (I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about Petit Vour in the past… They only associate with the best products and ethical brands, so I always trust their recommendations). I love the Odacite story… Essentially, the founder became obsessed with removing toxins from her life and beauty routine after a breast cancer diagnosis. Word spread fast about the products she was making for herself and private clients, and voila, Odacite was born. (Check out the story here.) But I digress… Invest in this daily moisturizer if you’re in the market for one. It’s incredible.
    5. Odacite’s Ultra Effective Eye Cream. This won a performance award in Vogue mag! This product is pricey, but worth it. In the Odacite way, organic ingredients include blue green algae, vitamin e, and pomegranate extract. The Hyaluronic acid (approved safe to use topically while pregnant by my doc) draws in major moisture. Your under eye area immediately looks plumped and smooth. I put this on every morning and night, using less than half a pump, so one container will last forevaaa.

    There you have it!  I’m obsessed with these clean beauty faves, and know you will be, too.  XOXOXO



    C-Section Recovery | Feat: GRUBHUB

    Hi guys!  It is my first time back to the blog after having baby River (I LOVE HIM!!!! AND I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE HE’S HERE!!!) via my planned c-section.  I chose to have a c-section for a variety of reasons, both medical and emotional, which I will get into at a later date.  I was not naive– I knew that the recovery would be challenging at times, as it is a major abdominal surgery.  I wanted to plan a few weeks after River’s birth to do absolutely nothing– no cleaning, no driving (that one is a hard rule from the doctor), no cooking (don’t have to tell me twice! haha!). If you find yourself in the position where you’re having a c-section, my main advice would be:

    • Bring bunch of DVDs to the hospital. Matt and I went through the entire first season of Homeland.
    • Walk as soon as possible. You’ll feel like hell, but do it anyway. Prevents blood clots and will speed up your recovery.
    • Have a support system.  Matt did not leave the hospital once in all 4 days we were there, and I was so thankful.  You’ll need help getting around/walking the halls, and also emotional support when you’re so tired and sore but need to be hand-expressed so your baby can get some colostrum… It hurts, and I was glad to have my husband there advocating for me and my desires while I was in a weakened state.
    • TAKE THE PAIN MEDS for goodness sake.  I am very resistant to medication in general– if it isn’t 100% necessary, chances are I’ll choose to skip it and power through on my own.  Not in this case. You’re going to want to feel OK enough to really bond with your baby and move around.
    • Get a bunch of high fiber snacks for the hospital and for your home in the weeks following the surgery. TRUST ME.

    Back to the “no driving and no cooking” thing. I was so excited to find that Grubhub delivers healthy, plant based food from my favorite places without huge fees tacked onto it. We used them while we were in the hospital (chances are, your hospital won’t provide food for your partner– only you.  Plus, it isn’t exactly a vegan mecca over there…), and then many times once we had returned home.  For instance, Grubhub rescued me this morning when Matt had to run out for a meeting, River ended up being attached to my breast for about 2 hours (he’s currently cluster feeding, probably a growth spurt), and I was STARVING.  FYI: Breastfeeding makes you hungrier than pregnancy! You burn up to 1000 calories per day doing it, so you need to make sure you are feeding yourself enough. But I digress.

    It took 2 minutes to jump on Grubhub, order a “You’re So Vegan” breakfast bowl (pictured above… ain’t it pretty?) from one of my favorite restaurants, Dream Cafe– and 25 minutes later, it was here!

    Grubhub is generously offering my readers $9 off their first order (yay!) if you use this link: https://grhb.me/2tczTLx

    Check them out and let me know what you think!



    Let’s Get Real About Heart Health (Feat: Doctor On Demand)

    A little known fact: heart disease is the number one cause of death for women in the United States.  In the US, about 1 in 4 women die of heart disease EVERY SINGLE YEAR. The good news is that there are things that you can do to reduce your risk, including diet, exercise, and controlling your blood pressure.

    While admittedly my primary reason for being vegan is to reduce animal suffering– health consideration/disease prevention is a not-so-distant second. Studies after studies show that adopting a plant based diet drastically lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease.  This is because a) plants have less saturated fat (according to American Heart Association, saturated fats lead to higher cholesterol levels which put you at higher risk for heart disease); b) a plant based diet increases your fiber your body gets, which will decrease absorption of “bad cholesterol” absorbed in your body; c) eating meat increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, which makes you TWICE AS LIKELY to experience heart disease or stroke, according to AHA; d) a vegan diet can dramatically help lower your blood pressure; e) plants bring omega 3s to the table, and according to experts, eating omega 3 fatty acids reduces your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, and it can also lower your cholesterol. For me, considering the rate at which heart disease is hurting women, a plant based diet is a no-brainer.

    Speaking of heart disease awareness and prevention, a lot of you have asked me about the Healthy Heart Fest I attended earlier this week.  I had such a great time meeting a few of you there (yay! I always love that!), but in case you weren’t able to make it I wanted to fill you in on the event and the awesome sponsor, Doctor On Demand.

    The venue was decorated to the nines, with a DJ playing tunes while people took their turn in a spin class. There were vendors set up selling coconut-oil-based soaps, vegan cheese products, and other wholesome goodies. Cherry was set up there as well, offering manicures.  And Doctor On Demand was there to give blood pressure screens and to educate attendees on heart health.

    As I know I’ve mentioned before, Doctor On Demand graciously sponsored the whole event.  I really love this company– and living in Texas, which is one of the top five states in the country whose residents did not see a doctor in the past year due to financial constraints, I really appreciate the need for services like this.  With Doctor On Demand, you can visit with a doc (medical, psychology, or psychiatry) over video on your phone or computer, no matter where you are, at affordable rates. All you need to do is download their app or visit their website and share your symptoms… Then, within a matter of minutes, you will be connected via video with a board-certified doctor. You can also get prescriptions and lab work through Doctor On Demand!  You can reach them 24/7, and they also do accept insurance.  Seems almost too good to be true, right?

    Heart Health is a topic that needs to be addressed more often as it pertains to women’s wellness.  A big thank you to Doctor On Demand for caring to spread awareness!  Go check them out, you guys!

    doctor on demanddj doctor on demand


    Self-Care Sunday Ritual (Featuring: Rêve En Vert)

    What do you do to show yourself TLC? Some people work out to release tension, some people travel solo, some people unplug from technology and the world for a day… I personally am a fan of all of these methods of self-care. One easy, weekly ritual I’ve had for as long as I can remember is my Sunday bathtime pampering hour (or two… who’s counting?).  I did need to tweak a few of my products of choice, however, when I became pregnant; there are SO many ingredients to steer clear of, plus your skin is just so much more sensitive than before.  I partnered with ethical and eco-minded online retailer Rêve En Vert (you might be familiar; they’ve been called “the Net-A-Porter of sustainable fashion” by Harpers Bazaar, and I wrote about their sustainable fashion options in an article a few months back, here) to spruce up my self-care Sunday with earth and animal-friendly products that are also super clean and safe to use.  I’ll walk you through my faves!

    Grown Alchemist, Body Cleanser

    First step for me is pumping this cleanser 3x into flowing bathwater to generate some fluffy bubbles!  I LOVE the de-stressing effect that the organic, antioxidant ingredients’ aroma has on me, and it also feels super moisturizing to my skin.  Bonus: the packaging is beautiful, so I love keeping it by the tub. Another bonus: my husband loves the way it smells and feels, too.  But the major selling point is that it is of course cruelty-free, vegan, and entirely free of harmful chemicals and preservatives!

    eym., Natural Candle

    While the bath is running, you know I gotta light a candle.  I’m officially addicted to eym.’s selection of natural candles, replete with neroli essential oils.  Sustainably sourced and comprised of cotton wicks and soy wax, these gorgeous, minimalistic candles are incredibly calming.

    Guy Morgan Apothecary, Himalayan Bathing Salts

    As I get into the tub, I sprinkle a handful of this essential oil and sea salt blend into the bath.  NOTHING soothes sore preggo muscles like this natural, magical product. I really love the Guy Morgan company, also… They make everything by hand in-house in London, and they have a partnership with the charity One Tree Planted to help offset their carbon footprint.  It’s another gorgeously packaged product– are you catching a trend here?– and the glass jar is intended for alternative use after the salts are finished.

    Guy Morgan Apothecary, Midnight Black Clay Mask

    Once I am all relaxed in the bath, I cleanse my face.  Then, I apply this deep cleansing, hydrating, brightening mask to my face. If you have acne prone skin, this will work wonders for you– it is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.

    By Sarah, Organic Facial Oil

    I am a little tentative with facial oils… I definitely recognize that they add moisture and dewiness to your complexion, but the heavier ones do tend to break me out.  But this one is perfect!  Great for sensitive skin, it absorbs quickly and doesn’t feel heavy or greasy at all.  I like to end my bath by rinsing off the facemask with a washcloth, patting it dry, and then putting this By Sarah oil on my freshly cleansed face, neck, and décolleté.

    I hope this post inspires you to practice an act of self-care tonight or this coming week!  And to use responsible, sustainable, ethical products while doing so.  I would encourage you to check out Rêve En Vert for sustainable beauty, fashion, and accessories.  Do be sure and check the ingredients and materials of each product to learn more about their specific sustainability journey, and to ensure that the product is in fact vegan 🙂


    Fitness and Pregnancy (Featuring: Fit180 Private Training Studio)

    Some of you know that I avoided working out for the first half of my pregnancy.  This was largely an emotionally-driven decision, born out of fear and a lack of self-confidence (my baby just felt so fragile in there!  And how would I even know if I’m pushing myself too hard in the gym??) as well as, I believe, a healthy level of caution (1 in 4 pregnancies do not make it to term; pregnancy losses tend to happen during the first trimester, and are typically either the inevitable result of a chromosomal abnormality or sometimes are just a sad, sad mystery).

    Luckily for me, fitness trainer and the owner of Fit180, Julie Hoang Clayton (the hottie photographed with me above who, incidentally, gained 80 pounds during each of her two pregnancies and was then able to bounce back into the best shape of her life) truly cares about her clients.  She respected my decision to take a break, but would intermittently check in with me to see if I was ready to return back to the gym.  She gently reminded me of the common benefits of keeping fit while pregnant (a substantially faster recovery from birth, gives you a much-needed energy boost, can reduce swelling and back aches, and more).  At around 20 weeks– and after grilling poor Julie on the prenatal certifications of her various trainers– I made my way back to Fit180.

    I am so glad that I did.  I was immediately put at ease because the trainers at Fit180 are super experienced and vigilant.  They clearly had a solid handle on the ins and outs of pregnancy fitness- for example– watching my heart rate and fatigue level, making sure that we did not incorporate any “crunching” or activities where I would be flat on my back, monitoring my water and calorie intake, and more.  I felt totally safe.  I immediately felt that I had increased energy, I felt better about my changing body, and honestly… It was just good to get out there and do something FOR MYSELF while pregnant.  Most of my time not spent working has been spent fixing up the nursery for baby, reading books on how to care for baby, basically obsessing over baby… And going to the gym a couple of times per week felt like a radical and much-needed act of self-care.

    If you are currently pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, I urge you to look into personal training.  In my opinion, it is the safest way to keep up with your fitness at this delicate and important phase of life.  I also view it as an invaluable investment in your health.

    If you are located in Dallas, I feel comfortable putting my name and my full support behind Fit180 and their trainers.  They got me fit for my wedding the right way, and now they are preparing me for the most miraculous and physically challenging experience of my entire life to date.  They do offer free consultations at whichever location is most convenient to you, so, preggo or not, sign up for yours here. You don’t have anything to lose by learning more about yourself and how you might achieve your fitness goals!

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