10 Tips to Curb Winter Skin

I have normal to dry skin, with occasional eczema outbreaks. Winter is not my friend. 

To make matters worse, during last fall I developed a common, but annoying pregnancy symptom known as itchy skin. While there are rare cases in which itchy skin can indicate liver complications, for me this was no more than a change in blood flow and hormones (plus a growing baby & stretching skin). Nevertheless, more than any other symptom this one drove me mad, and eventually I was forced to make some changes.  

After an in depth look at my skincare routine and some inevitable trial and error, I was able to find a few options to ease those winter blues. Below are some helpful tricks I developed along the way… 



H20, but you already knew that... Regardless, during winter, add more– especially if pregnant! Not only does water keep us feeling hydrated, but it also helps on a deeper level aiding in metabolic function, muscle function, appetite, and overall immune health. If you get bored with water (9months will do that), try adding lemon or other natural fruits/veggies. 

Check your ingredients:

I was lathering myself in moisturizers to no avail. I’d been using the same products for years, and while I believed them to be clean & safe, eventually I had to swap some out for milder alternatives. At the time I went so far as to switch to organic baby wash and moisturizer, but have since found more mainstream & budget friendly alternatives. Bottom line, the shorter the ingredient list, the better. Also, check EWG’s product ratings or download the ThinkDirty app for quick reference while shopping. 

Keep it simple:

While it’s not necessarily convenient, consider coconut oil as a moisturizer. This isn’t your best option if seeking to get out the door quickly, as you’ll have to let the oil soak in for some time. Personally, I like to shower at night, so taking a little extra time to towel dry and wrap myself in loose PJs isn’t a big ask. Full disclosure, I’m not the most patient person, so most days I mix one part coconut oil to one part moisturizer.


I use coconut oil for everything, including makeup-removal– works wonders on mascara. I know some have complained about breaking out while using coconut oil, but that’s never been the case for me, plus it’s a natural anti-microbial, so the clean freak in me can’t think of a better skin remedy. While I use coconut oil on my body almost daily, I only use it on my face a couple times a week (and a little goes a long way). If coconut oil’s not for you, consider adding another face oil. Personally, I’ve had great experiences with Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, and all 3 of Beauty Counter’s Face oils. I prefer adding this step after I shower when pores are clear. Like I said, I tend to shower at night, and I like knowing nothing will be layered over this treatment until morning. In general try to let each of your skincare products settle into your skin before adding another. 

Hit Snooze:

For most of my life I washed my face both at night and in morning. There’s no alternative to washing your face at night– ask any esthetician, and they'll confirm you should never fall asleep with all that makeup. That being said,, you can skip the morning wash. Pending you keep clean linens and pillows, there’s really no need to wash up come morning, as doing so will only strip your skin of all those good natural oils it's developed overnight. Think about it, when is your face most dewy & glowing? Hold onto that glow, girl! If wrapping your mind around this one is still a hurdle, consider a moisturizing toner instead of face wash. You’ll still feel refreshed while avoiding a total loss of benefits. 

Wear a mask:

This recommendation is as much for your hair as it is for your skin. I try to include a face mask every 1 to 2 weeks – like I said, not the most patient person, but it always leaves my skin feeling tighter and refreshed. I’m better at treating my hair. I have yet to find a natural hair mask I love, but my quick rescue option gets the job done. Try Pantene’s 3 Minute Miracle–  you’ll see immediate results. Also, quick gym trick: If your gym has a steam sauna, wash your hair before entering, lather it in conditioner, but skip the rinse (for now). After a relaxing steam, complete your shower. Having allowed for that extended heat conditioning will lock in moisture in a whole new way! 

Avoid unnecessary heat:

Fun fact, I don’t even own a hair dryer– probably another reason I like to shower at night. Don’t get me wrong, some days I crave the convenience of a quick blowout, but I’ve also noticed a significant change in the life of my hair since making this change. The difference in split ends alone is mind blowing! I still use a curling iron and flat iron, but again I try not to use it every day. Think style one day, then dry shampoo and updo the next. 

Exfoliate thoroughly, but not daily: 

This is a tough one for me, because I love a good scrub, but you can overdue it, making skin vulnerable to irritants & infections. Use a scrub to rid yourself of dry skin, but give yourself a break for a day or two after. This applies to both shower and face scrubs. When choosing a face scrub, invest a little more and opt for a fine grain scrub. I recently had an esthetician warn me that rough grain scrubs manipulate your pores making them larger over time. No thanks! As for body scrub, it doesn’t have to be fancy, just amazing, and there’s no better scrub than Frank Coffee Scrub. You can thank me later ;)

Rethink your make-up routine:

If you typically use powders, consider switching to tinted moisturizers or liquid foundations. There are also great cream blushes, highlighters, and lip stains available that will leave your skin feeling much softer throughout the day. 


Remember there’s nothing wrong with a quick refresh. I love a good face mist no matter the season! I’ve tried a lot of options in the past, and typically only refresh a couple times a day, but lately my favorites are Beauty Counter’s Brightening Mist & Herbivore's Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Mist. These are great options to carry in your gym bag or purse and can serve as a perfect moment of bliss in an otherwise chaotic day. 

Minimalist Nursery

If you follow on Instagram, you already know our goal is a simple yet chic nursery. For starters we live in a downtown high-rise, which we love, but often this means shopping not according to what we want, but what we have space for. 

Today, I'm opening up a bit of our registry and sharing how we're creating a minimalist nursery/home for Baby H.

To my surprise, nesting for us has meant more organization than anything else, and it's made for some creative space solutions I think you'll appreciate. 

As much as I love baby, I knew long ago that I didn't want our home cluttered with baby gear, and frankly I'm not so sure babies require as much as we accumulate– less is more...




No crib for now, we've opted for a sleek and compact bassinet, that comes with raving reviews! Not gonna lie, we're banking on SNOO's technology– customers boast similarities to a night nurse! It's not cheap, but if the videos are real, it's worth every penny in my book!

2. Table-top Changing Station:

No changing table either. As much as possible, I wanted to avoid adding any more furniture to our space, so we decided to go with a topper on an already existing dresser. We opted for Restoration Hardware's Layne Wide Dresser Topper, which will serve as the main storage station for all things baby related. 

3. Hatch Baby Grow:

For those who don't know, I'm kind of a clean freak, so a wipeable easy clean changing pad was a must. This one is slightly more luxurious as it comes with a built in scale to track baby's growth, but frankly it's the same price as it's non-tech alternative, so why not?

4. Wipe Warmer:

I hate being cold, so I can't imagine baby waking up to a cold diaper only to be followed by cold wet wipes. A wipe warmer seems like an easy way to keep baby comfortable, and after much research, Prince Lionheart's Evo warmer comes with the best reviews.

5. Dyson Humidifier:

This is where the clean freak in me geeks out. I know it's a splurge, but I'm a big fan of Dyson's technology & design, so I'm really hoping to get my hands on this one. With two dogs in the mix, we want to make sure we keep baby's environment both clean and safe. 

6. Dock-a-Tot:

I'm sure you've already seen this on every baby registry, and I asked around a lot before committing, but friends swear by Dock-a-Tot, and I love the idea of using it for multiple purposes including a portable play mat/sleeper.

7. Diaper Storage:

A few of you recommended a portable caddy– hence the handle storage basket. Both this and the additional wicker bin will make their home on baby's changing table for easy access during those late night diaper changes.  

8. Modern Baby Monitor:

We're foregoing the traditional baby monitor and opting for the Nest IQ which easily pairs with your smart phone. We've loved Nest products in the past, and are keen on the sleek design of this camera for baby's nursery. 

9. Storage, Storage, Storage:

Like I said, we've been hard at work creating more storage space. We have a walk-in closet, but it's already full without adding any baby gear, so we've added a stock-full of these lidded bins to keep things tidy on shelving. 

10. Unofficial Diaper Pail:

While we originally registered for the Ubbi diaper pail, we recently swapped that idea for a small Simplehuman step can. This decision surprised me too, but after chatting with a friend who's currently on her 4th baby, it's a trusted and far more budget friendly alternative. Well, that and odor fighting disposable diaper bags which I plan to order in bulk.

11. Aromatherapy:

I love filling our home with scents of vanilla, lavender, or sandlewood. Additionally, I hope these scents will help soothe baby, so I'm excited to add this diffuser to baby's nursery, though I still haven't decided on black or white. 

12. Snuggled Up:

Baby's enjoyed being tucked away most of this pregnancy, so I'm assuming a snug swaddle will be extremely handy. Also, if you couldn't already tell, we're keeping our color pallet super simple.

13. Minimal Shelving:

I found these stainless steel shelves for a steal, and we've recently added them above our coffee machine to make room for baby's feeding gear. Whether you're expecting or not, I highly recommend these for any modern kitchen. 

14. Baby Blankets:

I'll admit, this is when my minimalism fails me, and it's taking everything in me to avoid buying more baby blankets. There are so many cozy options out there, but again, those that fold down easily and pack well for travel win the race.

15. Pack & Go Bouncer

Still deciding on a bouncer, but the Bloom Coco Go is so simple and packable that it's quickly taking the lead. I love the idea of folding this down & tucking it away when not in use. 


Just because you're opting for minimalism, doesn't mean you have to skimp on the cute stuff! We're stocked on baby clothes, but this is of my favorites!

17. Trial & Error:

From what I've heard, bottles, like pacifiers will take time to narrow in on. Regardless, I only plan on keeping a few of these on hand. My favorites are the Breeza Glass bottles, and ComoTomo Natural Feel bottles. I have one kitchen rule: if it's not dishwasher safe, it's not necessary, and the same applies for baby gear. These bottles are both dishwasher safe and designed with a wider rim for easy cleaning. 

18. Easy Night Shifts:

While I've primarily opted for footed onsies (trying to avoid lost baby socks), many of you recommended sleeping gowns for easy nighttime diaper changes, and Nordstrom makes the softest ones I've found!

19 &20. Quick Cleaning:

While I've made sure all feeding gear is dishwasher safe, I realize that there will be times in which it's quicker to hand-wash bottles. Like I said, I don't want our home covered in baby gear, so these neutral white and grey drying accessories will blend well into our overall aesthetic.

21. Decorative Hamper:

I'll likely wash baby's clothes separately using Puretergent's X-tra Sensitive Formula, so I wanted a decorative hamper to enhance & not take away from our shared spaces. 



I'll be honest, maintaining to a minimalist aesthetic requires some work & a lot of research. Versatility is key, as is a neutral color scheme. I never wanted a big registry, and have worked tirelessly at making it as simple as possible.

What have been some of your nursery and space saving hacks?...




Roasted Chickpea Recipe

Sharing my favorite roasted chickpea recipe with you today! I've been whipping these up for years as the perfect pre-dinner snack, or they're an easy make ahead option for salads and snacking throughout the week. Either way, these spicy crunchy bites are sure to leave you wanting more! Best of all, this recipe requires 5 ingredients and no more than 10min prep time– the hardest part will be waiting ;)

Pro-Tip: Expect chickpeas to shrink when roasted. Since they store well in a sealed jar, I usually double or triple this recipe for guaranteed leftovers.


  • 2 Cans Organic Garbanzo Beans
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/8 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 Lime - Juiced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

121 Cal / 18g Carbs. / 4g Fat. / 5g Protein  -  1/4c  Roasted Chickpeas

Rinse beans thoroughly, removing as many skins as possible while rinsing. Lay on paper towels to remove excess water. Move to mixing bow and add Olive Oil, Cayenne, Ginger, and Lime Juice. Gently stir in seasonings & transfer to baking sheet (I use a cooling grid on top to assist in even airflow). Sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste. Bake at 250-300 degrees for 45-60min or until desired crispiness is achieved. Enjoy!


How to Manage Nutrition & Food Allergies in 2018

If you knew me five years ago, you know my diet consisted of 100% take-out options, this was in part due to a busy lifestyle, but mostly a lack of interest to cook. That being said, over the past two years I've fallen in love with nutrution, so I was ecstatic when Green Circle Wellness reached out about designing a nutrition plan based on my own body's biochemistry. 

The idea was to gain education, learn more about how my body processed nutrients, and how to best fuel my system towards specific goals. Due to the timing of our meeting, this nutrition plan would not address weight gain or loss, but would be designed for me and baby to get the most nutrients from the foods my body needed, taking into consideration my body's unique food preferences rather than fad diets. 

To get me started, a food intolerance test was recommended, and I'll be honest, I laughed out loud...

Little secret: I believe everyone has food intolerances, the question is how severe, and how do you respond to this information?

Personally, I didn't want to be someone who allowed allergies dictate her life, so while I was well aware of allergy testing, this was one I'd consciously avoided, and I was open about my concerns. 

After consulting with Gina (lead nurse at GCW) and Faith (lead nutritionist), they assured me that I didn't have to let these results control my life. They walked me through their personal test results, a scale of 1 to 3+ indicating intolerance levels, and explained how managing allergies didn't have to be all consuming OR all eliminating, it simply had to be done intelligently– work smarter not harder. Done!

Word of advice: find a doctor you trust and have real conversations. Someone can only help you as far as you invite them to. 

Fast forward a few weeks and lab results were in. Keep in mind, I went into this solely expecting a list of foods to avoid in my nutrition plan, and was not prepared for the depth of information that we'd cover in our following hour...

  • For starters, no mention of food items, instead we'd begin by reviewing vitamin & mineral levels. At the time, I was taking a prenatal, and B-6, so most levels seemed to be in good standing, but I was slightly low on Zinc & B-3. Also, despite my attempts at including healthy gut bacteria in my diet, I was in serious need of probiotics for digestive support. Overall, these were easy fixes– a daily B-complex + Probiotic would do the trick.
  • Next up, still no specific foods, rather a deeper look at fats, proteins, & carbs. As it turns out, my body doesn't process protein well, which didn't surprise me too much, since it's always taken me longer to build muscle and I have to make a conscious effort to consume enough protein to see results. Reader's digest version: the enzymes that break down food to retrieve nutrients weren't working properly, so only a portion of the protein I was consuming was actually being absorbed for my body to use. Recommendations: consider adding a plant based protein and Digestizyme supplement– one for added nutrient supply, and the other to assist in proper protein digestion.
  • In my metabolic analysis, there were again indications of a lack of healthy gut bacteria and malabsorption of aminos, however, the more surprising results were in notable toxin levels indicating an overuse of plastic and tin. What?! While this wasn't related to BPA (common toxin associated with plastic), it forced me to dig deep into my daily habits. Fact is I'm pretty lazy inn some ways, so instead of carrying a reusable water bottle, I purchase a lot of bottled water while on-the-go, and regularly line pans or baking sheets with aluminum foil for easy clean up. In addition, I consume a variety of canned beans and often use plastic (ziploc or tupperware) to store foods. Again, easy fixes, but probably the most shocking results yet– how scary is it that the storage materials we use in our daily lives are so toxic they can actually work their way into our system?... Recommendations: carry a reusable water bottle, no more cooking with aluminum foil, and store food in glass containers. Most importantly, never reheat food in any plastic variety!
  • Finally, my food antibody assessment– and the results I'd been dreading the most! As luck would have it, I'm allergic to a lot of foods I consume almost daily, confirming all of my initial fears when beginning this journey. To give you the highlights, I'm allergic to all dairy– except goat's milk. My body doesn't like eggs (yolk or whites), corn, corn gluten, almonds, walnuts, oats, rice, wheat, yeast, cane sugar, chocolate, and coffee. HA. Did I leave out anything else?... Oh yeah, garlic, black pepper, and thyme.

    For reference, my go-to breakfasts include eggs, oatmeal, or greek yogurt. My coffee includes either 2% Milk or Almond Milk, and I have chocolate, cheese, and nuts all the time.

    That being said, remember the rating scale I mentioned?... While all of these foods tested positive, they rated very low on the intolerance scale, and to my relief, Dr. Dina Pavilonis (lead M.D.) assured me that with the numbers in my lab results I had no need to alter my entire lifestyle, I simply needed to monitor my habits to prevent these levels from rising. Rather than eliminating these items all-together, I would need to plan my meals more intentionally, alternating between eggs one day, and oatmeal or dairy the next. By flagging these foods, my body was essentially saying "too much," the concern being that if I failed to cut back on these items, my body would respond with more aggressive reactions. Recommendation: rotational diet. 
Managing allergies didn’t have to be all consuming OR all eliminating, it simply had to be done intelligently– work smarter not harder.

Like I said, I underestimated this follow-up consultation, and by the time we were done, I was overwhelmed with data. From here, the next step would be to reconnect with Faith, review my food journal, and begin to develop a nutrition plan specific to my body's goals and needs. I'll save my nutrition program for another post, because I want to make sure you get all the tools you need to be successful, but I highly recommend getting a head start on your new year's resolutions and booking an appointment to start this journey. I always knew I had allergies, but was afraid of letting them control my life. However, knowledge is power, and rather than playing trial and error, I guarantee that having the proper information will allow you to experience more freedom. Remember, work smarter, not harder ;)


This post has been brought to you by Green Circle Wellness, however, all opinions remain my own. The integrity of this site is far more important to me than any compensation or brand partnership. – S


Beauty Detox

Let me preface by saying “I didn’t want to be that mom”– ha!...

We talk about health and wellness a lot, but I'm actually extremely skeptical, and while I try to practice clean living, I would have my limits. That being said, women are known to make significant health changes during pregnancy, be it diet, exercise, personal care, etc. In general, I eat well, workout regularly, and make safe product purchases for our home. However, when it comes to beauty products, I get protective, and with good reason– organic/natural beauty products don’t tend to perform well! 

So, why are we talking about this?…. 

Studies have found over 200 toxins present in umbilical chord blood at birth! This is the same umbilical cord that serves as lifeline for months leading to delivery pumping approximately 300 quarts of blood to your baby each day! The chemicals found in this channel are known to be toxic to the brain and nervous system, some cause cancer in both humans and animals, and others have a history of causing birth defects. No pressure, right?… 

Naturally, after learning this, I made some additional improvements to the cleaning products around the house, fine tuned our grocery list, and started to dabble in more organic body wash/lotion. However, it wasn’t until I had my makeup bag stolen and was forced to replace my entire makeup collection that I finally decided to give safer beauty a try. 

Like many of you, I’ve had friends reaching out to me about Beautycounter for over a year, and I’d kindly dodged each invitation, until one unexpected friend joined the conversation. I say she’s unexpected, because she’d be the last person to act like as saleswoman, she’s extremely logical, down to earth, and honest– no gimmicks here, what you see is what you get (I love friends like that!).

From a marketing standpoint, I’d been skeptical about Beautycounter in part due to their fear-based messaging, and I made this known. Her response? “Yes, but shouldn’t there be a little bit of fear in how comfortable we are with the chemicals we allow in our daily products?”… She had a point. The US hasn’t passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938. As a culture, why are we so comfortable with this?

She then introduced me to the EWG (Environmental Working Group), an organization that seeks to educate consumers about toxins in home & personal care products. On the EWG site you’ll find a toxicity rating scale of 1-10. Use their Healthy Living App to search any product, and you'll get a rating with chemical breakdown and explanation. Knowledge is power, and I spent a good hour reading about every product in my makeup bag. To my surprise, the number one product I use on a daily basis, an expensive moisturizer I’d been raving about and even convinced my mother to start using, scored a 10/10 on the toxicity scale. Whether I wanted to or not, in that moment, I knew at least some things had to be replaced. 

Beautycounter is committed to banning any questionable or harmful chemicals from it’s products, including a list of over 1,500 chemicals that they refuse to work with. That being said, they're not some no-name homemade label, in fact, last year Chanel's very own Xavier Ormancey, made the move from Paris to Santa Monica as Beautycounter's new Head of Product Development.

Nevertheless, moving away from my previous makeup routine was harder than expected, In some weird way, I felt attached to what I knew, my previous products wore well, my skin responded well, and they looked great. Therefore, being a reasonable person, I decided to begin by replacing any products that scored above a 5 on EWG’s rating scale. 

Here’s the fun part… Beautycounter’s new are here! These little sets are the perfect opportunity to test out a variety of products at a bargain, and they make for the cutest stocking stuffers! 

Personally, I went into this with a lot of skepticism, but after a couple months of using these products, I’m actually really impressed. In fact, while I was home for Thanksgiving, I had my mom and sisters try out some of my favorites, simply because of how good they feel on your skin! I'll admit, the contour kit isn’t nearly as pigmented as my previous collection, but the colors are beautiful and they feel so much nicer and lighter!

As a personal trainer, one of the main things I look for are products that can outrun a day at the gym, and I'm happy to say that every item i've tried so far has passed the test.

I've linked below to each of the items I've personally tried, but if you'd like to learn more, I'd love to answer any questions, or connect you with my friend, Rachel :)

Pinterest Holiday

I've said it before, and I'll say it again– Pinterest is the death of me! I really can't spend more than 5 minutes on there or I'm completely sucked in. What's even worse than a regular day of Steph vs. Pinterest is Steph vs. a Holiday Pinterest! I mean, truly, how's a girl to resist?...

If you're looking for some holiday inspo of your own, click through the images above & they'll lead you to our Holiday Spirit board. As for what happens next, I can't be held responsible ;)