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 ;)

xoxo

 

Pumpkin Blast Smoothie

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m not gonna lie, I wish I’d shared this with you sooner, but truth is, this might be exactly what you want the day after. Think of it as a pumpkin flavored detox. Bursting with pumpkin pie flavor, but made with carrots and spinach, this is a 100% no-guilt blended treat. 

Also, if you’re looking for a pumpkin pie alternative, I updated my Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins recipe for healthier and protein filled options ;)

Recipe:

  • 6-8 Organic Baby Peeled Carrots
  • Handful Organic Baby Spinach  (about. 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup Organic Pumpkin Puree 
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 tbsp Organic Flaxseed Meal
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract, Organic
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Allspice
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg

Optional:
1/2 scoop Whole Foods Plant Based Fit Protein - Vanilla Cinnamon (I wouldn’t do any more than 1/2 scoop or it’ll change the flavor profile of the smoothie)

248 Cal / 46g Carbs. / 5g Fat. / 6g Protein.

Harvest Oatmeal

Breakfast is my all-time favorite meal of the day. With the holidays upon us I've been playing with some healthier alternatives that are guilt free, but just as comforting. In case you couldn't tell, I love food, so while I strive to maintain a healthy diet, my dishes still need to be packed with flavor, and this Harvest Oatmeal is just that! Easy to make in large batches and one of my favorite meals to make ahead, this Harvest Oatmeal is the perfect Thanksgiving Breakfast option to set you up for the weekend ahead. Enjoy!

Recipe:

  • 3/4c Old Fashioned Rolled Oats - Organic
  • .5tbs Chia Seeds
  • 1tsp Organic Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8c Raw Pecan Pieces
  • 1/8c Organic Dried Cranberries
  • 1tbs Organic Pumpkin Butter
  • Optional – 1/8c Granny Smith Apple,  diced
  • Optional – Cinnamon / Nutmeg to taste

Cook Rolled Oats as normal, include additional 1/4c water. Cook for approx 5 min, turn of burner, stir in Vanilla Extract & Chia Seeds. Top with Pecans, Dried Cranberries, Pumpkin Butter, Apple, and Cinnamon / Nutmeg. 

380 Cal. / 54g Carbs. / 16g Fat. / 9g Protein. 

LIFE LATELY

October was nothing short of a timelapse, and the optimist in me want to believe it's winding down, but please, that's never been our style....

The month kicked off with a full week of fitness, which is kind of my dream! First I got meet Karina & Katrina of Tone It Up (more on that here), followed by the Chicago Marathon which included a full family visit from Alaska, and our pregnancy announcement!

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Immediately following, Paul headed to Scotland and Iceland for a boys' trip with some of his best mates– they all turn 30 this year, so this trip's been in the works for over a year. Also, I can't wait to show you some of their drone footage, these guys so are good!

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If you follow on Instagram Stories, you know I got super sick last month. Nothing severe, just a cold that knocked me out. Come to find out, this is totally normal during pregnancy, since your immune system isn't functioning at 100% (learning something new every day during this pregnancy).

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While I got a few days to get back to normal, soon my parents arrived for a visit! They haven't been to Chicago since my college graduation, so there was a lot of tourism on the list, and I'm sure this would be a chore for some, but if you live in Chicago you know sightseeing never gets old!

While Paul was gone, I also started going back to Pure Barre, which is always challenging, but after primarily running for the past few months and currently being 20+ weeks pregnant, I'm definitely struggling to keep up, and I'm not gonna lie it's a bit of a blow to my pride. My training has taken a drastic shift now that marathon training's complete, and while I'd like to keep up with a few 4-6 mile runs per week, the focus has shifted from heavy cardio to strength training & pilates/barre. More on the importance of this later ;)

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Finally, thank you for all the sweet messages, earlier this week I turned 29, and considering the recent news and changes to come, I couldn't be more excited for the year ahead! I'm not really big on birthdays, neither one of us is, so like Paul's birthday earlier this month, we kept it simple, stayed in, ordered dinner, and shut off our computers for the evening. We prefer to splurge on travel, so big gifts aren't a part of our birthday routine either, which is probably even more evidence that we're getting old... I'm cool with it. 

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This week also marks 22 weeks with baby H, and I know a lot of you have been asking for bump updates, but honestly, there hasn't been a lot to show, but our doctor is confident that baby's healthy and growing strong, so everything minus the bump seems right on track (take that for a run-on sentence, and then welcome to stream-of-though as of late). Bump photo at 22 weeks is below and it seems like Baby H is finally starting to make an appearance.... 

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Tomorrow my sister arrives for a long weekend, and I can't wait to spoil her with "big city" living. In all honesty, I'm sure we'll keep it pretty casual, but she's the perfect shopping, coffee, and baking date, so it'll be perfect girl time!

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It's unlikely that life will wind down before the new year, after all this is just the fun stuff, we also have work Monday to Friday, and the holidays are just around the corner! In times like these, I've noticed some key items that help keep me and my home sane. If you're sensing a busy season ahead, I highly recommend giving these everyday basics a try...

Puretergent– Comes in lavender, eucalyptus, and lemon, is free of many harmful ingredients & will make this everyday chore nearly therapeutic!

Tea Tree Oil– I use this on everything: dryer balls, pillows, and even as a quick air freshener!

Shopping List– I'm still a pen & paper girl, can't t ell you how many of these notepads I've purchased over the years.

Cozy Loungewear– Because looking cute while feeling comfortable is guaranteed to keep your spirits up. 

Nespresso– Other than our Vitamix, this is the most frequently used appliance in our home...

Meal Prep Containers– I'm usually off to work by 5:30am, so when I'm busy, nothing's sweeter than pre-made breakfasts!

Face Mask– Stress can take a toll on your skin, I'm obsessed with this charcoal mask for a quick pick-me-up!

 

Blackberry Grapefruit Salad

If you're looking for a light & refreshing dish, this is your answer. Packed with fiber, protein, & vitamins there's no way to feel guilty indulging in this citrusy sweet treat!

Enjoy!


Recipe:

  • 1/2 Medium Red Grapefruit 
  • 1/2 c Fresh Blackberries
  • 1/4 c Plain Greek Yogurt - 0% Fat
  • 1 to 2 tbsp Organic Chia Seeds
  • 6 Fresh Mint Leaves

Begin by mixing Greek Yogurt with 1 tbsp Chia Seeds & set aside. Peel & segment Grapefruit. Toss all ingredients together. Top with remaining Chia Seeds & Fresh Mint. Optional: drizzle with light Agave (you won't need much). 

 

225 Cal. / 32g Carbs. / 6g Fat. / 15g Protein.