How To Maintain Your Summer Tan Long After Beach Season Ends

How To Maintain Your Summer Tan Long After Beach Season Ends

Along with a newfound ability to “tan” comes great responsibility: to keep said tan for as long as possible…

Here’s a fun fact: My skin is virtually incapable of “being tan.” Up until about five years ago, any time I spent more than an hour in the sun, I’d come home crisp and red. Part of it was probably that I was total shit at applying sunscreen properly (stories for another day), but I also just assumed my fair, sensitive skin wasn’t cut out for friendly interactions with the sun and I resigned myself to a life of looking a lot like Snow White if she wore glasses and had ombre hair.

But then a miraculous thing happened: I started taking suncare seriously. I realized that, if I just took my time and did it with care, sunscreen was wonderful…and it worked. If I chose to stand naked in the bathroom while meticulously applying SPF to every inch of my body to make sure I didn’t miss a spot and therefore didn’t fry, who cares if it added 20 minutes to my routine? For the first time in my life, I was TAN. (“Tan” being relative here. I was as bronzed as I was ever going to healthily be and that was A-OK!)

Getting wiser about proper sunscreen and really learning about how my skin interacted with the sun has been nothing short of miraculous. Yeah, I constantly reapply SPF 50 and I have a sixth sense when it comes to finding the part of the beach that also offers shade and I will fight you for the last umbrella, but I have not looked or felt like a cooked lobster in years.

But along with this newfound ability to “tan” comes great responsibility: to keep said tan for as long as possible. There’s nothing worse than going to bed beautifully bronzed only to wake up paler than you remember, as if the color seeped out while you slept. Here’s how I help my color last longer than one glorious day.

Exfoliate.

I know, counterintuitive, right? Why would you scrub away the skin you’re trying to keep color in? But exfoliating is an important pre- and post-glow step. Before you head out, you’ll want to gently scrub away dead or thirsty surface cells to make sure your skin is smooth and ready to receive sunscreen and all that vitamin D. It will also stimulate blood flow to help remove toxins that may interfere with skin cell generation down the line.

Post-tan, you’ll still want to gently scrub your whole body about once a week. Again, you need to remove those dead cells so your skin can breathe and regenerate properly, but this step is also crucial in making sure all the moisturizer I’m about to lay down in the next step is able to sink in and get to work. Don’t go crazy here. A soft sweep of a body brush or an oil-based scrub with very small grains (like sugar) will do the trick.

Take cold showers.

This one might sound odd, but just trust me. Hot baths and showers can dehydrate your skin, which will lead to faster peeling and flaking. You don’t have to stand under a stream of icy water, but try not to turn the temperature past warm. And while you’re at it, opt for a body wash that’s infused with moisturizing oils. Not only will the oils help keep your skin hydrated, they’ll also work to trap the water from the shower in your skin for an extra dose of moisture. If you’re more of a bath person, infuse that water with oil!

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.

Get it? Good.

When you spend time in the sun, even if you don’t burn, your skin dries out. The heat and sunlight do a miraculous job of leaching natural moisture from your skin, so you need to make sure to replace it tenfold in the days after.

Immediately after being in the sun, drench every inch of your body in something hydrating that’s designed for after sun care. Even though you’re not red, when skin tans it technically burns, so you need to make sure you’re depositing healing nutrients into your skin right away. Since after-sun products are specifically designed with this in mind, look for products that will speed up skin recovery and have calming, soothing, hydrating ingredients.

In the following days, make sure to coat yourself in uber-hydrating products at least once a day (twice if you’re really good). A body oil will deposit essential moisture to your thirsty skin and then go a step further by locking it in with a moisturizer or cream. The latter will create a protective barrier that will keep the hydrating ingredients in your skin so they can’t escape.

Fake it.

If you’re a) not into the sun but wish you were, b) too scared of the potential to burn (I hear ya) or c) afraid of a life without a tan, my advice to you is to just fake it. That’s right, you heard me: FAKE IT.

Gone are the days of terrible self-tanner that left you streaky and orange, that smelled like a chemical factory exploded and rubbed off on all your towels and sheets, that you had to frantically wash your hands after applying or else it would get into the cracks in between your fingers and never leave. These days, DIY tans are pretty excellent and, if you take the time to use them properly, no one will be able to tell the difference between something you applied yourself or a glow you spent days working on.

The easiest way to fake a tan is with good old bronzer. Find a shade that’s one to two shades darker than your natural skin so it doesn’t look fake, and be sure to blend the crap out of it with a brush or makeup sponge. (There’s nothing worse than that very obvious line of makeup where your skin changes color in the blink of an eye.) Whether it’s a creamy formula you can apply to the high points of your face where the sun would naturally hit it for just a hint of glow, a stick you can use to contour and give some depth to your “tan,” a powder you can lightly dust in a “3” shape on both sides of your face for buildable color, or a loose, shimmer powder you can mix with face oil for an all-over wash, there’s a foolproof bronzing product out there for you.
And if you really want to commit, self-tan your whole bod. Always make sure to test new products out on a small patch of unseen skin so make sure the color jives with your skin tone and that you have control over the product, and then go to town. If you’re using a straight up self-tanning lotion, think about wearing an application mitt so it goes on smooth and even (and doesn’t leave your hands looking like they belong to an Oompa Loompa). Or go the slow and steady route with a 2-for-1, buildable tanning moisturizer.

The best part is that all of the steps I mentioned above (exfoliating, cool showers, moisturizing) are major parts of successful application and care of DIY tans, so do ‘em!

Photo by Jana Kirn.

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1, 2, 3, 4… Your Step-by-Step Skincare Layering Guide

1, 2, 3, 4… Your Step-by-Step Skincare Layering Guide

Once you know, you know…

There are certain beauty-centric questions that I hear nearly every day — the easy ones, like “what is dry shampoo ?” or “does a waterproof mascara that won’t leak onto my eyelids when I sweat even exist?” And then there are the more complex ones, like “when do I put on a serum?” and “what’s the point of double cleansing?” that really give my life meaning.

The tricky part of layering skincare is that with every expert and derm you ask, you’ll get a different answer. Instead of losing time over details that won’t wreck your face, we’ve put together a list of the can’t-miss steps to help nourish healthy skin — and the easiest order to execute them.

STEP 1: MAKE UP REMOVER

Start by removing the stickiest layers of makeup with a super-slick blend of oils (like the organic sweet almond and blue chamomile options in this one), which will keep you from tugging and scrubbing at your eyes, not to mention the rest of your features. It seems like “hey, no big deal! It’s just for a second!” until you add up all of the times you’ve done it in a week, a year, a lifetime — and subsequently lost lashes or worse, stretched delicate skin that may not just snap back like a rubber band, eventually.

STEP 2: CLEANSE

Cleansing wipes are the easiest way to get into the crevices of your face that need to be swept clean with a bit more oomph than just the soft palms of your hands. Glide one around in gentle, circular motions to get the blood flowing to the surface, which is its own mini-step toward a brighter complexion. The bamboo water and argan oil in these won’t rid your skin of essential moisture as you prepare to double cleanse.

STEP 3: DOUBLE CLEANSE

Double cleansing is easily one of the most confusing topics for beauty babes that don’t quite get what the point of an extra step is in an already tedious routine — “it looks pretty spotless already!” you’d think. But the fact is, there’s still a thin film of dirt and pollution lurking that can mysteriously end up on your pillowcase, or just creeping inside of your pores. Taking the time to double cleanse with a vitamin-rich, moisturizing wash will bring you one step further away from those tiny, pesky surface bumps that you see in a brightly lit mirror and wonder “why?”

STEP 4: EXFOLIATE

Very light-handed, consistent exfoliation is key for smooth, glowing skin, but it’s important to find a product that isn’t going to strip the natural barrier that your complexion needs for protection. The pineapple fruit extract and kaolin clay in this water-activated, superfine scrub help gently remove dead cells without drying, and can even be used as a luminizing mask when you have extra time in the tub or shower.

STEP 5: TONE

Toner is one of those products that seems so neutral, you think you can skip it — but without it, you may lose the value of each superstar product you subsequently apply to your face. Toner’s role is to balance the pH of your skin so that it’s able to properly absorb, instead of clash with, the ingredients in your skincare. Plus, the easy spray bottle packaging of this one means you don’t even need to worry about stocking up on cotton balls to use it.

STEP 6: SERUM

After all of the necessary cleansing and exfoliating, your complexion is thirsty for a drink of restorative, soothing moisture. The rose otto and geranium oils in this serum create a healing elixir for even the most sensitive skin, along with a lit-from-within glow without the grease. Tap a few drops onto your face, neck, and even eyelids while you breathe in the soft floral scent and make your next moves.

STEP 7: EYE CREAM

As we discussed in Step 1, the delicate skin around your eyes needs tender love and care, which means giving your lids their own specialized form of protection. The certified vegan, all-natural blend of botanicals in this eye cream go on in an imperceptible veil that won’t pill away when you start to apply your makeup. Tap a small pump onto top and bottom lids, basically over any area that your pool goggles would cover.

STEP 8: MOISTURIZE

Seal in your hard work with a no-brainer, multitasking moisturizer. If we’ve learned anything in the last few years, it’s that it seems that (nearly) everything fermented is packed with some kind of beauty benefit. The naturally-fermented ceremides in this cream help repair damaged skin without breaking you out. Follow with a mineral sunscreen if you’re about to head out into the bright light of day.

BONUS ROUND: SLEEP WITH A SILK EYE MASK 

I could go on and on about my love for silk, especially when it’s woven into anything that’s touching my face. Polished, pure silk fibers won’t tug on your eyes like even the smoothest cotton could, plus sleeping with an eye mask keeps you from squinting yourself to sleep, preventing crows feet and fine lines in the long run. Tinted soft pinks and caramels with non-toxic dyes, these have just enough give in their elastic to stay on through the night (plus block out the light when you want to sleep in) without feeling uncomfortably tight.

 

+Skincare 101 starts here

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The Mani/Pedi Summer Refresh You Need Right Now

The Mani/Pedi Summer Refresh You Need Right Now

This end-of-summer ritual is everything for healthier, shinier nails…

If you started off summer with a mani/pedi, chances are you might need a refresh by now. All that exposure to sun, sand and salt water can really wear out even the most invincible of polishes. This is also the turning point of summer where you start to think about fall, and look forward to switching things up — especially on your hands and toes. “The change of seasons is the time for change in wardrobe. Nail color is not an exception to that transition,” says New York City manicurist Jessica Tong. Rather than rushing through the removal and repainting process, though, consider turning this moment into your end-of-summer ritual: break out the botanical polish remover to heal and nourish your enamel, spend an extra minute massaging in your hand cream (ahh, feels so good) and then follow this guide for an on-point mani/pedi that will carry you into September and beyond…

Give your nails a healthy start:

If you want take good care of your enamel, the first step of any manicure or pedicure is always to apply a base coat. “Discoloration of the nails is often caused by not using a base coat,” points out Tong. By forming a barrier and smoothing the surface, Tong says this step is even “more vital than a topcoat in preventing chips.”

Go for a nontoxic polish:

The technology behind nail polishes has improved considerably over the last few years, so opting for a safer-for-your polish no longer means settling for watered-down shades and streaky finishes. Tong is an ambassador for Smith & Cult and favors the L.A.-based brand’s 8-free formulas that feature high-impact pigments minus harsh chemicals.

Find your true colors:

“Anyone that knows me knows I love a dark nail and a dark lip year round,” says Tong, who recommends ignoring the conventional rules and traditions about using light colors in summer and darker tones in winter. “We are not bound to seasonal color norms.” Her top picks for hand or toes right now: Dark Like Me, a deep plum (“I literally have this on right now!”), Tenderoni, a milky beige, and Stockholm Syndrome, an opaque gray.

Make it last:

Finish with a topcoat, but don’t go overboard — a thin layer will do, says Tong. Not only is this your insurance policy against chips and scuffs, but it also helps fend off environmental stress. “A top coat is a great shield against the elements,” says Tong. “I highly recommend it before beach activities or vacation.”

Look out for your nails’ wellbeing.

Most polish applications will last one to two weeks, depending on how tough or easy you are on your hands and toes. Also, Tong says nails don’t really need a “breather” or break in between polish jobs. “It’s a very common misconception,” she says. “The most damaging act against your nails is over-buffing. More often than not this act is far more damaging to nails than polish.” A better move: dab on cuticle oil and you’re done.

+ Click here to shop more nail polishes and nail-care products! 

 

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Wellness Encyclopedia: Cherries + Cherry Recovery Smoothie

Wellness Encyclopedia: Cherries + Cherry Recovery Smoothie

Cherries are more than their garnet-colored flesh and delicious flavor would lead you to believe…

Late summer might just be my favorite “season” at the farmers’ markets here on the East Coast. Tables and stalls of local producers are overflowing with ripe peaches and nectarines, fresh flowers cascade from their baskets like tidal waves, every shade of green imaginable is represented by the cornucopia of vegetables available, and on more than one seller’s table the prize of August sits — fresh cherries. It’s not just the outdoor markets cherries commandeer come August, grocery stores and even corner markets all seem to procure them, the fruits practically begging to fill a bowl and be lazily eaten under the canopy of some shady tree somewhere, the difficult-to-navigate pits forcing those eating them to slow down and just enjoy it… And probably have a pit spitting contest too (just be sure to aim for the compost). As you might imagine with any lucky fruit or veggie lucky enough to be chosen for a Wellness Encyclopedia post, cherries are more than their garnet-colored flesh and delicious flavor — turns out they’re super good for you, too! Today — and for the remainder of August for that matter — I’m celebrating cherry season. Read on to learn how these pretty stone fruits can benefit you, then be sure to whip up the recipe below the next time you need a little recovery time post-gym session.

What are they? The cutest stone fruit (or drupe) in the Prunus genus, cherries are believed to be native to Turkey before they were eventually exported to Europe and later, North America. Late summer is typically cherry season in North America, making August the perfect time to pick some up at your local market. The most common cherry available is the Bing cherry, but a wide variety exist, including sunset-colored Rainier, Coral, and Tulare, with most cherries coming from either Prunus avium (sweet and/or wild varieties) or Prunus cerasus (sour varieties).

What are the benefits? Your first tip-off that cherries might be kinda-sorta really good for you should be their dark outer skin. Generally, most fruits and veggies that feature dark or deeply hued outer skins contain high levels of antioxidants, collagen-boosting anthocyanins, polyphenols like quercetin, and carotenoids — cherries included! Cherries are also rich in vitamin C, which not only boosts immunity but aids in cellular turnover, keeping skin looking healthy, youthful and smooth. If you have trouble sleeping, try drinking a small glass of tart cherry juice before bed, as it’s been found to contain phytochemicals that aid in sleep, including melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep cycle. Athletes and casual exercisers can both benefit from the anti-inflammatory powers that cherries are believed to possess — cherries and tart cherry juice can help reduce muscle damage and increase healing time after intense exercise, and as a bonus, you might get the best sleep of your life after a good workout and some cherries! Try the restorative smoothie below after your next workout.

How do I use them? Like most stone fruits, cherries are incredibly versatile and work well in both sweet and savory recipes for any time of day. Try them in savory grain bowls nested next to avocado, walnuts and arugula, or tossed into a bright salad with almonds and crunchy romaine. Cherries are easily reduced to a sauce or glaze, and depending on direction can be used to top something sweet (like ice cream) or savory (like a protein). Use them as you would any fruit for dessert recipes, or take the healthy route and add them to juices, oatmeal, chia puddings, and of course – smoothies! …psst, like the one below.

Cherry Recovery Smoothie

Ingredients

1 handful fresh dark cherries, pits and stems removed

1 scoop protein powder of choice (either plain or vanilla)

1 cup frozen steamed veggies (I recommend either cauliflower or zucchini — or both!)

8 oz coconut water

1 tsp coconut butter

¼ tsp almond extract (optional)

1 cup ice

 

Method

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend on high until smooth. Pour into a cup and enjoy! Top with unsweetened dried coconut flakes if desired.

 

+ Be sure to check out more Wellness Encyclopedia posts!

Follow Julie on Instagram + check out her blog.

This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. 
Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.

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Wellness Encyclopedia: Pineapple + The Easiest Pineapple Recipe Ever

Wellness Encyclopedia: Pineapple + The Easiest Pineapple Recipe Ever

In the heat of August, is there anything quite as gorgeous as a bite of fresh pineapple?

With its sunny yellow hue and juicy sweet taste, to me, fresh pineapple is the only answer to the question of what to eat on a blistering hot afternoon. It’s the perfect snack to have on hand all summer long — from the beach, to picnics, to the ideal dessert when it’s 8pm and somehow still sweltering. As we enter into high summer, my pineapple consumption has increased exponentially with the heat, so I thought it was time to finally give this incredible fruit its day in the sun. Along with being super delicious and super affordable, pineapple boasts incredible benefits for the whole body — it’s more than its tropical flavor! Read on to learn why the humble pineapple (a whole, unpeeled, as-is pineapple!) deserves a place in your market basket the next time you’re browsing the produce section.

What is it? Native to Brazil and Paraguay (and possibly the Caribbean), pineapples are part of the Bromeliaceae family, the same family as most air plants (which makes total sense as soon as you look at the top of a pineapple and a tillandsia side by side). Pineapples begin their interesting lives as large flowers, consisting of over 200 blooms for most fruits. As the flowers mature, the fruits of each flower join together, with the ovaries of each flower transforming into berries which bind together to make a single pineapple (told you it was interesting). Pineapples are classified as multiple fruits (or collective fruits) consisting of coalesced berries, which means each flower produces a fruit/berry, but these mature into one large fruit (figs and breadfruit are another example of this). Phew! It’s a lot to take in, but next time you’re eating a pineapple, you can think about how you’re really eating a bunch of berries joined together.

 

 

What are the benefits? While some people turn to orange juice to fight off a cold, my family swore by pineapple juice (which might explain why it took me years to warm back up to it). But! My mother wasn’t wrong — one cup of pineapple contains 105% DV of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant and immune booster. Along with potentially boosting overall immunity, the vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin B1 in pineapple can help scrub the body of free radicals, aiding in cellular turnover and resulting in healthier cells from the inside out, healing sun damage and possibly reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Pineapple’s high level of bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme, soothes and relaxes tense muscles and connective tissues, aiding in everything from pain relief, arthritis relief, wound healing, and tendonitis. Bromelain has also been shown to be a powerful digestive enzyme, aiding in the absorption of nutrients and in the healing of digestive disorders.

 

 

How do I use it? Before listing all the delicious ways you can use pineapple, first allow me to make the case for purchasing a whole pineapple instead of pre-cut chunks or — shiver — canned:

Price. In peak season a whole pineapple can usually be bought for somewhere between $1.99 and $2.99, a far more economical choice than purchasing pre-cut chunks, which you’ll end up paying a premium for, sometimes upwards of $5.99 per pound. You’ll save some cash if you’re willing to spend five minutes of your time cutting it up yourself. Plus, you’ll earn some IRL fruit ninja bragging rights.

Taste. Canned pineapple can’t hold a candle to the fresh stuff. If you don’t believe me, do a taste test. Unless you’re making a pineapple upside-down cake or some type of drink, canned pineapple is actually pretty awful. Choose fresh whenever possible. Fresh pineapple is like summer’s prize for making it through the winter. You win!

Now that I have you convinced, how do you use fresh pineapple? Besides cutting up a big bowl of it and devouring it right then and there, fresh pineapple is surprisingly versatile, lending its sweet and tropical flavor to everything from sweet to savory. The next time you make salsa, try tossing in some diced pineapple for a new twist, or add pineapple chunks to kebabs before throwing them on the grill. For a summer-ready dessert that won’t leave you feeling stuffed, dip pineapple chunks in melted dark chocolate and sprinkle with dried coconut before popping in the fridge to set. Add pineapple to smoothies, chia pudding, or overnight oats, or top with plain yogurt for a tropical breakfast. Or, try the recipe below — it’s one of my favorite summer treats and takes all of five minutes to throw together.

 

 

Spiced Fresh Pineapple

Ingredients:

½ to 1 whole pineapple, peeled and cubed (this video will show you how to choose and cut a whole pineapple)

Chili powder

Lime wedges

Dried unsweetened coconut

Method:

Place pineapple cubes in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with chili powder and toss to combine (start off slow, then add more to taste). Divide pineapple between serving bowls and top with dried coconut. Serve with line wedges to squeeze on top. Enjoy!

+ Be sure to check out more Wellness Encyclopedia posts!

Follow Julie on Instagram + check out her blog.

This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. 
Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.

Free People Blog

5 Reasons Why You Should Add Coffee to Your Beauty Routine

5 Reasons Why You Should Add Coffee to Your Beauty Routine

Reap all of coffee’s energizing benefits (without getting wired)…

Coffee inspires a lot of devotion. You can really obsess your way through roasting, French pressing, and “poring”over your daily cup. On the beauty front, the antioxidant-packed seeds happen to work wonders for brightening and toning your skin. Inspired by these benefits, Australian-based C Lab & Co launched an entire collection of small-batch scrubs crafted with Arabica seed powder and 100 percent natural ingredients. With summer in full swing, there’s no better time to invest in a good buffing to revitalize your body. Here, 5 reasons why coffee should become a regular — obsession-worthy — part of your everyday routine.

 

It softens your skin extremely well.

When finely ground down into a powder, coffee seeds are Mother Nature’s best exfoliator for lightly but effectively banishing dead skin and dry flakes that make your limbs look dull and ashy. C Lab & Co’s scrub doesn’t rely on any harsh chemicals or potentially irritating ingredients (sugar, sands) to perform this feat, which helps preserve your skin’s super-important barrier. Once you remove rough patches, you’re left with a smoother, more even-toned surface — and that’s everything in summer.

It gets your blood flowing.

Just like drinking coffee can wake you up, rubbing on a caffeinated coffee scrub can stimulate your circulation, helping to flush out toxins and minimize bumps and stretch marks. It’s all in the application method — massage it into your legs, arms and anywhere else you’d like using small, circular motions (think of waxing a car). The warm water of your shower or bath also lets the particles absorb better into your skin for a noticeable result.

The smell of it can sharpen your mind.

Inhaling coffee’s aroma — without even drinking it — can perk you up, according to a 2008 study that found that this ritual switches on genes in your brain that might lessen the impact of sleep deprivation. So open a jar of your scrub in the a.m. and breathe it in.

You can combine it with other super foods.

Normally you have to slather on oils and hydrating creams after exfoliating to fend off dryness but C Lab & Co’s scrubs has moisturizers — in the form of sweet almond oil and vitamin E — already built into their formulas (so convenient!). And in the case of the Coffee+ Coconut scrub, it’s infused with extra botanical nourishing.

You can take it to go.

Traveling in the near or distant future? Now you can get your coffee scrub in a portable pack to use anytime, anywhere. Bonus tip: if the particles make your tub slippery, you can prevent any wipe-outs by dampening your skin first and then turning off the water as you slather away. Steady, you go!

+ Shop the entire C Lab & Co collection here!! 

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In the Kitchen: Egg/Avocado Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

In the Kitchen: Egg/Avocado Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Incorporate two of our favorite ingredients — egg and avocado — into your menu for any time of day…

From our FP Gather chef Greg Glowatz…with photos by Jillian Guyette.

Breakfast

Avocado and Egg Toast

Serves 2.

Ingredients

4 slices multigrain toast

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, butter or vegan butter

3 pastured fresh eggs

1 avocado

1 or 2 heirloom tomatoes, depending on size

½ cup radicchio, shredded

Maldon or any flaky sea salt, to taste

Cracked black pepper, to taste

Method

Cut multigrain bread to the size and shape that you want and toast until golden brown. While the toast is still warm, spread on a little butter, vegan butter or a little extra virgin olive oil. Lightly scramble pastured eggs, season with salt and pepper and gently cook in butter, vegan butter or extra virgin olive oil. Top toast with scrambled eggs. Then add sliced heirloom tomatoes seasoned with sea salt, sliced avocado and shredded radicchio. Finish with more flaky sea salt and cracked black pepper. Enjoy!

Lunch

Avocado and Egg Salad

Serves 2.

Ingredients

3 cups kale, shredded fine

1 tbsp avocado oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 pastured fresh eggs

1 avocado

1 scallions

1 cucumber

2 carrots, rainbow or orange

1 sweet red pepper

3 tbsp sprouted hemp seeds

Maldon or any flaky sea salt, to taste

Cracked black pepper, to taste

Method

First, hard boil eggs first and set aside. I like to start in plenty of cold water. I turn gas on high and, when water comes to a boil, I turn heat off and cover eggs for about 8 minutes depending on their size. Cool and peel eggs and set aside. Toss shredded kale in avocado oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and gently massage kale with lemon juice and oil. Cut cucumber in matchstick-sized pieces. Slice scallions, carrots, red pepper and celery as thin as possible. Next, assemble salad by placing dressed kale in bowls. Top with sliced scallion, carrots, celery, red pepper and cucumber. Cut hardboiled eggs in half and arrange on top with vegetables and sliced avocado. Sprinkle sprouted hemp seeds over top with cracked black pepper and sea salt.

Dinner

Avocado and Egg with Kimchi and Rice

Serves 2.

Ingredients

1 cup short grain brown sushi rice

1 ¼ cup water

2 tbsp brown rice vinegar

1 tbsp organic brown rice mirin

1 jar kimchi, raw probiotic

2 pastured fresh eggs

1 tbsp avocado oil

1 avocado

1 small cucumber

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

6 sprigs cilantro

Maldon or any flaky sea salt, to taste

Cracked black pepper, to taste

Method

Bring rice and water, with a pinch of salt, to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes or until water is fully absorbed. Keep covered to continue steaming for an additional 10 minutes. Gently fold rice with vinegar and mirin and a pinch of salt. (Also, I like to add some liquid from kimchi container to give rice additional flavor.) Separate into two bowls. Cook eggs in avocado oil and season with salt and pepper. Top rice with a sunny side up egg. Then add kimchi, sliced avocado, sliced cucumber, cilantro sprigs and toasted sesame seeds.

+ What are some of your fave avocado/egg dishes?

Free People Blog

5 Ways Relaxation Will Make You More Creative

5 Ways Relaxation Will Make You More Creative

Your brain is able to generate more creative thoughts when you’re less anxious…so start doing a whole lot of chillin, now!

This post comes to you from contributor, Kate Mack

Wellness wasn’t always about spin classes or green smoothies. Creativity and the arts were strongly connected with the concept of wellness from the late 18th century to WWII. Great artists like Beethoven, Mozart, Nietzsche, Tolstoy and Proust spent long periods of time relaxing in the grand spas of their eras, and composed many famous works there.

Medical and neuroscience research shows that stress is the biggest obstacle to creative thinking. Alpha brain waves, which occur when your brain is in an idling state (daydreaming, practicing meditation, or aerobic exercise) fuels creativity. Spas, wellness programming, and artistic activities are all proven to expand our imaginative muscles. Your brain is able to generate more creative thoughts when you’re less anxious. So basically, by chilling out you’ll probably create a masterpiece.

Here are 5 ways to inspire your first requiem:

Attend a classical performance.

Or at the very least, incorporate some musical greats like Chopin, Debussy, or Philip Glass into your playlist. You’ll be amazed at how stimulated your mind becomes when you tune into the music.

Aromatherapy bathing.

Fill up your tub, light a candle, and take a bath. The combination of warm water and detoxifying salts, crystals or oils can lower your blood pressure and relieve anxiety, thus freeing up your mind to daydream. Try these with dried flowers for added botanical inspiration.

Knit something.

The repetitive action of needlework can induce a relaxed state, just like yoga or meditation. Except with knitting you get a cozy pair of socks when you finish.

Color!

Adult coloring books are trending for a reason — there’s something especially soothing when you put your focus into coloring between the lines. They’re also a good way to break the “creative ice” and tune into your inner Manet.

Read between the lines.

Find yourself a good ol’ fashioned book and dig into it instead of turning on the TV tonight. I find that reading before bed relaxes me (sometimes too much and I pass out), but choose something that relates to a passion or something you’re curious about. I’d suggest Material Girl, Mystical World if you want to tap into the meaning of life and keep it light. 😉

 

+Looking for more ways to jumpstart your creativity? Check out these articles here

Photo by Jana Kirn

Free People Blog

How to Layer Skin Care for Optimal Results

How to Layer Skin Care for Optimal Results

Because you want maximum benefits, right?

When you follow a recipe or a set of instructions, it’s pretty crucial that you do so in order, right? Step one comes before step two, which comes before step three, and so on. It would be kind of odd to jump from one to five to four to seven to two — that cake you’re baking would turn out super weird. And not that your face is a cake (though I definitely wouldn’t be mad if that were the case for like, a day), it does require specific, thoughtful care. You could be using the best products in the world but, if you’re applying them haphazardly, they’re not going to be nearly as effective. Though it may vary a bit depending on the person and the products, there are a few general rules of thumb when it comes to the order in which you should be applying skin care so it’s as effective as possible. It’s not like the stuff won’t work if it’s not applied in the exact same order every single day, but you want maximum benefits, right?

Since your skin does most of its regenerating and restoring at night, let’s start with how you should be approaching your nighttime skin care routine. Take notes!

Step 1: Makeup Remover 

Because, duh. Take that stuff off and let your skin breathe. By removing that layer of cosmetics, dirt, pollution and general daily buildup, you’re priming your skin for everything that comes after, making it the ideal canvas to soak up subsequent products. (Hint hint: This is the perfect time to employ the double cleanse!)

Step 2: Cleanser


If you’re double cleansing, this is where the “double” comes in. If you’re ignoring my sage advice, you’re technically still double cleansing so HA, joke is on you. But seriously, this is the most basic step you can take when it comes to your skin. Now is the time to use a gentle foaming cleanser, so lather up, don’t skimp on product, and gently massage into your face, neck and chest for 30-6o seconds.

Step 3: Spot treatment


This may be a controversial choice for the third step, but hear me out. Any super-targeted treatments should be applied to skin that’s as close to bare as possible (aka free of makeup and any other products) to maximize their benefits. Most acne treatments work by drying up excess oil and targeting bacteria, and if you apply one over serums and oils, it’ll have a hard time getting through to the blemish and will likely just dry up the expensive face oil you just applied, not the excess sebum you’d like to target.

Step 4: Mist


Feel free to skip this step if you’re a monster, but if not, treat your face to a spritz of facial mist. (Figure out which is the right one for your skin here.) Face mist may seem indulgent, but many of today’s mists are formulated in such a way that they treat your face to good-for-you botanicals along with extra hydration before you even start applying curative products. And since they leave your face a bit damp, whatever you layer on top will have water molecules to grab onto, letting it travel that much further into the skin.

Step 5: Serum


Think of serum like a skin multivitamin: a concentrated blend of things that are good for your skin, depositing them all in one go. Because they’re so active, you want them on clean skin that’s as free as possible of dead skin cell buildup so they have the best chance of penetrating. Go ahead and treat your face to some serum goodness by gently pressing the stuff into your skin. (No rubbing! Those active ingredients are delicate and need to be released into your skin as such. Rubbing isn’t bad, but pressing is better. Plus, gently pressing ensures the serum actually sinks into skin instead of just chilling on top of it.) If you’re using more than one serum — which is totally ok — just make sure to apply the thinnest one first and give each a few minutes to really sink into your skin before moving onto the next.

Step 6: Moisturizer


Now we’re into the heavier portion of the evening, which means you should really double check to make sure all your serums have been applied. If you accidentally moisturize before you serum, the ingredients in the latter will have a really hard time penetrating through the moisturizer layer and your skin won’t benefit nearly as much.

Step 7: Oil


If you’re extra dry or just like using face oil, now is the time to do so. Unlike the more delicate serum, oil can penetrate moisturizer to get down into the skin. (But, moisturizer can’t penetrate oil, so again, make sure you’re going in the right order.) Face oil is also the ultimate barrier and will securely lock everything you’ve applied before it into your skin so it can get to work all night long.

Step 8: Eye Cream + Lip Treatment


I know, I know: I told you to apply the lightest stuff first and work your way up to heaviest, but eye cream is the exception. Most of the other stuff on this list shouldn’t really go near your eyes anyway as that skin is very thin and a lot of serums, oils and moisturizers are too intense. In a perfect world, the area on which you apply eye cream will be free of anything else, but it’s ok if that’s not the case. Either way, eye cream is an important step every night as — like I said before — this skin is super-thin (meaning less collagen) and will age faster than other parts of your face. You’ll want to apply a very small amount and do so very gently (I like using my ring finger to gently tap it on because my ring finger is weak and I don’t have to worry about my brute strength coming through and ruining the skin around my eyes). And of course, your lips are skin, too; don’t skimp on the moisture there either.

CAVEAT!


If you have super sensitive skin, try swapping steps 5 and 6: moisturizer, then serum. For very reactive skin, serums can be too potent if applied to bare skin. Applying them over a moisturizer will dampen the effect and hopefully reduce irritation. And maybe skip the oil, too, if you’re worried. You can always start with a very tiny drop, gently pressed into skin over everything else and work your way up to an amount that works with your skin.

+ Looking to show some more love to your skin? Shop all beauty here

Free People Blog

Your Next Dinner Party, Digital-Free

Your Next Dinner Party, Digital-Free

How often do you sit at a table with at least 1 person on a phone? Dinner with friends suddenly becomes dinner with…yourself…

This post comes to you from contributor, Kate Mack

Ok, people. We’re all aware that phones and digital devices are an integral part of our daily lives: wake up, reach for phone, begin a swiping frenzy that continues until lights out that night. Our attention spans are pretty threadbare, and in order to nourish your mental health, you should check yourself and your digital intake.

How often do you sit at a table and at least one person has his/her phone out? Once one phone is out, there seems to be this magnetic pull that causes everyone else to slowly and surely light up their screen. Dinner with friends becomes dinner with…yourself.

So, I am tasking you with putting together a digital-free dinner with your loved ones. Once a month, you will mark your calendar and prepare your friends for an evening of fun, food and connection (all made possible by disconnecting)!

5 Steps To Follow For Your Digital-Free Dinner

Prepare + beware: Some people may go through detachment anxiety, but you can get ahead of that if you plan the night out. Have some ideas for activities, dinner conversation points, and a meal that is ideally hands-on, so there is less down time for people to panic about what’s happening in the outside world.

Lay out the digital ground rules: I think that ripping off the band-aid is the most efficient way to handle this. When your guests arrive, open the door with an enthusiastic attitude and an explanation about why they will need to put their phones into the chosen receptacle you are holding in your hand. Everyone’s phones should be put together safely, out of their line of vision to avoid a people’s revolt.

Have an interactive meal: No, I’m not referring to VR. Choose a meal that everyone can get involved in to keep them busy and engaged. Either Include your guests in the prep work or have it ready for assembly upon arrival, with options like sushi rolls or healthy bowls. Here’s a take on a rice bowl/salad — a great, light summertime meal.

Activate your mind + body: Kick it old school and bring out the games! Board games, card games, tarot cards or even putting on a killer playlist to dance to will ramp up the energy in the room and keep everyone engaged.

The Takeaway: When your guests finally drag themselves to the door, euphoric from a night of food and laughter, hand them back their phones with a little gift that reminds them what it feels like to take some digital downtime. A journal, a book of crosswords, a puzzle, an adult coloring book — preferably something without an on/off switch.

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