Friday, November 18th

A Healthy Interlude

Our calendar has us going through waves of health. New Year’s resolutions, bathing suit body prep for summer, Lent…if that’s your thing. But any expert will tell you that this method of binging or “rewarding” ourselves, followed by a period of denial frames healthy eating as a punishment. Shouldn’t we feel rewarded when we nourish our bodies with healthy food and exercise, not when we eat the junk that makes us feel bad? I realize many do feel that way, but I myself am working on that.

In my continual quest to live a better life, I’m really trying to focus on a diet that’s mostly plant based. And I’m trying to diversify the fruits and veggies I eat. In September I did the Standard Process Purification Program, a 3-week cleanse that allows your body to reset by eating almost nothing but raw fruits and veggies. That means cutting our sugar, grains, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, and anything processed. Yes, it’s hard. But once the caffeine withdrawal subsides you get to just feel good and drink smoothies, eat salads (or more creative recipes) and down lots of water. I slept better, felt less congested, and happier. I craved almond and peanut butter and later, cheese. And always, coffee.

So the cleanse showed me that I could live without sugar and grains if I want to, or at the very least, cut back. I don’t think I’d willingly give up yogurt or eggs completely, and certainly not coffee. But none of these things are my problem.

It was tougher to eat out on the cleanse, although with a little planning I could skim the menu and find what worked for me. Roasted vegetables with a side of guacamole were key! Of course, Austin has plenty of restaurants that cater to a healthy lifestyle. I attended a media event at Blenders & Bowls during the cleanse and while consuming a few nuts and some quinoa were technically cheating on my cleanse, it was well worth it.

I’m starting to frame the idea of eating out in a new light. Refueling my body doesn’t always need to take the form of an entire meal. Small, nutrient-dense bites (like the superfood snacks above) would be enough to sustain me through a busy afternoon of running errands and chasing Violet. Made with goji berry, coconut, cashew, and dates, these were rich and decadent.

Kale and Quinoa Salads at Blenders and Bowls

Photo by Dos Mundos Creative

I make a lot of salads at home and am always looking for salad inspiration. Blenders and Bowls shared their new Kale Caesar Salad and Quinoa Salad with us and both were flavorful and packed with big flavors. The big takeaway for me was that I should be making salads in advance and give my flavors time to marry. I’m always throwing my salads together at the last minute, but am going to make a conscious effort to build a little more time into my meals.

The Fall Bowl at Blenders and Bowls

Photo by Dos Mundos Creative

And I’m going to reveal my basic-ness here and share how much I love pumpkin flavored things. Hands down, my favorite favorite pumpkin dish this fall was the Pumpkin Bowl, above. A silky puree of organic pumpkin, acai, banana, vanilla bean and cinnamon was topped with hemp granola, apples, dates, walnuts, strawberries, and local honey. I could eat this every single day for the rest of my life. It was so hearty and left me feeling full and satisfied, but not stuffed.

I started following Instagram accounts that feature bowls. Looking at the vibrant rainbows and endless creative combinations are almost as good as tasting them.

As I make strides on my journey to better health, I’ll make blog updates on my incremental lifestyle changes. Austin is lucky to have places like Blenders & Bowls that not only promote healthy living, but help us do it so well.

If you haven’t tried Blenders & Bowls, give them a shot! And then report back and let me know what you loved.

Blenders & Bowls

206 East 4th St, Austin, TX 78701

3736 Bee Caves Rd #8, West Lake Hills, TX 78746

Monday, December 14th

Prevention R3 Summit at Moody Theater: TICKET GIVEAWAY!

Having gone to the Prevention R3 Summit when they were last here in 2014, I was so happy to hear they are returning next month. It’s a new time of year and a new venue, but we can expect the same quality of programming and fun from the great people from Rodale. I’m excited about the changes!

Prevention R3 Summit logo

January 15th and 16th will be two days of reviving, refreshing, and reinventing with speakers talking about everything from nutrition and exercise, to sexual health and meditation. I’ll be attending again as an invited guest and hope to see you there.

Some of what you can expect to see this year:

  • Keynote speaker Joan Lunden will talk about how her healthy lifestyle helped her navigate a successful career in the public eye, through breast cancer, and beyond.
  • Headliners Dr. Travis Stork and Dr. Jennifer Ashton (The Doctors) will provide the roadmap to your healthiest year ever.
  • Motivational speaker Lizzie Velasquez (A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story) with share her uplifting story.
  • Chef Chad Sarno (former head chef of Whole Foods) will demonstrate how to achieve your health goals starting in the kitchen.
  • Larysa DiDio (celebrity personal trainer) will lead a Fit 10 workshop. Wear your workout gear, ladies!
  • And there’s lots more including beauty consultations, yummy things to eat, natural wellness workshops, and all while bonding with a sisterhood who have their own personal health on the brain.

Tickets are available here and you can use code R3BLOG for $20 off a weekend pass.

*One lucky reader will win a free pair tickets simply by sharing this post and leaving a comment below telling me one thing you’ve incorporated into your lifestyle to make your own health a priority.

Thursday, July 30th

The Natural Beauty Solution

I confess, I’m a beauty product junkie. I never met a lotion, lipgloss, or cleanser that I didn’t love. I’ve amassed an enormous collection of products and samples over the years. I’ll go through phases of trying new things and just trying to put a dent in my stash, but more often than not I defer to my favorites. And my favorites tend to be simple, a gentle face wash, lip balms from Whole Foods, clean astringents, and unscented washes and sunscreens. I guess the moral of the story is simpler is better.

The Natural Beauty Solution by Mary Helen Leonard

It’s so hot in Austin right now that makeup and hair have to be minimal and with a baby on the way, I’m looking to simplify my routine even more. Nothing looks more youthful than a healthy glow and the best way to achieve that is to use ingredients from the earth.

Enter The Natural Beauty Solution, a brand new book from author and blogger Mary Helen Leonard. The book aims to help readers “break free from commercial beauty products using simple recipes and natural ingredients.” Broken down into face, body, and hair, there’s also a guide on stocking your pantry with ingredients. For a total newbie like me, it’s especially helpful to have tips on techniques and the important differences between organic, food grade, cosmetic grade, and industrial grade ingredients.

The book is a visual dream with lush photos of fresh salts, nuts, bright fruits, and creamy emollients that will make you want to create every single recipe. My own beauty needs drove me straight into the arms of a brightening, freshening, exfoliating alfa hydroxy facial.

Alpha Hydroxy Facial from The Natural Beauty Solution by Mary Helen Leonard

My facial therapies of choice always tend toward the acidic and what better way to get the benefits of alpha hydroxy and lactic acids than through organic berries and yogurt? Add in the detoxifying properties of kaolin clay and you’ve got a luxurious mask that’s only a step away from breakfast.

I like that so many of these recipes are just slight variations of what we put in our bodies. We focus so much on promoting health through diet and nutrition, why should the outside of our bodies be any different?

Coconut Milk Wash from The Natural Beauty Solution by Mary Helen Leonard

I’ll continue to work my way through the recipes, saving the final frontier—the hair—for last. Mary Helen documented her own “no-poo” journey years ago and has reaped the benefits. She admits to an adjustment period and I’m sure my own curls and tangles will be quite the challenge for a while. So I’ll wait till the time is right to tackle that last hurdle on my head.

Don’t miss out on this incredibly beautiful and well-written book. You can order right from Mary Helen’s shop or from Amazon. And follow The Natural Beauty Solution on Instagram for book news and beautiful photos from fans around the world.

Wednesday, October 29th

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Disclosure: I attended the R3 Prevention Summit as an invited guest. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this post. 

Prevention R3 Summit logo


It’s been a little over a week since I went to the Prevention R3 Summit. And like the theme suggested, I feel refreshed, revived, and reinvented.

Resistance the Film

The summit started off with a movie and panel discussion. After a sunset cocktail party full of excited mingling, we headed into the Long Center to watch Resistance, a sobering documentary on the overuse of antibiotics, our growing resistance, and the disastrous effects that result from the loss of their effectiveness. As expected, the film was depressing and scary. But I left feeling empowered, vowing to  do my part. I will only buy antibiotic-free meat and get rid of the antibacterial soaps and products I use, as well as give my body the chance to recover on its own from illness before seeking medical intervention. I encourage you to seek out this movie and watch it when you have a chance.

The following day, my mom and I woke up bright and early to head to the summit. If we’d realized the whole thing was going to be outdoors we’d have dressed for the 90+ temperatures and worn sun shielding hats. I have a good sunscreen regimen and wear it daily, but my morning application was not sufficient for the long hours in the sun. Sunburn aside, it was a great day of interesting panels and things to do.


I might be obsessed with henna now. The talented artists whipped out intricate designs at lightning speed and everyone showed off their decorated limbs like peacocks. We sampled drinks and bites, scents and beauty products, and learned a few new workout moves, too. It was a full day of enjoyment and information.

Salada Tea

Applegate Hotdog

Where the conference really dazzled was the programming. Personal favorites were the Love Your Age panel with Andie MacDowell, Mallika Chopra, Annabelle Gurwitch, and Dr. Holly Phillips, as well as a one-on-one interview with Andie MacDowell. I attended a workshop with Mallika Chopra to learn a few breathing exercises which I’ve already utilized a few times since. Turns out a few deep, controlled breaths truly make a difference in moments of stress. Even for a spaz like me.

Love Your Age Panel at Prevention R3 Summit

Annabelle Gurwitch at Prevention R3 Summit

For me, the biggest takeaway from the conference was realizing the small changes I can make to improve my health and well-being. I don’t need to overhaul my whole life, but tiny shifts can make a real difference.

Thank you Prevention Magazine and Rodale for including me in such a special weekend. Hope to see you back in Austin next year!

Tuesday, September 30th

Prevention R3 Summit: You’re Invited!

I have a long history with Prevention. My mom had a subscription forever and between her magazines and my Reader’s Digest, we always had small rectangles to stick in our beach bags. I don’t remember a time in my life where those Preventions weren’t in the house; my mom still reads it regularly and after decades, it’s just as good. When my best friend got a job with the publisher, Rodale, in the cookbook division, we devoured even more content from the healthy living outfit. I’ve been a fan of the company and their offerings for most of my life.

So I was happy to hear the R3 Summit was coming back to Austin for a second year. (The three R’s? Revive, Refresh, Reinvent.) I was out of town last year and missed it, but this year I’ll be there with bells on to see people like Andie MacDowell, Chris Freytag, and Mallika Chopra talk about health, diet, exercise, and wellness at the Long Center. On October 17th-18th, we’ll be getting tips on how to cook healthier, work out more effectively, and talk beauty, inside and out.

I’m particularly interested in the screening of Resistance, a documentary about antibiotics, our increasing resistance and the resulting superbugs that pose a huge threat. Scary stuff, but I think we need to talk about it.

Last week I met some of the Prevention staff who are working on the conference and I am so thrilled that Austin is the chosen city for this event. Over a lovely dinner at Eden East we talked about how our city is so passionate about living well. I love living in a place that’s known for not only spectacular food but also an exercise-happy culture and lots of outdoor spaces.

Eden East, Austin Texas

Guests will also enjoy lots of healthy eats, get their chakras cleaned, take a Barre3 class, have guided meditations, have face and tongue readings, and more. There’s tons a stuff to do, so we’ll each have the opportunity to make the day our own, whether we want to participate in more traditional wellness activities or explore the ideas that might be a little foreign to us. I’ve never had my chakras cleaned, so mine are probably filthy.

You can buy tickets and learn more about the R3 Summit here. Use code R3VIB to get $20 off your ticket!

R3VIB for $20 off!

Friday, September 12th

Training for a 5K

Race day is tomorrow! I’m certainly not in it to win it. I merely want to survive the heat and cross the finish line. I couldn’t bring myself to train outdoors, so my running and walking have been confined to a treadmill in a freezing air conditioned room.

I’ve spent the last few weeks jogging a few times a week, increasing my running time and stamina. I can run about three times longer than when I started. I realize all bets are off when I take this show outside, so I’m not going to put the pressure of a time goal on myself. The important thing is that the training got me in a place where I’m exercising more and on some days I even looked forward to it. I don’t think I’m ever going to be a real runner or experience that “runner’s high.” I’ll just have to get high the traditional way…heroin.

I treated myself to some new workout gear and the Fit Foodie 5K organizers and sponsors have generously been sending some swag to the ambassadors every few days. So I got the look, I got the loot, and what else do I need? The music. Here’s the most playlist I’ll be using. Click on the songs to hear for yourself.

Wish me luck! Follow along with me and my fellow ambassadors by following the hashtags #FitFoodieRun and #TweetYour Feet. And leave me a comment and tell me about the most recent goal you’ve been working toward. It’ll help inspire me when I’m sweating and panting in the sun tomorrow. 🙂

Thursday, August 21st

Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend

Even at my most fit, I’ve never been a runner. I’ve always been intimidated by the prospect of a long stretch of road (or time) with just me and my sneakers on the pavement. Unlike a spin class, which is my preferred cardio, there’s no routine, no one to push you on, no air conditioning.

And yet, I signed on as an ambassador for the Fit Foodie 5K which is a race and also a whole weekend of events. Why?

Because I need a challenge.

And because I’m NOT at my most fit.

And because I’d like to be someone who runs, if not obsessively, at least sometimes.

And because 10% goes to City of Hope.

The reasons to do it far outweigh the reasons to stay home. So I’m doing this.

Fit Foodie Race Weekend Austin

But this is so much more than a race. The theme is Calories Burned, Calories Earned, which means that there are some delicious elements to the weekend, too. (How very Austin, right? Exercise and food? If they incorporate some dogs, a live band, and a new online social platform, they’ve nailed the city. Oh, and hipster mustaches. Can’t forget those.)

In addition to the Saturday morning race, there’s a VIP Party Friday night, a post-race chef experience, and brunch, yoga and bootcamp with an obstacle course on Sunday. You can go to one or all. And the code MADBETTY will get you 10% off. Buy tickets or learn more here and get updates and news on Facebook.

My goal for the race is simply to run for as much of it as I can. I won’t be the fastest. I might even be the slowest. But I will finish. And I’ll be running for the next few weeks to prepare and using the hashtag #TweetYourFeet. Should you decide to join me, use the hashtag so I can cheer you on!


What’s going to keep me inspired?

  1. The Finisher’s Village with chef tastings and demos, giveaways, and Alison Sweeney, Biggest Loser host and author, signing her book for fans.
  2. Mr. Betty. He’s an avid runner and fellow race ambassador, so I’ll have a buddy on race day as well as a training partner.
  3. I have a bunch of friends who are also participating in the race including Mary Makes Dinner, Stetted, and A Time to Kale.
  4. My playlist! I’m putting together a motivating selection of songs to keep me pumped for 3.1 miles.

I’d love to see you on race weekend! And my question for you: Have you done anything lately that’s pushed you out of your comfort zone? Leave me a comment!

Disclosure: I received free entry to the Fit Foodie 5k Race Weekend but was not compensated for this post or any further social media sharing. And the running? That’s all me, baby.

Wednesday, May 21st

A Better Workout: RELAYS Giveaway

I’ve been hitting the gym a lot lately. I like to hide out in the dark bike studio and hold my own private spin class during off hours. Why do I ride on my own? Because I’ve been to enough classes to have developed my own tough routine and frankly, I want my own music. The teachers at my gym tend towards either techno or Kenny Logins. I mean…just…no.

Lately my workouts have been improved by my earbuds. Sol Republic sent me a pair of RELAYS to try out and you guys, they are fantastic. They are specifically made for working out and they don’t fall out. No matter what you do, those suckers stay in!

Sol Republic RELAYS


You can sweat like crazy, lay on the floor for crunches or stretching, or shake your head around. They’ll stay in. And the sound quality is tight, too. They retail for about $80, so these are premium in-ear headphones that will last. Also useful when you’re not working out, the three-button operation gives you control over your music, the mic, and your phone. They come with four cushions so you can customize the fit that’s best for you. (I use the second-smallest cushions.) You pull the back of your ear a bit, gently insert it until it feels comfortably secure and go about your business.

Sol Republic RELAYS


So how can you win a pair? Just leave me a comment and tell me one workout song that gets you pumped. I’ll randomly draw a name on June 4th. (Like Sol Republic and Mad Betty on Facebook for extra chances to win!)

*I received a free pair of RELAYS for review purposes, but I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 16th

The Spa Buzz

The Spa Buzz is a company focused on the professional growth and networking of spa professionals and they throw events all around the country. While I’m not a spa professional, I was thrilled to be invited to their recent Austin event, where I’d learn about the newest, cutting edge products and maybe even get to sample a few myself.

The day started with mingling over breakfast while we each built a personal schedule of mini appointments with the vendors. Now, I’ve had my share of massages and facials, but I’m no expert. So I scanned the list and picked a few things that were completely foreign to me.


The most foreign was NuFACE, who makes a handheld device that delivers a microcurrent to lift and tighten the face. They slathered my face with gel and spent about five minutes working on the half of my face. It didn’t hurt at all, but I was aware of an electrical sensation and my face reddened and felt warm. When I compared the two sides of my face, indeed, the treated side looked revitalized and lifted. They went ahead and did the other side of my face so I wasn’t uneven, and I learned that they suggest you use it five times a week for 90 days, and then occasionally as needed. At $350, it’ll be a little while before I pick one up, but…yes. I want this.

Spa Ritual

I was also really impressed with Spa Ritual, whose philosophy of “slow beauty” is about feeling good in your skin at any age. The vegan line has some of the most fun nail polish colors I’ve ever seen and I was lucky enough to get to take a few home. The coolest one is Lighthouse Top Effect, which turns any manicure glow in the dark. It charges all day and glows all night. It is incredibly bright! I also took home some Chinese Jasmine lotion and bath salts.

Lira Clinical

I had a full facial and light peel with Lira Clinical products. Ah, it was so relaxing and I walked away glowing. The extensive brand has lines for all global skin types and complete customization. Whatever the problem is, they have a fix. I love retinols, vitamin C, and good protection. I took home a plant stem cell physical sunscreen that I’m pretty psyched to try, as well as a body scrub and silk soufflé.

I picked up a trend forecast from Spafinder and was excited to see natural brands taking advantage of apps/social media and hot springs making a comeback. Spas are looking to branch out into the transition markets to help people going through divorce, job loss, even death. I’m on board with the idea of some pampering to get through life’s rough times.

Some other brands I learned about:

MedSkin Solutions. The scientific brand makes high quality eye masks that provide immediate, visible results. I wore one for about 20 minutes and I looked refreshed and brighter. I’d love a stash of these for when I’m tired.

Cosmedix. Another science-backed line, I tried some serums and reparative eye creams. They have a deep background in corrective products and sell convenient kits indicated for a variety of concerns.

B. Kamins. The Canadian brand uses a Bio-Maple compound derived, in part, from actual maple trees. The high quality products are gentle and packaged more for the consumer eye, ie, less clinical than other lines.

PINO. I took home an Orange Lemongrass massage candle and the smell is bold and invigorating. The full line of spa products have the best scents and are natural and luxurious.

I’ll be counting down the days till my next spa encounter. And now that I’m better informed, I can try new things and stay on trend with the latest and best services.

Thursday, April 25th

Under the Influence

I am crazy about whitening my teeth. For a good portion of the year you’ll find me lisping my way through whitening strips. So when Influenster approached me with a Vox Box that included whitening products I did cartwheels all over my living room.

Betsey Johnson

Influenster sends new products to trendsetters to try out. They encourage people to Tweet and Instagram their thoughts, generating a little buzz for these new products. I’m choosing to blog about it.

Influenster Vox Box

There wasn’t just teeth whitening stuff in my package. It was a whole bunch of goodies.

Influenster Vox Box

That’s a pretty awesome thing to get in the mail, right? So here’s my quick impressions of the contents.

Influenster Vox Box

  • Colgate Optic White Toothpaste, Mouthwash and Toothbrush. I can definitely see the whitening effects. The taste of both the paste and mouthwash are fine, not overly strong. The toothbrush is of good quality and I imagine most people would love it. I’m an electric toothbrush user, so these old-fashioned manual brushes never leave me feeling quite as polished.
  • Nectresse sweetener. Very pleasant. It’s made from monk fruit and has a light, pleasant taste. Not overly sweet. I normally use half a packet of stevia in my coffee, so this is not much different.
  • Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer. I was unsure of this one. Lotion that you spray on? Turns out it was my favorite thing in the box. I will happily use up this can. I don’t know if I’ll buy it again, but it’s pretty convenient. That commercial where the girl sprays it on and gets dressed in ten seconds? Accurate.
  • Dickinson’s Oil Controlling Towelettes. These are large sheets soaked in witch hazel. When I say large, I mean you could share one with three other people. They are HUGE. I think these will come in handy this summer. Like a mini-shower. Frankly, everyone in Texas should buy these because as soon as it gets hot out, y’all stink.
  • BelVita Breakfast Biscuits. Somewhere between a cookie and a granola bar. Very tasty. Mr. Betty wants more!