The feeling of truly caring for ourselves gives us an unmatched feeling of accomplishment. A sustainable ritual is one that will nurture your soul each and every day.
I’m a huge fan of simple rituals, because they bring simple joy into our lives. Self-care rituals are a wonderful way to infuse more joy into your every day. Here are a few you can practice with ease:
Tea time Put on the kettle, steep your favorite tea and savor it. Try it in the morning for a nice start to the day. Or have some before you start dinner. This mid-afternoon pause serves as a great reset button – a chance to gather your thoughts, breathe deeply and prepare for the coming evening and bedtime routines. Here’s the recipe for the tea I make myselfevery single morning. Gua Sha Facial “Gua shais a process in which a tool is scraped against the skin to the point that it creates mild bruising,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, Director of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “The goal of the treatment is to enhance blood flow to the skin.” Gua sha is best done after both cleansing the face and applying a facial oil. Hold the gua sha toolwith the curved side to your face and glide it gently up and out, starting with the neck, jawline, chin, and around the mouth, between three and five times per area. Then sweep across cheeks and gently glide under the eyes, across your eyebrows and from your forehead up to your hairline. By applying an organic serum and then dragging the gua sha crystal along your face in broad even strokes from the neck up, you’ll see a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles and notice a more firm complexion. What’s more, you can scrape and go with smoother, brighter, and younger-looking skin almost instantly — it maybe it takes five minutes to treat your whole face — without leaving home.
Multi-Masking Multi-masking refers to the layering of more than one facial mask, or applying different masks to different parts of the face at the same time. Because your skin’s needs may vary on different areas of your face and neck—or maybe you want to address more than one skin issue—this method allows you to manage each one. Depending on your specific skin type or your goals, I recommend these masks:
You can always combine them and multi-mask if your skincare concerns are mixed. Follow the instructions on each for the best application method. Lymphatic Massage Lymphatic massage of the breasts is an essential tool to have in your holistic arsenal, as it supports and heals breast tissue, preventing toxic build-up and helping to clear toxins from the breasts. This act of self-love is innately soothing and healing, and encourages the body to emit anti-aging hormones such as prolactin, oxytocin, and estrogen. As an additional bonus, regular breast massage promotes perky, full breasts and prevents sagging as it tightens and tones the tendons and muscles of the breasts.
Did you guy see that I color coordinated my bookshelf this week? Shared it on my IG stories. Yeah, that lockdown life. But honestly, this is a perfect time to catch up on all those books you’ve been putting off. Not sure where to start or need new recommendations?
The art of breast massage has been practiced for thousands of years and is an important aspect of self-care, wellness, and healing. Breasts are generally associated with sexuality and breastfeeding. Beyond this, breasts are an instantly recognizable symbol of femininity and a vital part of our beings.
Because they’re made up mainly of fatty tissue (along with nerves, veins, arteries, and connective tissue), breasts can also be the site of toxin collection and storage. We’re exposed to many daily environmental pollutants, in our foods (via pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers), the air we breathe, our water supply, medications and vaccines, household cleaning products, beauty and personal care products, plastics, and more. These toxins tend to accumulate in our bodies in fatty tissue, which could partially explain why breast cancer is sadly so prevalent today.
Breast massage is an essential tool to have in your holistic arsenal, as it supports and heals breast tissue, preventing toxic build-up and helping to clear toxins from the breasts. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, breast massage increases circulation and the healthy flow of blood and “qi”, or energy, through the body. This stimulation can serve to break up stagnation and to keep the breasts healthy. In Western medicine, breast massage is acknowledged as helping to promote lymphatic flow and drainage.
This act of self-love is innately soothing and healing, and encourages the body to emit anti-aging hormones such as prolactin, oxytocin, and estrogen. Furthermore, it helps us to be in touch our bodies, so that we will more readily notice changes and if anything is off. There are also many acupressure points around the breasts, so massaging them can stimulate other organs including the kidney, spleen, stomach, and liver.
As an additional bonus, regular breast massage promotes perky, full breasts and prevents sagging as it tightens and tones the tendons and muscles of the breasts.
Every woman can practice self-massage of the breasts – there are so many incredible benefits!
Benefits of Breast Massage:
Our lymphatic system is responsible for supporting our immune system, ridding the body of toxins and waste build-up. When the system is overrun, it can become sluggish or even blocked, preventing the elimination of these toxins. The breasts are a significant location for our lymphatic system, and through breast massage, we can stimulate the drainage and proper functioning of lymph. Breast engorgement, in particular, is associated with sluggish lymph nodes as well as fluid build-up and can be relieved through massage.
If there’s an infection present, such as a plugged milk duct or mastitis, massage can be an effective treatment in clearing the infection. This can be especially beneficial when done with the right oil (more info on this below!).
Mild depression and stress are linked to low oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is released during breastfeeding, childbirth, and sex, which contributes to feelings of happiness, euphoria, and connection after these events. Breast massage and stimulation also promotes the secretion of oxytocin and can have positive impacts on both instant and long-term mental health, stress reduction, and overall wellbeing.
Reducing Breast Pain/Cysts/Fibrocystic Breasts
Breast massage can be used as a tool to relieve pain and diminish breast cysts. Although often not cancerous or immediately harmful, breast cysts are a sign that there’s an imbalance in the body that should be addressed. They can occur as a single cyst or multiple cysts, and are small sacs filled with fluid, air, or organic debris that can cause pain and discomfort. They sometimes are more prevalent and painful during the ovulation or menstrual cycle, and disappear once your menses has finished. Breast massage can help to break down the tissue holding the cysts together and to dissolve the lumps.
Breast Cancer Prevention and Pain Management
Breast cancer can occur when healthy cells mutate into abnormal cells and develop into cancerous growths. The use of breast massage as a preventative measure works by stimulating abnormal cells’ activity back into their healthy state. This can potentially reduce the possibility of cancerous growth. Massage also stimulates the production of serotonin, dopamine, lymphocytes, and NK cells, which actively decrease cortisol levels (our stress hormone) and help to fight cancerous cells. Massage can also be an effective treatment for pain management and postoperative edema and healing. This is closely tied to the lymphatic system. Often the system is compromised during any surgery associated with breast cancer treatment, but through massage, we can help to support its function and increase the release of toxins. Breast massage is also a gentle, nurturing, and relaxing treatment, which can be one of the most important aspects of cancer care.
Breast Tissue Care
Breast massage stimulates new cell production and maintains the health of breast tissue. This form of self-care decreases sagging associated with breastfeeding and age. Because prolactin is released and circulation is increased, breast massage can also help to increase breast size.
The right breast massage, when done with the right breast oil, can enhance and plump your breasts. Genetix Activated Enhancement Oil is an organic treatment that naturally plumps and enlarges breasts with a combination of herbs and oils that support feminine health. Here are some impressive before/after’s of women who’ve used the oil:
A popular member of the mint family, sage is an aromatic herb that has long been used in traditional medicine to treat viral infections. Sage is also known to help ease congestion and respiratory issues and is often used in homemade remedies to help with cold and flu symptoms.
The antiviral properties of sage are mostly attributed to compounds called safficinolide and sage one, which are found in the leaves and stem of the plant.
In one study, sage extract significantly inhibited HIV activity by preventing the virus from entering target cells.
Fennel is a licorice-flavored plant that may fight certain viruses.
A test-tube study showed that fennel extract exhibited strong antiviral effects against parainfluenza. Fennel may also boost your immune system and decrease inflammation, which may likewise help combat viral infections.
Peppermint is known to have powerful antiviral qualities and commonly added to teas, extracts, and tinctures meant to naturally treat viral infections.
Its leaves and essential oilscontain active components, including menthol and rosmarinic acid, which have antiviral and anti-inflammatory activity. In a test-tube study, peppermint exhibited potent antiviral activity against respiratory syncytial virus and significantly decreased levels of inflammatory compounds.
Anyway, my body has not been exposed to the cold in a long while. Like, literally since 2018, I have not traveled somewhere cold. I did cold for a long time though because I grew up in New York and then I went to college in Vermont and then for some reason I did a field work term in Boston from December-February when I could have gone anywhere in the world (I guess because I’m a glutton for punishment), so trust me, I’ve done the whole -302596 below zero thing. I am familiar with the routine it takes to keep your skin in shape. I’ve done this self-care thing a time or two before, I swear.
My skin has now been exposed to two veryyyy cold climates in just a few weeks.
And my dry, acne-prone, combination skin would not have been happy at all if I had not pre-thought out my daily skincare routine. By now, I have it down to a science.
Here’s what I did to not turn into one big dry spot!
The reason that most conventional treatments for acne and skin issues don’t work is that they fail to treat the real issue: your insides. Steroids, anti-biotics and even heavy duty prescription medications skip over the one thing that truly does need to change and for your new, clear skin to stick: Your body needs to be in balance.
Supplements are a must. I don’t know how anyone’s skin does anything without supplements, I’m not even kidding. I’m pretty sure I would look like an 98 year old grandma with teenage acne if I hadn’t found the right supplements for my skin. And you think that’s an exaggeration but it’s absolutely not.
Here’s the ones I absolutely recommend for skincare maintenance:
Extra Strength DIM – You guys know DIM is my go-to for curing my acne. Every women should be taking this. This estrogen regular supplement is a life saver no matter whats going on with your skin. It helps to bring estrogen levels back in line, therefore naturally increasing your energy levels. Balanced hormone levels from DIM can lead to reduced acne, PMS, PMDD, hot flashes, night sweats and PCOS while increasing your drive and energy. I take 3 per day of this brand, which I’ve found to be the best.
Bioastrin – Astaxanthin is a carotenoid pigment that occurs in trout, microalgae, yeast, and shrimp, among other sea creatures, that gives them their vibrant color. This supplement gives you a glow. An antioxidant, it’s been linked to healthier skin, endurance, heart health, joint pain, and may even have a future in cancer treatment.
Biotin gummies – Been taking these for hair growth every morning. They’re great!
What it does: Exfoliation removes dead, dulling skin debris to prevent congestion and improve hydration from toners and moisturizers.
When: Perform in the mornings prior to toner, moisturizer, SPF and make-up application. Tip: Make-up will last longer on exfoliated skin!
What It Does: Keeps skin moist and supple to ward off aging, sun spots and wrinkles.
How: Up your regimen’s level of hydration with intensive serums, perfect for use all day long or as needed. They work best when layered underneath a moisturizing SPF. Toners are a refreshing pore pick me up, working to even out your skin’s complexion.
Faves: The Essential Care Kit by Genetix is a must-have. This organic trio is amazing for anything from sensitive to acne prone to mature skin! Thayer’s makes my favorite toner.
Slathering on a luxurious body oil every day after you shower keeps skin moist to ward off dry skin, cellulite and wrinkles.
HOW: Pat your skin dry after your shower. This can prevent you from stripping natural oils that moisturize your skin. Get optimal amounts of moisture without oversaturating your skin by determining the best product for your face and body. I recommend the full sizes of Genetix serums, which are scent free and essential oil free. Slather these luxe serums all over your body from neck to toe. I also did my breast massage every night with my Activated Enhancement Oil. Hubby couldn’t be happier 😉
2009 – I was a secretary at a law firm. 23 year old me became a dog mom to Raelie. I was stuck in an abusive relationship with someone who tried to kill me and I saw no way out. I was drinking a lot to numb my pain and was on around 8-10 Rx drugs this year.
2010 – I worked at Cornell in NYC, analyzing sperm samples for their fertility department. It’s even less glam than it sounds. I was on 12 Rx drugs when this photo was taken. Was surviving on food stamps and Ensure’s that were prescribed to me that I drank as meals.
2011 – My best friend took her own life. I attempted suicide two months later. When it didn’t work, I got to the root of the problem and came off all my Rx drugs. Dropped out of college. Quit my last 9-5 job at a lab analyzing asbestos samples. Ended my abusive relationship and in October I road-tripped to Los Angeles with $300 to my name and a big dream. Started my blog, sharing about my Rx withdrawal and all the herbal remedies I was finding that were replacing the drugs I used to be on. I was throwing up 10-15 times a day, all day long. Was featured in a music video during the Occupy Wall Street march. You should watch it sometime. It’s still good.
2012 – got signed to a modeling agency. I had a residency at House of Blues LA where I played with my band every wednesday. Truly happy for the first time ever, even tho at any given time I only had a few hundred bucks in my bank account. I made most of my money working for a dispensary (weed shop) down the block from where I lived.
2013 – I traveled a lot. London, Amsterdam, Paris, Venice, Milan, Miami, NY. It was mostly for work, and I’d always end up spending whatever money I made while I was there on things like food (I mean who can say no to grabbing a delicious gelato outside of the Duomo?) I was constantly on the move, still going through bad Rx withdrawal but living my life the best way I knew how. Moved into my first house in LA. Did my first music video for my song Visual Exchange.
2014 – Dad passed away from cancer. I’ve never been so broken or so sad. I shut down my blog temporarily and on the 6 month post-funeral journey home to NY, got an email from my publishing company, asking if I’d ever thought about writing a book. From that conversation, Cured by Nature was born. Moved to San Diego.
2015- I finished my manuscript by January 1, 2015. Every day was spent working together with my editors to make the book perfect. I was able to both write the book and survive by working on a movie with Seth Macfarlane with a lot of time off set. Still barely making any $ but doing whatever I could, including tons of music videos with artists like Snoop Dogg, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, The Arctic Monkeys and more. Finally got off food stamps, which I’d been on since I was 18 years old.
2016 – Cured by Nature was published and my life was forever changed. I thought maybe my friends and family might read it. Maybe. Instead, every day I got DMs and emails from people, telling me how the book was changing their lives. News outlets took notice. That’s when I knew that I needed to keep sharing my story. I became a dog mom to Ruca. Got engaged. Started Genetix. This was the year I decided that I wanted a job in which I didn’t have to “show up made up” every day and could work from home.
2017 – got a literary agent and my book deal for WILD Habits. Spent the year working on this book. Ended my engagement. Finally started making some $ through my own endeavors, instead of working for someone else. It happened pretty rapidly that I started modeling/acting less and less and working on my blog and Genetix more and more.
2018 – WILD Habits was published in February. I went on book tour. Hired two assistants. Got serious about Genetix. Had fun as a single lady. Traveled on my book tour. Was pretty happy with the idea of never getting married and just adopting some multi-racial babies when I was ready. I spent most of the year writing and recording music. Forbes wrote about me twice. I met Andrew for lunch and my entire world shifted.
2019 – Maybe my most transformative year yet. Married my soulmate and became a wife. Traveled the world, including visiting Bali, Caymans and Hawaii for the first time. Visited the orphanages in Mexico more frequently. Made tons of new friends. Built houses for people in need. Volunteered at food banks. Released my music. Made music videos. Spoke and sang live for the first time in 5 years. Focused on giving back. Genetix was picked up by Walmart, our first retailer ever. Simon and Schuster, one of the top publishing houses in the world, acquired my first book, Cured by Nature. I stopped drinking.
2020 – I rang in the new year with my husband (!!!), our two dogs and our wonderful friends. On New Years Eve we dipped out of the party early and I drove our car to our cozy house with our two dogs and really drank in the last decade. Woke up on January 1st happy, sober, in love and in light.
Wow. To think how sad and broken I was when the first photo was taken, to how vibrant and happy I was on my wedding day… it doesn’t even seem like the same person could be writing this.
If you had told me when I adopted Raelie that ten years from then I’d be living in San Diego, married to my soulmate, with my own company, a successful blog, two books, an EP, 4 music videos, visiting orphanages, in a position to give back (with my own money!)… I would not have believed you. There was no way. I could never have seen the path there.
It happened with baby steps. Each year I went through to write this brought me back to so many feelings: feelings of uncertainty. Feelings of confusion, loss, heartbreak. A mentality where I thought that maybe I didn’t deserve anything good or anything more.
But it happened because somewhere inside me I KNEW I was capable of more. I knew I deserved more. And when people gave me opportunities, I took them.
I can see so clearly how leaving New York has shaped my entire life.
I can see so clearly now how starting my blog in 2011 lead to my book deal in 2014.
I can see how dropping out of school actually allowed me to find the perfect career.
I can see how performing at House of Blues for free in 2012 helped me to release my EP and book shows that truly paid off for me in 2019.
I can see how ending my abusive relationship in 2011 and ending my engagement in 2017 called in the person I was truly supposed to be with all these years later.
I can see how stepping away to grieve my dad and not pushing anything I wasn’t ready for gave me the clarity of mind that allowed me to embrace success in my 20’s, and work to get to a stable place in my 30’s. I can see how each step of the way brought me here, to exactly where I was supposed to be.
The theme of the last ten years?
Work hard. Don’t give up.
Whatever you want, you deserve.
Stay humble. Stay grateful.
Do what’s in your heart, not what other people tell you that you should do.
I can’t wait to see what the next ten years bring!