Take Me Back to Summer

It’s only a week after the official end of summer and I am already missing it! It seems like there has been no gentle transition to fall temperatures; the weather has changed suddenly – too abruptly for my liking. What happened to sweater weather? I’m about ready to reach for my winter coat in the morning. With any luck, Mother Nature will remember that it’s not supposed to be this cold and give us some warmer weather — after she gets done dousing us with rain for the next several days…at least in these parts. Here’s hoping you all have a great weekend and that the weather is better wherever you are!

Fall Sunset

{Fall Colors}

Horsein Around

{Looking for a treat}

Happy National Coffee Day

{#NationalCoffeeDay}

Endless Summer

{Missing Summer}

Thyroid Thursday: Awareness Efforts

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It’s the end of September…and you know what that means. Today is the final installment of Thyroid Thursday. I hope that you have enjoyed learning from Fern Olivia as much as I have and that together we have been able to answer any thyroid questions you may have had.

As part of the awareness efforts happening this month, Eisai, Inc. will donate $1 to the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association and Light of Light Foundation (up to $20K) for every butterfly-hug photo shared on social media. You can still partake, and it’s an easy way to get involved and help this worthy cause. Don’t forget to get your photos up before the end of the month and tag your photo #TruthAboutTC on Instagram.

If you are looking for more information about thyroid cancer, the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association is hosting their annual conference in Los Angeles from Oct 21 – 23, 2016. There you will hear from doctors about new treatments and meet with other survivors.

And remember, Fern Olivia will be hosting her Thyroid Yoga Teacher Training in Los Angeles from November 3 – 6, 2016. Click here for more information and to sign up. Receive a $100 scholarship when you apply and mention the code: LIVINGINSTEIL.

As for me, I will have a follow-up with my endocrinologist in November, when I go for routine blood work and a neck ultrasound. Here’s hoping that all of my thyroid levels are where they should be.

Thank you for your support and remember to check your neck!

Stealing the Spotlight: Urban Decay Naked Skin

Urban Decay Naked Skin

This review is long overdue. After using a new foundation for several months, I now feel qualified to share my thoughts with you. You may remember that over the summer I was looking for a lighter foundation. I tried a couple of different ones after reading online reviews, and ultimately had success with Urban Decay’s Naked Skin. As I mentioned in previous posts, this foundation has been on my radar for a while, and I decided that this summer was the perfect time to test out a lighter makeup.

I’m always skeptical when I try a new foundation — and even more so when it comes to selecting the correct color. After many failed attempts to identify the appropriate shade on my own, I always ask that someone in the beauty department at my local Ulta help me out. After all, you are laying out $40+ on a foundation, so you might as well get it right.

When it comes to shades, I’m used to being on the low end of the spectrum, so I was surprised (and hesitant) when the color match revealed that I was a 5.0 in Urban Decay. But who am I to argue?

Urban Decay’s Naked foundation is a weightless, ultra definition, liquid makeup. A major selling point for me was that it is paraben-free and infused with peptides. At first I tried to apply this foundation with my Bare Minerals brush, which didn’t work as well as I had hoped. So the next time I applied it, I used a regular makeup sponge. To my surprise, the sponge didn’t absorb too much of the product and it gave me a flawless finish.

While this isn’t technically long-wear makeup, the foundation does a good job of getting me through the day without having to reapply. I feel confident wearing it, as there isn’t a ton of product on my face, yet it still gives buildable coverage.

I thought that I would switch back to my beloved Stila Stay All Day foundation after summer was over, but since I just purchased my second bottle from Urban Decay, I will be sticking with the latter.

If you are going to try this foundation, a little goes a long way. Don’t worry too much that it is a lighter foundation — it is very buildable and you can easily achieve your desired level of coverage.

P.S. I promise to share photos of me wearing this foundation soon — although if you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (@livinginsteil), you have seen it on me for the last few months.

Fall Finds: Accessories from Anthropologie

Fall Finds: Anthropologie Accessories

If you are a regular reader of this site, you probably know two things right off the bat: I love Anthropologie and I love anything that has a monogram on it. So it should come as no surprise that on my most recent stroll through my local Anthropologie I was swooning over their latest fall accessories.

I must express some disappointment that they fail to carry any “V” initials, either in the earrings or the necklace, but I digress. Other than that minor glitch, Anthropologie offers lots of beautiful statement pieces — at reasonable prices. I purchased a ring from them last year and it looks way more expensive than it actually was.

With a new season comes a few new purchases. And I certainly have my eye on the pieces above.

Which piece is your favorite?

Monday Mantra: Embrace Change

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I haven’t written a Monday Mantra post in a while…and after the last few months, which have felt like a whirlwind of commotion, I figured I had the perfect topic for today’s post: change.

Change is a scary word for most people. Including me. I am creature of habit who thrives on having a consistent routine. Routines are like an old friend that comforts and cossets us. Yet these past few months have been nothing short of inconsistent, trying, and well, full of life changes. Between my health, stress level, heck, even a new season, and a soon-to-be change to what I have been driving for the last three years, change has come to be a word I have started to accept — whether intentional or otherwise. But is it really as scary as I thought?

As I have gotten older, it seems that change happens more frequently, or perhaps I am better equipped to accept it. In a couple of months I will be approaching the big 3-0. I know there will be lots of changes in store for me with a new decade, and I feel ready to tackle them.

So are we ever fully prepared for change? Yes and no. Sometimes change is invigorating; it infuses our lives with freshness and new challenges. Sometimes change tells us that our usual routine has become stale and no longer suits us or the times we live in. If nothing else, change can show you how strong you are — especially when you thought otherwise.

How do you handle change?

Fall Friday

Throughout much of the Northeast, the weather has remained warm. Yet this week was a little sad, as another equinox arrived and we said farewell to summer. As we welcome the official start of fall, I’ll need a few weeks before I am ready to rock the long sweaters, throw on a pair of riding boots, and take a swig of a Pumpkin Spice Latte — but those days are coming.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

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{Bright Macarons}

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{Because you can never have too many monogrammed mugs from Anthropologie}

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{New Finds: Rose gold “Mercer” watch from Rosefield Watches & Privacy Please from OPI}

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{This mug should have been made for me!}

so-long-summer

{So long, summer}

Thyroid Thursday: Fern Olivia’s Daily Rituals To Improve Thyroid Health

I’m always looking for ways to carve out a little “me” time in my busy schedule. When I came across a post that Fern Olivia wrote about her daily rituals, I knew it was something that I needed to read, and also wanted to share with the readers of this blog. I love how Fern makes taking care of her mind and body a priority, and I hope you find her routine and the products she uses as insightful as I did.

And remember, there is only one more installment of Thyroid Thursday after this week (how is it already the end of September?). Leave those questions in the comments section, and I will devote next week’s final Thyroid Thursday to answering them!

Now, here’s Fern!

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{Photo Credit: Fern Olivia}

Beauty is the healing food I nourish myself with, the sensual alchemy that kisses my skin, the gorgeous friends I choose to enjoy time with, the sacred home I have created, and the healing experiences I treat myself lavishly with every day. Beauty is taking care of myself in the most loving and kindhearted way. I have a big purpose on this planet, and I need to feel my best to give my best — I know that I have to keep up!

Here’s how I do it:

A.M. Ritual

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{Nicole Granato/Moon Deck}

My beauty ritual begins the moment I open my eyes and mentally say a prayer of gratitude. Then, I prepare herbal loose leaf from my friend Nicole Granato — she has an organic hibiscus rose petal tea that is just so beautiful. During my recent visit to Aja Malibu Latigo Canyon, I had the gift of receiving an intimate tour of the property’s biodynamic vegetable and medicinal herb gardens with the beautiful founder, Iannya Magick. As I picked and tasted whole herbs fresh from the earth, I felt reconnected to the beauty of life. Returning home, I have made infusing my tea and lemon water with fresh herbs a daily beauty ritual.

Each morning, I also pick a card from my Moon Deck, a beautiful intuitive oracle set created by my friends Aarona Ganesan and Andrea Keh. It is such a lovely way to connect to intuition through the path of self-love and ritual.

Then it’s a run out my front door, through the sand, into the cool Pacific Ocean. Splashing in the waves invigorates me and stimulates my lymphatic system — and as a bonus, cold water plunges are incredible for immune health. I’ve noticed that I feel significantly more energized when I have my ocean plunge first thing in the morning.

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{Photo Credit: Alicia Panetta}

I cleanse my face and body with manuka honey, coconut sugar, and coconut oil. I apply a healing mask depending on what I feel I need, and massage my face with facial crystals from Benshen. Then, I moisturize with Solar Sun Protect, a skin protectant from my own organic beauty apothecary, Ajai Alchemy, made from all organic essential oils in a base of carrot oil and coconut oil to protect my skin. Living in Los Angeles and traveling frequently to sunny destinations such as Sedona, Hawaii, and the Cayman Islands, I made this to give my skin some extra love as I spend my days practicing and teaching yoga on the beach. I apply Radiance Hair Serum to my hair, which keeps my beach curls wild and sexy without the frizz.

Thyroid Yoga

Sadhana, or daily practice, is a must for me, and it’s a pillar that I talk about in my Thyroid Yoga course. It’s a nonnegotiable holy practice that reminds me that I am worthy before I go out into the world — and yes, that means before I turn on my phone and check email or my Instagram feed.

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{Photo Credit: Alexa Gray Photography}

I start every practice by applying Grace Alchemy, another one of my own creations, to my thyroid gland, tracing the infinity sign horizontally and massaging my lymph nodes — it serves as a luxurious reminder that I am a radiant, beautiful woman and that treating myself with love is very important. Once I have applied my alchemy to my neck, I begin my daily sequence, which I go over in the videos during my course. My practice includes chanting, yoga asana, breathwork, and meditation. Depending on what my day looks like, it could range anywhere from 20 minutes to over two hours!

Often I will kick my practice up a notch and join my teachers Guru Jagat and Harmanjot Kaur at Ra Ma Institute in Venice, and when I’m too lazy to leave my Zen den (because yes, sometimes I’ve stayed out too late), then I can catch the classes streaming on Ra Ma TV.

Superfood Smoothie

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{Moon Juice}

I follow a 12-hour intermittent fast from the time of my last meal the night before until the next day after my sadhana, and I like to keep things light in the morning. I’ve found that works best for my body type and energy levels. To make sure I’m getting enough protein, I add Dana James’ Beauti-Fuel into my morning green smoothie. My go-to is matcha, hemp seeds, a few very generous dashes of cinnamon, a tablespoon of coconut butter, half a frozen banana, and schisandra berry and pearl from Moon Juice. Since my friend Amanda Chantal Bacon mentioned these were her beauty secret weapons, I’ve been hooked ever since.

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{Body + Eden}

I also blend in organic raw probiotic from microbiome expert Body + Eden. This is the ultimate beauty food! Why? Beauty begins in the gut — when we’re not digesting our food properly, we feel puffy, bloated, foggy, our skin breaks out, and we get sick. More potent than a capsule, naturally fermented herbs and superfoods allow for easy assimilation and better absorption of minerals and nutrients while helping your body replenish its beneficial gut bacteria.

If I feel like I need a bit more energy for the day ahead, I top my smoothie with a sprinkle of bee pollen, one of my favorite beauty superfoods.

Midday: Meetings & Turmeric Lattes

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{Fern Olivia, Thyroid Yoga Recipe Book: You Nourish You}

Typically I head out in the late morning or early afternoon to work out of a coffee shop or cafe in Venice — you can find me setting up shop at Butcher’s Daughter or Plant Food and Wine on Abbot Kinney, sipping on green juice and turmeric lattes.

Before I go out, I like to apply makeup that gives me a dewy, natural glow. I use only organic products on my face and body. If I wouldn’t consume it, it’s not going on my sacred skin! My favorite beauty products are W3ll People, Vapor, and Kjaer Weiss. I’m obsessed with CAP Beauty, Net-a-Porter, the apothecary at ABC Carpet & Home, The Detox Market, and Goop, too, as sites to buy from.

Afternoon: Goddess Time

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{Alyson Charles Rockstar Shaman}

One of the pillars of my healing regime is to luxuriously treat myself with loving care. This means getting a massage weekly, acupuncture, facials, and a spa mani and pedi. If I’m feeling extra artistic, I’ll paint my own nails with The Blessed Power Set, a gorgeous five-free set of nail lacquers blessed by Alyson Charles Rockstar Shaman. Or you’ll find me taking a midday pamper session at Olive + June, a beautiful nail spa in Los Angeles.

P.M. Ritual

I feel extremely lucky to be a five-minute bike ride from Erehwon, a chic grocery market stocked with beautiful aisles of only the cleanest and purest sustainable foods. I recently became a member and I’m obsessed — I’m in there every day picking up superfoods and fresh produce. It’s here where I get my daily fix of Elissa’s Thyroid Juice, a beautiful elixir made with dandelion greens, parsley, ginger, and other potent healing ingredients.

I love cooking and preparing my own foods, so much so that I recently became inspired to write a recipe book after serving up foods as chef on one of my recent retreats. I’ve birthed the Thyroid Yoga Recipe Book: You Nourish You, with gorgeous photography and additional recipes featured by Parsley Health founder Dr. Robin Berzin; expert Ayurvedic practitioner Tina Paymaster; plant-based chef and healer Cassandra Bozdak; and I’m very excited to share it with you. It’s all about intuitive eating and intuitive cooking, topics I am so passionate about teaching.

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{Photo Credit: Eve Bregman Photography}

Living on the beach in Venice, I feel called to catch magic hour with a sunset stroll. An evening meditation is a gift I give myself and a much-needed break from my work. I take my massive rose quartz from Sedona with me to the ocean and charge it up in mamma blue. Bubble baths with organic bath salts set me up for a restful beauty sleep. In my bath, you’ll find Pursoma Après Savasana Soak, plus some rose petals from a bouquet I bought myself just because. I light candles, burn sage and incense, and listen to the special bath playlist I created with soothing beats, earth sounds, and sacred sound currents by the talented Aya and Tyler, White Sun, DTO Music, Aykanna, and Mirabai Ceiba.

After a soothing bath, I massage virgin coconut oil all over my body with a few drops of my Grace serum — I love smelling like love when I go to bed! The scent is an aphrodisiac, sexy and so beautiful. It is such a simple pleasure, and I sleep like a baby. Oh, and I have to sleep naked. It feels incredibly liberating and is one of my body-love beauty rituals. Try it; you’ll never want to wear anything to bed again!

As I sleep, I have a mantra playing softly in the background. I play Antarjamee by Ajeet Kaur on repeat — her voice is angelic! I also love the new White Sun II album — it’s next level healing!

*This post was written by Fern Olivia and originally published on mindbodygreen.

What I Wore to New York Fashion Week

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{Top: Marimekko||Jeans: Mossimo||Bag: Phillip Lim||Wedges: Franco Sarto}

One virtue of attending New York Fashion Week in September is that the weather is mild enough to get away with wearing lighter layers. When I went in February 2015, it was bitterly cold and snowy in New York, and everyone was bundled up.

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When faced with what to wear to the Louis Verdad show last week, I knew my white Mossimo jeans had to make one more appearance before fall officially hit. I’m all for wearing white after Labor Day, but this pair of jeans is strictly reserved for summer.

I also knew that my outfit had to be comfortable enough to account for nearly four hours of commuting round-trip and walking countless steps around the City. So what better to pair my white jeans with than a bold printed top from Marimekko and my comfy Franco Sarto wedges?

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A special thanks to Kate of Taffeta & Tulips for suggesting an impromptu photo shoot in Midtown Manhattan and for taking such great pictures!

Neutral Numbers

Neutral Numbers

As autumn approaches, I find myself reaching for chunky sweaters, suede booties, and neutral colors. I had hoped that the warm days would last a little longer, but since the air has some chill, it is time to break out my fall attire.

This fall, I am into suede, rose gold accessories (like the Rosefield watch shown above, which I just ordered), and blanket scarves (can you ever go wrong with a blanket scarf?). These are the items that will see a lot of play in the coming months.

What’s your favorite fall staple?

My New York Fashion Week Recap

Last week I attended the Louis Verded show at New York Fashion Week with fellow blogger Kate of Taffeta & Tulips. I know I promised that I would share my recap last week, but my editorial calendar got tangled up — apologies for the delay. But here it is today — and head over to Kate’s blog for more from her Fashion Week experience.

The Louis Verdad show was held at 150 West 28th Street, a short walk from Penn Station. The building itself was beautiful, and I snapped a picture of the ornate ceiling and pendant lighting in the entryway. On the 12th floor, where the presentation took place, we entered a corner room with tons of natural light (which made it difficult to get good shots of the intricate detail of the pieces).

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The small room was filled with mannequins showcasing everything from a white trench coat to a butterfly printed dress (a favorite of mine, for sure). I loved the use of texture, as seen in a number of the denim looks, patterns and prints that comprised this collection. But most of all, the wearability of the pieces stood out. Hello, pleated skirt!

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{My personal favorite!}

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{Runner-up}

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{Love this dress, too!}

The pièce-de-résistance for me was that first navy dress I saw when I walked in. I shared it on Instagram (and it seemed that a lot of you liked it, too). It was timeless — but also had an effortless feel to it. The printed butterfly dress and the denim dress with the tie waist and embellished sleeves rounded out my top three picks from the show.

Here are a few more pieces from the collection:

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After the presentation, Kate shot some outfit photos for me (they will be coming to the blog later this week), and we grabbed lunch at Seven Bistro. Remember that place? The one with the stunning chandeliers? I ordered a delicious appetizer of calamari while we chatted about blogging.

Then it was off to Penn Station for the hour and a half train ride home!