It’s nearly here: summer. It may be hiding around the corner of a few rainy days (or snowstorms, if you’re in the Midwest with me), but IT. IS. COMING. I can feel it.

Summer begs for a change to our wardrobes and our makeup routines. It asks us to drop our dark colors in favor of breezy beauty. It reminds us that we look better with a little glow. And so, with the help of Embody Beauty Founder Samjhana Shrestha, I responded. Together, we’re bringing you a step-by-step tutorial to enhance your natural glow and emulate one of my style heroes, Blake Lively (girl is ALWAYS glowing. Like, literally. And that hair? Perfection.). Read on for all the natural goodies you need to create The Lively Glow. Read more…


Holiday Gift Guide

Gifts Galore

It’s December, people. And though some of us maybe finished our holiday shopping over the long, sale-filled holiday weekend, others of us may not be that on top of things. Enter this gift guide.

I love gift-giving. I have an entire secret Pinterest board dedicated to gifts for others so when my husband or sister or best friend mentions something they’ve been coveting, I have a safe place to stash the idea for later. This year, I’m doing beauty-related gifts for many friends, so I wanted to share a few of my fave pressies. Check them out below (for all budgets, for all kinds of beauty gals).

For the clean beauty skeptic: Since swapping clean products into my whole beauty caboodle, I’ve tried to convert as many friends as possible to the clean beauty movement. Some are more hesitant than others, and the ones who I have the hardest time convincing are the ones most concerned about cost. So I point them to a multi-tasker that usually woos them to trying more clean products: Acure Organics’ Argan Oil. It’s a hair-smoother, a cuticle oil, a face moisturizer. And it has a friendly price point if they want to repurchase for themselves.

For the beauty aficionado: The Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Winter Glow Gift Set. I’ve talked before about how much I love the Vitamin D Mist, and this set boasts that toner, plus a yummy Vitamin C serum that even my mom loves (and she used to use only Vaseline to moisturize her face). Top those off with a colorless face powder and angled kabuki brush help you hit this season’s matte face look and you’ve got a great combo for a girlfriend who’s a tad more in-the-know.

Me Encanta in practice.

Me, wearing the Me Encanta, no filter.

For the makeup maven: I can’t say enough about loving Alima Pure’s wide range of mineral foundations, but now I love their eyeshadows and mascara as well. Their holiday set, Me Encanta, comes from a collaboration with green makeup artist Kristen Arnett. I love love love the navy shadow included in the kit (I used it as a liner) and the blush is my all-time favorite color (I wore it for my wedding, for Pete’s sake). There’s even a how-to video on creating a subtle look with the liner, contour powder and blush. Fool proof. And a perfectly well-rounded present.

For the jet-setter: This Travel Therapy Botanical Mood Booster from La Bella Figura Beauty is one of those things I’m not sure how to make it through the day without. It smells like sunshine, it sticks around for a looooong time and I’ve gotten dozens (not exaggerating) compliments on how I smell, even after not showering for four days, when I’m wearing this puppy. It calms me—and anyone who smells me—down and makes every hurried day, full of airplane travel or just regular old commuting, better.

If you’re on a budget: Much like I am. Alexandra once blogged about why she loves gifting aromatherapy, but let me add to her points by saying it’s a super easy way to customize gifts and to not have to pick out makeup colors. You know your best friends; you know what’s bugging them. Therefore, you know what aromatherapy might benefit them. (Plus, we have a kick-ass deal going on with Essence of Vali until the end of the year. Save your dollar bills and give gifts your peeps will love.)

Or, do a little DIY for the holidays. Get some cute plastic bottles and fill them with a DIY dry shampoo. Or a body scrub. Or a lip balm. The thought goes a long way (and if your friends are like mine, they’ll be thrilled you took time to make them something, not just swipe your credit card.)

For the boy: Olie Biologique JUST released a Whisker Oil for before and after shaving. It smells manly and helps reduce redness and irritation. Or check out the body soaps from Osmia Organics. I only got my husband to switch from Dove when he smelled these babies. (Get a body oil for yourself while you’re at it—Water Lily is my fave and I started wearing it as a perfume.)

What did I miss? What are you snagging for friends, family or S.O.s?

Happy April everyone! It feels like we might be out of the woods with this whole winter thing finally. And just in time for BBQ fantasies, today’s obsession brings us a homemade veggie burger recipe that sounds completely beyond… Two questions:

1. Annette, or someone in the audience, what would be a good replacement for the bread crumbs in this recipe to make it GF?

2. Do you have any veggie burger recipes to share?

Dietary Leanings: Vegetarian with the very occasional hit of meat if my body is asking for it, which it does (weird!)

Ingredient: Mushrooms

Known health benefits: Low calorie, fat free, no cholesterol and low sodium. One cup of mushrooms contains vitamins C, D, B6, B12, plus large doses of riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid along with calcium, iron, potassium, and selenium.

Favorite way to eat this food: Mushroom burgers. I got this recipe from an episode of The Chew (thank you, Clinton Kelly) and I have made a batch every week since. You can make and cook the burgers to reheat, or you can mix the ‘batter’ then form and cook them as you go. Either way, they are fantastic! I have eaten them as burgers, but more often, I eat them as ‘meat’ over grains or in a wrap with veggies. So freakin’ good!

Some changes I made: I left the cheese and the parsley out, I only used 2 cloves of garlic (6?
Really?) and I used Ener-G egg replacer instead of the eggs. I also used 1 teaspoon dried oregano in place of the fresh.


Olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 1/2 pounds assorted mushrooms (portobello, crimini, button, shiitake), chopped
6 cloves garlic
1/2 cups quick cooking oats
3/4 cup grated Parmigiana cheese
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated carrot
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup parsley
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
6 slices Provolone cheese
6 Brioche burger buns

Heat three tablespoons of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and toss to coat. Season with a large pinch of salt, the chili flakes and a few cracks of black pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms. Add more oil if the pan seems dry. Cook for 5 minutes until onions are soft and mushroomsbegin to brown. Stir in garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant.

Pour the mushrooms into a large bowl. Stir in the oats, cheese, breadcrumbs, carrot, eggs, parsley, and oregano. Season with another pinch of salt. Mix well and form into 6 patties.

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Carefully add patties to pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook patties 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Add a slice of cheese to each patty in the last minute. Serve on buns.


Peanut butter!

Dietary leanings: Pescetarian! And trying to eat as seasonally as I can. But I crave peanut butter year-round.

Ingredient: Fresh ground peanut butter

Known health benefits: (from The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth) Peanuts rank about as high as strawberries in antioxidants. Also, researchers at Purdue University found that “including peanuts in the diet significantly increased magnesium, folate, copper, vitamin E, and arginine consumption, all of which play a role in the prevention of heart disease.” Peanuts are also high in niacin, a vitamin B important for keeping the digestive system, skin, and nerves healthy. Also, they’re great at keeping you feeling full with all those healthy fats!

My favorite way to eat this food: Smeared on apple slices, in smoothies, or in one of my raw oat concoctions.

Way #1: 1/4 cup of raw oats, 1/4 cup of almond milk, almost 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, 1 tsp (or more!) of raw honey, and between 1 and 2 tbsp of peanut butter. Stir it around until it’s mixed together pretty well and then eat (I usually lick the bowl, but that’s up to you).

Way #2: I’ve been eating this for breakfast lately. I make a strawberry/rhubarb compote that I eat instead of store-bought jams (basically I just cook a pint of strawberries (sliced) with 2 stalks of rhubarb (also sliced), add a little water to get it going (not much), a dash of cinnamon and cardamom, and maybe a tiny amount of maple syrup if it needs it). Then I take 1/4 cup of oats, 1/3-ish cup of the compote, and then a tbsp or 2 of peanut butter, add a bit of almond milk if it needs thinning out, mix that all up, and it’s like a pb&j without having to eat wheat!

Also my fiance makes an awesome spicy peanut (butter) sauce to put over roasted asparagus. Oh! And that one recipe you guys posted forever ago with the Greek yogurt, peanut butter, and maple syrup! Bomb!

P.S. Did I include enough exclamation points to get across how excited I am about peanut butter? Because I took some out.


My Meatless Obsession: Ch-ch-ch Chia

Despite last week’s clash over another meatless menu, we have no plans to give up on Meatless Mondays. Eating less meat is a proven boon for both health and the environment (not to mention your looks). But we do think it’s time to mix it up from the menus.

Introducing a new series: My Meatless Obsession. What plant-based food are you in love with these days? Is it almond milk, sunflower seeds, or the carrots showing up in your CSA? How do you fit this ingredient into your menu, and what are its health benefits?

Rebecca is kicking the series off with chia seeds, and Siobhan and Alexandra will get in the game too. Of course, we’d love to get your Meatless Obsession—just email nomoredirtylooks  at gmail dot com with OBSESSION in the title!

Dietary leanings: Vegan, gluten free, mostly raw

Ingredient: Chia seeds (yes, the things used to grow chia pets)

Known health benefits: Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (great for your heart and blood vessels, brain, skin, joints, etc.). They contain all the essential amino acids and are a good source of protein. The seeds are also an excellent source of fiber and calcium, plus other minerals. I’ve read about Aztec warriors and modern ultra-marathoners using chia for energy. I know when I eat chia for breakfast, it gives me enough energy for a vigorous run/hike/bike or a long morning of work.

My favorite way to eat it: So many ways!

I love multi-taskers in skin care, and in food too. Chia seeds can be incorporated into any meal, fitting nicely into many dishes. Sprinkle them on salad, cereal, or yogurt. Mix them into smoothies, dips (like tahini, hummus, guacamole) and dressings. They can be used in baking as well, though I never bake and haven’t tried it. One day I will try making my own raw energy bars in the dehydrator using chia.

Chia seeds add a pleasant, mild nutty crunch to a dish. If you want to keep the crunch then add them at the very last second, because these little guys will soak up 12 times their weight in water.  This is a very cool thing, though, because you can use them to thicken sauces and make “pudding.”  I use chia quite a bit, and here’s my current favorite “recipe”:

While my first cup of tea is brewing, I pour a couple of tablespoons of chia into a short glass. Then I add fresh orange juice and fresh almond milk in about equal proportions, a total of about one cup of liquid. I mix it up with a spoon to make sure all the seeds are covered. It needs about 15-20 minutes to thoroughly soak up the liquid, and if I stir a couple more times while I’m packing my lunch it keeps the seeds distributed uniformly throughout the liquid instead of clumping (if it clumps, just break up the clump and mix). I let it sit while I do yoga, which is way more than enough time for it to get quite thick. You can play with the proportion of seeds/liquid to get something like a bubble tea consistency, all way to a thick pudding. When I’m ready to eat, I mix in some ground flax and banana slices and eat it with a spoon. I’ll be using blueberries when the season hits! I love it for breakfast, but it’s a great energizing snack too.

By the way, remember to check your smile after eating chia seeds. They gravitate to the spaces between your front teeth. And if you eat them away from home be sure to carry floss or toothpicks! Are you a chia fan?

Image via LA Times