Honesty

Q&A with goop’s senior beauty editor

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We are thrilled to introduce you to Megan O’Neill- goop’s senior beauty editor. We are forever goop fans here at LSK. We are signed up for their emails, follow them on all social, check their site regularly, and always look to them for wellness lifestyle tips, healthy recipes, and clean, toxin-free beauty product recommendations.  Megan has a column called Megan Tries It, where she tries new products and then gives goop readers the 411 on them. Read the Q&A to get to know Megan as we pick her brain on all things clean beauty and healthy living!

-It is no secret that we are goop super fans! Can you share a little bit about work life @ goop?

The vibe here really thrills me; it’s laid back yet hyper-focused. We produce a ton of content—really informed, smart, engaging, thoughtful content—and so a tremendous amount of work goes into creating it and getting it into shape and making sure everything is meticulously researched. I love that we don’t just fling things up onto the Internet. So yes, work life at goop is definitely rigorous, but the flip side of late nights are the office Transcendental Meditation sessions or that Susan Miller—she’s a beyond-legit astrologist—will come read us our horoscopes for an hour one day. And there’s also humor. We all get stressed, but it’s definitely a team that likes to laugh and so there’s a lot of jokes and asides and silliness throughout the day.

-We are loving your Megan Tries It column- you have tried a lot! To-date, what is your favorite wellness practice that you have tried for the column?

Thank you so much! I really enjoy writing Megan Tries It—and trying all manner of things. God, so many things I’ve fallen in love with but there’s a sleep potion that really is just next level. It’s called Sleep Inner Beauty Powder and it’s from this Australian brand The Beauty Chef. It’s a powder made of turmeric and natural sedatives like sour cherry, passionflower and lemon balm-and it’s the most soothing, soul-warming, incredibly tasty before-bed drink!! You dump the powder into warm almond milk, add honey, and omg—it puts me into a coma. My husband is an insomniac, a bad one, and even he says it’s helped him relax and ease that racing mind of his.

Something I’ve tried that I loved that was a little more out there was a chakra healing crystal treatment. I lay sprawled on a massage table, bathed in lights beamed through crystals suspended over me. The point was to balance and stimulate my chakras, which can get out of whack from things like stress or too much sitting. I am absolutely down to try anything that may help me feel more soothed throughout the day. Why on earth not? And I can attest that it is soothing and fantastical to be bathed in crystal light.

-Have you always been interested in mindfulness, self care, and overall well-being? Share a little bit about your wellness journey.

I have! My mom has always been someone who chose natural remedies over store-bought over-the-counter things. She’s someone who’s been juicing for something like 40 years, long before it was cool. When my older brother was little, my mom has his bottle filled with sea kelp, and there was no having refined sugar for him. She had bone broth simmering frequently. We drank castor oil when we needed a “clean out,” which is something I think she grew up doing in Jamaica, where she’s from. She relaxed a little by the time I came around and I was allowed to have Doritos and Gushers and awesome kid snacks because total deprivation is definitely not the way. But we never took aspirin or Tylenol for headaches. If I had a headache my mom would say, “Just sit quietly, and it will pass” or “Drink some water.” It made me furious that I couldn’t just take a Tylenol, for God’s sake! But now that’s my mentality, too.

-What are your 3 must-have skincare items?

Vintner’s Daughter is the most beautiful, healing face oil that makes my skin so insanely glowy. It’s a blend of nourishing essential oils like hazelnut, bergamot, evening primrose, sea buckthorn…it feels stupendous on your skin, too. I’ll never not use it. Then I’m also in love with the Replenishing Night Cream from goop. It’s rich and intensely hydrating, and I smooth it on before plane rides, and it really holds up against the stale air plane air. I’m always preposterously dewy when I disembark. I definitely wear it during the day, too, when it’s frigid out. And I’ve just discovered the Essential Serum from Modicum. It’s filled with antioxidants, sea buckthorn, black cumin, and helichrysum oils. (It’s called a serum but it feels like a luxurious face oil and hydrates like one, too.) Helichrysum is an ingredient I hunt for in skincare, it’s so therapeutic and it smells herbaceous and heavenly. I massage the Modicum serum into my face before Vintner’s some mornings, and it just supercharges things and makes my glow last all day.

-Is your  daily beauty routine simple or complex? Give us some details!

I relish it my routine. And it’s not just a routine, it’s a soothing ritual that makes me feel prepared and put together and calm and beautiful. In the morning, I wash my face—I’m into the cleansing balm from goop and the Black Mint Cleanser from Odacite—then I press in my oils (Vintner’s always; or Modicum first and then Vintner’s). I choose my outfit and during that time all the goodness in the face oils seep into my skin. Then I smooth on SPF—loving Vive Sana Serum Crema right now; it’s zinc and if your skin is dark like mine, you need just a little, not a lot, or else it doesn’t melt in as invisibly.) And then I glutinously pump Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence on top for the prettiest, verging-on-sweaty sheen. That is my vibe right there.

-What is on your radar when it comes to wellness trends? What is looking like “the wellness practice” of 2018 from your perspective?

The thing about wellness is it’s not trendy—it’s boundless, and you write your own rules, and that’s the beauty of it. Wellness is cooking your own food and being in charge of what you’re putting into your body that way. Or it’s walking aimlessly after a long day of being hunched over your computer to clear your head. Or it’s dabbing essential oils at your temples before bed or sipping a cozy sleepy powder drink. I just started using goop’s rose quartz roller in the mornings and after long plane rides to LA because it truly wakes my skin up and feels like a massage. It’s an ancient Chinese skincare tool—you roll the beautifully smooth rose quartz across your cheeks, forehead, chin, under-eye area. I swear you look better and your skin more vibrant immediately after.

-Besides goop of course, where do you find toxin-free, clean living inspiration, information, plus tips and tricks? Any favorite blogs or Instagram influencers that you follow?

My mom is definitely my greatest, most authentic wellness inspiration. And I love going to Integral Yoga Natural Foods and Apothecary on 13th street and seeing what tinctures and potions and coconut-sugar snacks they have. Sauntering down the aisles and peering into the nut bins there always inspires me. And there are always a lot of great looking people shopping in there, who I think might be ancient but look smooth and shiny and spry. That place makes me want to live a long, healthy life.

-Are you an essential oils fan? If so, how do you incorporate them in your daily life?

I go for essential oils before I go for fragrance. Most mornings I dab either frankincense or lemon essential oil on my wrists and behind my ears. Lemon is incredible, and studies show citrus scents help wake up your mind.

-If you had to name your top 5 favorite clean beauty/skincare brands, what would they be at the moment?

goop, Vintner’s Daughter, de Mamiel (face, body, and aromatherapy oils that are chanted over and energetically charged that make your skin look fantastic), Sangra de Fruta (their body serums and creams are to die for), Balmyard (the blackberry cheek and lip tint—gorgeous).

-What does living a clean lifestyle mean to you? Can you describe the peace of mind and/or joy that using safe products brings you?

I just want to feel fantastic and age gracefully. I rarely get sick—I really take pains to eat wholesomely and take care of myself, and I think that has a lot to do with it—but I did get sick maybe a year ago with a mild flu, and it freaked me out. I lay on the couch for two days and had no energy and it felt like a death sentence to not be able to move and gallivant and cook and laugh. It occurred to me that maybe that’s what being old and decrepit is like. And old and decrepit do not go hand in hand. I think maybe they used to. I want to be old and vibrant, and I think that’s attainable if I care about what I eat and what goes onto my skin. I feel beautiful knowing that what I’m eating and slathering on is pure and mindfully sourced. And it feels incredible to feel beautiful.

Our Strength & Our Refuge

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And let the King of my heart
Be the wind inside my sails
The anchor in the waves
Oh oh, He is my song
Let the King of my heart
Be the fire inside my veins
The echo of my days
Oh oh, He is my song

King Of My Heart by Bethel Music

Oh worship music– it has the power to awaken our hearts and sharpen our minds. There is nothing I like more than turning it on in the morning while spending time in the Word, turning it up in my car while driving, or listening to it soothingly in the evening as I am winding down.

This song in particular has my heart singing praise to Jesus. As Bethel Music sings and the Word declares, Jesus is the King of our hearts, our reason and inspiration for everything, our stronghold during hard times, our passion, our strength, our refuge, our fortress, our light, and our savior! The wind inside our sails…he gets us moving in the right direction and keeps us moving along His path.

But I will sing of your strength and will joyfully proclaim your faithful love in the morning For you have been a stronghold for me, a refuge in my day of trouble. To you, my strength, I sing praises because God is my stronghold- my faithful God. Psalm 59:16-17 (CSB)

By singing songs like King Of My Heart and believing every single lyric, we are proclaiming our faith in Jesus, the One who loves us, protects us, strengthens us, and holds us everyday of our lives. He is a good, good father!

OUTFIT NOTES

like the kimono I am wearing? 

my kimono | love this one | and this one | plus this one!

 

Inspiration To Be Strong and Courageous

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Whether it is something big or something small, we all need inspiration to be strong and courageous quite often. It could be learning something new at work, taking a professional risk that you believe you have been called to take, making a personal decision that you have been praying about for months, going into a social situation that might give you anxiety, or so on and so on.

The list is truly endless of situations that come up in our lives that require strength and courage, in both little amounts and big amounts, so thank goodness that the Lord is with us through it all. Literally through it all! Not only is he with us, but he is before us, behind us, beside us, for us, and in us. He has already stood where we are standing and knows exactly what will happen before we even get there.

“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” -Joshua 1:9 (CSB) This is our inspiration as believers- the promise that He is with us. He has commanded us (out of love for us) to live life courageously and with strength, for He is with us every second and every step of the way, so there is no reason to fear or lose hope. Keep pressing on and keeping fighting the good fight every day…He is with you!

jumpsuit (c/o) | sunnies | bag (c/o) | shoes (c/o)

images by Felicia Lasala 

Q&A With Branch Basics’ Founders: Part Three

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Happy Wednesday, friends! Today we are continuing our Q&A series with the three founders of Branch Basics and we are so excited to introduce you to Marilee! Marilee is Allison’s aunt and is a wellness/nutritionist guru! You probably remember Marilee’s name in both Allison’s Q&A and Kelly’s Q&A. Read the Q&A with Marilee below to get to know her + learn even more about Branch Basics, the toxin-free, totally safe, and completely pure home cleaning solution that we love. Also, they are kindly offering a promo code for LSK readers…use code LSK20 for 20% off at branchbasics.com! 


We have heard so much about you in Allison & Kelly’s Q&As! What originally inspired you to become so knowledgeable and passionate about holistic living and toxin-free products?

In my twenties I was faced with the fact that I needed a kidney transplant and would never have children. I never had the transplant, had a child and recovered from many lifelong chronic health issues just through the study of using food as medicine which resulted in a radical diet change from the Standard American Diet to eating only nutrient dense real organic food.

Later, I had a severely chemically injured 10 year old child that we were told would never recover and would be a bubble boy for the rest of his life, but he did in fact recover and the steps we had to take for him to completely heal revealed just how much having products and materials with harmful chemicals in our homes impacts our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

Our lives were transformed with the application of just getting back to basics – eating real food and creating a healthy home.

It seems like you played a pretty large role in Allison’s journey through turning around her PCOS. What was that like for you, guiding her through that time, as her aunt?

It was such an honor and privilege to spend that couple of months with Allison as I had missed much of her growing up years since we had been so isolated from family during the time my son was recovering from chemical injury. Getting to really know her and watch her heal and recover during that time and after she left my home was like seeing my own daughter emerge healthy and strong with her own precious baby. I cherish the relationship I have with Allison now (niece – like a daughter, friend, and business partner) and it wouldn’t have happened had we not all faced major health challenges.    

We of course know how important our diets are for our overall health, but what is your #1 bit of advice when it comes to eating healthy?

Plain and simple. Get back to basics and eat only the organic real food that God created for us!

We love Branch Basics’ REVIEW, REMOVE, REPLACE process for beginning the journey of removing toxin-free products from one’s home. Can you briefly share why removing toxin-free products from our homes is so crucial?

Our home should be a safe haven, a place of refuge and regeneration that is free from contaminants and elements that harm our health. Overwhelming scientific evidence indicates that the air within our homes is polluted and that illness caused by exposure to these pollutants is a serious threat to our health.   Research has shown that many of these chemicals in our homes can cause symptoms in every organ, disrupt the endocrine system leading to breast and prostate cancer, endometriosis, fibroid tumors, ovarian cysts, loss of sex drive and fertility and can damage brain chemistry leading to hyperactivity, learning disabilities, depression, and even mental illness. They can also accumulate in the organs, triggering cancers of the liver, lung, colon, thyroid, etc.

Creating a healthy home by eliminating these poisons can save money that might otherwise be spent on doctor visits, medication, and missed workdays.  A chemical free-living area enables our bodies to use its energy for rejuvenation and healing instead of detoxifying chemicals. Removing this immune stress gives the body the power, and literally the breathing room to maintain health or to recover and heal!

What has been the most joyful part of this Branch Basics journey for you?

Having the opportunity to work with our team and share information that is life changing to many people with ears to hear!

What is your dream for the future of Branch Basics?

We want to create an army of people who are eating real food and have created truly healthy homes so that the healthcare crisis we are facing in America can be turned around.  We would also like to have a Branch Basics Healing Center/Resort where people could come and experience the “transforming power of pure” – stay in a facility built with non-toxic materials where no harmful chemicals are used, eat real food, use safe products we would furnish, and wear clothes we would provide to ensure that everyone would not be exposed to residues of toxic laundry products. This would provide participants at our center a fast track to healing that would motivate them to go home and apply what they learned just as Allison and Kelly experienced at my home.

A Beautiful Hardcover Version Of The Bible

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We have mentioned it before on the blog, a beautiful hardcover version of the Bible that we absolutely love spending time in. Of course every version of the Word is a beautiful gift, but this version is especially dear to us. Friends, meet She Reads Truth.

Many of you have probably heard of She Reads Truth- an online Christian community inspiring women who love Jesus to spend time in the Word and live out their lives in Truth while inspiring and encouraging others in their faith journeys. Their website, Facebook page, Instagram account, and app are all inspiring places inviting His daughters to spend connecting with other believers while strengthening their faith.

Their hardcover Bible is not only aesthetically gorgeous on the exterior, it is complete with the Christian Standard version of the Word with additional historical information and timelines, devotions, space for notes, and more. We look forward every day to spending time in our She Reads Truth Bibles, expectant to what we will read and grateful for the time spent with Him.

Thank you, SRT, for developing such an incredible version of the Bible- it is such a blessing to all! Click the image below to check it out. xx

Lauren Scruggs Kennedy Foundation Q&A

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Hey friends, Melissa here! I am so excited to share a Q&A with Lauren and her two co-founders of the Lauren Scruggs Kennedy Foundation. Lisa Curlee and Ashley Bonnin Igo are two incredibly strong and God-centered women who also have prosthetics. Together with Lo, they have partnered to help provide beautiful prosthetic coverings (like they have) for other women who have experienced limb loss. Keep reading to learn more about LSKF and the three beautiful hearts behind this incredible foundation with a life-changing purpose.

LO 

Do you remember when the dream for LSKF was first placed on your heart? Tell us about that!

I received prosthetic arms about six months after my accident, and I was so grateful because all of the arms were covered by my insurance. At this point, I had not yet met any one who had lost a limb or anyone who wore a prosthesis, so I thought my coverage story was normal. Shortly after, I started meeting so many girls, and they each would share their story of not being able to afford a good quality prosthesis. I came to realize how rare my story was, and these stories broke my heart. I had experienced such renewal and wholeness from this physical object that produced such internal healing effects, and I wanted every one to have the opportunity to experience that. From that point on, I started praying with the intention of wanting to make that possible. I soon after met my two precious friends, Lisa and Ashley, who both lost their legs and had the same passion I did, and the process of creating LSKF began. God has been in every single detail. It has been so humbling and powerful to be a part of.

How did you get connected with Ashley and Lisa and how did the three of you become the LSKF team together?

Ashley and I initially met on Facebook, and we became quick friends! She lived in Dallas and had never met any one who was missing a limb, so it was extra special getting to connect with each other! I met Lisa at the Beautifully Flawed Retreat that Bethany Hamilton hosts in San Diego. I am so thankful for her because she is full of wisdom and is my mom’s age, so she has experienced many seasons of life without a leg. I can ask her any question or express any fear of what’s ahead in the future, and she speaks so much truth into those thoughts. She has the most beautiful family and the deepest faith. The three of us had such a similar passion to bring hope, ignite faith, and restore dignity in girls and women by providing beautiful cosmetic coverings for prostheses. We are so honored to walk alongside girls in their prosthetic and healing journey. We all know through our own experiences that not feeling alone is one of the biggest components of restoration!

What has your prosthetic covering meant to you on a heart level and why do you think you feel called to share that gift with others?

Because I was used to having two hands my entire life, my prosthetic arm made me feel whole again because I felt as close as I could to having two hands again. It is high quality and looks so realistic, so it also gave me confidence to enter back into reality. It is such a gift, and even though it is a physical object relating to outward appearance, it has helped ignite so much healing and acceptance in my heart. It has brought so much renewal and is a physical reminder of God’s goodness and beauty in pain. It also is something positive in the midst of loss!

LISA

What has the journey of LSKF been like so far?

My journey with the LSK Foundation has been incredible, joyful, and humbling at the same time. In some ways it’s been a continuation of a life journey, marked by God revealing Himself in many ways and through so many people. It’s been an honor and a privilege to meet others from all walks of life that have helped us from the beginning to make this happen. I’ve loved working with Lauren and Ashley, our advisers, donors, sponsors and especially the women that we have been able to serve and hopefully improve their life journeys. For those women that wear a prosthesis and desire it to look real and natural, it’s more than exciting to see how this gift can change the way they feel loved.

How did you know that you were called to be a part of LSKF?

As in most life journeys, years of experience can be the best teacher and often our “calling” is completely unexpected. It was over 30 years after my accident at age 16 that I began to ask the Lord if He could use my specific story to help any women of any age that had experienced limb loss. I had never even met another female that had experienced anything similar to my story. I had no idea until attending a retreat started by Bethany Hamilton and Lauren in 2013 that there are many girls and women that were also experiencing the same kind of struggles, fears, isolation, and insecurities that I had much of my life and had also never met anyone who could relate. As the Lord gave Lauren, Ashley and I the same vision for serving women with prostheses, He also showed us that this was a unique way to encourage, love, and listen to their hearts and their stories. I am so grateful to be able to watch the recipients of LSKF so far and share in their excitement and hope for the future.

What is your biggest prayer for the future of LSKF?

My prayer for the LSK Foundation is to not only provide the opportunity for many more girls and women to have a beautiful prosthesis if they so desire, but also just to be there for those that have experienced limb loss, with or without a prosthesis. As we share our stories and life experiences, I pray that  the Author of our stories receives all of the glory.

ASHLEY 

What is your favorite part about being part of LSKF?

It’s really hard to put into words the impact that LSKF has had on my life. Before getting to know Lauren and Lisa, I hadn’t even met many women who had lost a limb, much less be able to call them friends. The LSK foundation has revealed an amazing community of women that I am so grateful to know, and who we are so blessed to be able to serve. It’s such a comfort to share a life experience with them and truly demonstrates to me how the Lord cares for us in ways we could never imagine.

Why is the foundation so near and dear to your heart?

In addition to the amazing community it has fostered, seeing the joy that having a beautiful prosthesis brings to these women is like no other experience. Each step in the process is so worth the day we get to gift the final prostheses and see their faces light up in amazement. I love getting to be a part of something that represents hope and healing, not just from a physical standpoint, but also spiritually. Through the gift of these silicone coverings, it is our prayer that our recipients know and experience the love of Jesus Christ who is our ultimate comforter and healer.

Tell us about the dynamic between you, Lisa, and Lo! How fun is it working on this mission together?

Since we’re all in different cities, we put in a lot of phone time! We each have different gifts that really allow us to work so well together. I’m the painfully honest task master of the crew 🤣 and am thankfully balanced out by Lo’s sweet disposition and Lisa’s gracious spirit.

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