Girls on Food

Beauty

Los Angeles Mom-To-Be: Julianne’s Top Pregnancy Picks

I’m officially 39 weeks down and I’m ready to pop!

Prepping for the birth of my first baby (it’s a girl!) was already pretty stressful but I wanted to share some of my discoveries that made my LA pregnancy relatively smooth.

BEST BABY PREP AND EDUCATION

Even after I read What to Expect While You’re Expecting, I still felt so overwhelmed about my upcoming birthing process. Like many others, I tend to learn better by having a teacher go through everything with me. I won’t mention the name of my health insurance provider, but after taking one of their complimentary workshops, which consisted of watching a dated promotional video with a nurse who just seemed “over it,” I decided I needed to find something more welcoming.

Photo by Morgan Pansing

I heard about Loom, a childbirth education center, from a friend of mine, who even after her childbirth still takes development classes there. After touring the minimalist (but still warm and welcoming) center in the Mid-Wilshire part of LA, I instantly felt so much more comfortable here.

I have taken both the Prepped and Accelerated classes and the Infant Feeding Basics class. What I like about these classes is that the instructors teach in a way that’s approachable, there’s no such thing as a “stupid question” and you’re encouraged to share what you’re going through. The sharing is is building the growing parent community there.

From taking these classes I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I’m so much more prepped for the big push!

Use promo code GOFXLOOM10 to deduct 10% from the cost of any class or service, valid until 5/16/18

BEST ONLINE MATERNITY SAVE AND SPLURGE 

Ingrid & Isabel, my favorite maternity clothing, has 2 different lines available. The line that I would consider a “splurge” is available at select boutiques (like Mom’s The Word, in the Beverly Grove area) and the “less expensive” but still super stylish line is available at Target. I stocked up on items from both and had plenty of chic but comfortable options.

My favorite items are in the image above
Cozy Wrap
Active Legging with Crossover Panel

BEST BABY SHOWER LOCATION

So here’s the thing—I did not plan my baby shower—it was a total surprise! I don’t have much to compare baby shower locations to, but I can note that this beats any baby shower at a house. This surprise party planned was by my mom, my best friend Marcie and #plusonebae and they nailed it with the location at The Culver Hotel. I’m a regular here, so I was stunned that they were able to keep it so secretive!

The party was held in The Studio, a part of the Parisian Room, which is elegant and perfect for a smaller gathering. The food and beverages were served buffet style with bottomless mimosas for everyone (except me!). The brunch service was prompt and attentive, and our server was kind enough to take many pictures of the whole gang together without

BEST FOOD DELIVERY SERVICE 

I decided to test out a couple of delivery box services and my favorite so far has been one of the leading services, Blue Apron. Meal prep boxes are great for busy weeknight meals, especially when it’s just me at home cooking for one. It’s also a great way to shake up your cooking routine, cause as much as I love being in the kitchen, I suffered from “pregnancy brain” during all of this! I just wanted to pick something up and eat it rather have to come up with a menu—but with Blue Apron, that’s taken care of for you!

Whole Grain Pasta & Beef Bolognese with Romaine Salad (relax, that’s just juice to the left)

My favorite meal that I cooked from this box was the Whole Grain Pasta and Beef Bolognese. The serving size says 2, but it was much more ample than that.

I realized from testing Blue Apron during pregnancy that my husband and I will be using this delivery system when I’m nursing, cause I’m positive I will need a break from coming up with my own recipes!

 Blue Apron- Get $40 Off Your First 2 Boxes!

BEST SWEET TOOTH CURBER

I picked up my first batch of Bare Snacks at my local Target and fell in love with all the different flavors! These treats are oven-baked when the fruits are at their ripest, bringing out the best flavors. They’re also non-gmo and B-corp certified. My favorite fruit chips were the Chocolate Coconut Chips, made with unsweetened coco powder and sweetened with coconut nectar. The Granny Smith Apple Chips were also tart perfection.

BEST ITEM I HAD NO CLUE I NEEDED

I learned (from my Prepped and Accelerated class at Loom) that it helps during labor to utilize a balance ball. Upon a run to T.J. Maxx, I got lucky and found a Gaiam Balance Ball Chair and I’ve been straightening my core and pelvic floor while running Girls on Food during the day.

Image via Amazon

It’s very easy to start slouching during pregnancy, since you’re carrying so much more weight than usual and I would say that this helped prevent my posture from getting too slouchy. I also didn’t struggle with my back as much as other moms have complained to me about.

BEST FACE OIL

I wish I could give my baby girl the credit for my glow, but I should actually credit Josie Maran’s Argan Moonstone Drops Makeup Priming and Highlighting Oil. I started using face oils when I noticed my usually dewy skin was getting a bit dry (common in pregnancy).

Image via Sephora

Not only is the lemongrass fragrance lightweight and doesn’t clash with my other perfumes, the holographic glow didn’t break me out at all! My skin texture has improved a lot since I started using this oil, and I plan to continue use after pregnancy.

BEST “SOFT COCKTAILS”

Peter Piper

First off, major props to Nomad Hotel for not calling them “mocktails”! LA’s latest renovated historical landmark (love the art deco) has a fantastic array of soft cocktails in addition to their fantastic bites. There are 6 different soft cocktail options and my favorite was the Peter Piper, with pineapple, lime, black pepper, passionfruit and white balsamic vinegar. It was everything I’d imagine a pregnancy craving cocktail would be, due to the tartness of it. So if you have a mom-to-be in your life, you must take her here!

 Be sure to follow Girls on Food on Instagram @girlsonfoodblog

DIY Solid Perfume For a Girl on Food

Scent is inextricably linked to the acts of cooking and eating. My nose tells me when the onions are getting ready to caramelize and it warns me that if I don’t take that skillet off the heat, right this second, the pecans will be beyond toasted. As a child I would rub vanilla extract behind my ears for “perfume.”

Recently, I decided to experiment with DIY solid perfume. I wanted to capture some of my favorite food scents into wearable form! I asked Julianne what she thought a “signature scent” might be for Girls on Food. She suggested notes of juicy blackberry, warm and spicy Kentucky bourbon with a whisper of freshly-ground coffee…it was spot on.

I’ve created combinations like Madagascar vanilla and bourbon (a classic and delicious pairing) fig, grapefruit and rhubarb. Want to make your own? All you need is some beeswax pastilles or bars, a carrier oil (I used sweet almond oil), essential oils of your choice and some tins. Before I settled on these tins, I recycled mint tins. I’ve also ordered some vintage lockets from eBay and filled them with a few teaspoons of perfume. Instant wearable perfume in a variety of ways. It’s up to you! Get creative. I even ordered some cute sticker labels!

It sounds complicated, but it’s really not. To make the base, you melt the beeswax and almond oil together over a double boiler (I use a glass bowl set over a saucepan), take it off the heat, add drops of essential oils and pour it into the container of your choice.

The Girls on Food blend is sweet and fruity without being overpowering. The Kentucky bourbon and coffee are warm, earthy, and spicy. Read on for the recipe and create your own signature scent.

DIY Solid Perfume

Ingredients

  • 1/2 ounce beeswax (one half of a 1-ounce bar)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet almond oil
  • 50-60 drops essential oils of your choice
  • tins of your choice

Instructions

  1. Melt beeswax and almond oil together in a glass bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.
  2. When wax is totally melted, remove the bowl from the heat.
  3. Stir in your essential oils.
  4. Carefully pour into tins.
  5. Put tops on the tins quickly and carefully, without disturbing the mixture.
  6. Let perfume set for 10 minutes or until it is solid.

Thai-Mexican Fine Dining in Acapulco: Zibú

In the middle of one of the most dangerous roads in Acapulco sits one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to Zibú, Thai-Mexican fine cuisine with the most beautiful Caribbean like atmosphere. The mesmerizing views of Acapulco Bay, fantastic service, and delicious food makes going to this place a memorable experience that you’ll want to repeat as much as possible. I’ve been quite a few times myself and even spent New Year’s Eve that at an awesome party. 

Zibú
Avenida Escenica S/N, Fraccionamiento Glomar, Pichilingue, 39887, Acapulco, Guerrero

This last time I went for a romantic date with bae. He had never been before, so I took him by the hand and guided him through the most delicious dishes of Zibú. The entrance of the restaurant is hard to find because the only thing you see, even more so if you go at night, are a few steps, the sign of the restaurant, and the valet. As you take a few steps down, you meet with the hostess under a beautiful palapa, right next to a rustic bonfire. I would suggest making a reservation, they are on Open Table, and they tend to book quickly, they also host events as well, so sometimes half of the restaurant is unavailable. For instance, the time I went, there was a wedding reception. But as a customer, you would never know, the only reason I knew was that my sister was a part of the wedding. As I said before the restaurant has different sections and private rooms that the regular customer would never be aware, once I saw one of their smaller rooms filled with roses and candles for a proposal once, so special.

Anyway back to me! As I was trying to show my boyfriend the best of the best we had quite the big dinner. We started with the amazingly delicious Camarones Sol y Sombra (Sun and Shadow Shrimp), it consists of six grilled shrimp placed on top of a mirror of mango sauce, the sun, and tamarind sauce, the shadow. It was not only delicious but amusing. As you can tell from the picture, it comes with veggies, mashed potatoes, and rice which is mostly carbs and neutral flavored so that they absorb the sauce to give the protein a beautiful complement. It can be sweet or sour or mix both sauces and get the best of both worlds. It’s a very well rounded dish, just delicious.

Camarones Sol y Sombra
Arroz Oriental
We then ordered Arroz Oriental and the Chicken Pad Thai. The rice has a colorful seasoning, ginger butter, and Thai red pepper, also a variety of seafood: shrimp, octopus, calamari, and lobster. If you like paella this is an interesting twist. It was delicious. Next up the chicken pad Thai, personally I love the texture of noodles and these were just perfect, the flavors of this dish were less bitter and more sweet with a hint of spice. Honestly, the food and the service were so good that we were planning on when our next visit should be.
Chicken Pad Thai 
Selva Mextai
As full as we were we could not miss dessert, this is one of those places that you can’t leave with out trying to fill your body with the biggest amount of food you’re capable. After a few minutes, we both agreed on getting the Selva Mextai. The description of the dish leaves out an ingredient on purpose, and even if you ask the waiter what it is, he won’t tell you, he will tell you though that you’ll have to guess after you try it. It was fun, we have no allergies, and we were curious, so we got it without fully knowing what to expect, and I’m glad we did. The coconut ice cream was fantastic, buttery and tasted just like an iced coconut. It did not have a hint of artificial flavors, and the dulce de leche made up for a great companion to eat. The mystery fried vegetable surrounding our dessert, well I can’t tell you, you’ll have to guess once you’re there!

Camille Beckman Glycerine Hand Therapy: The Perfect Hand Lotion For a Girl on Food

Anyone who cooks (and gardens) knows the wear and tear that our hands endure to make a good meal. As a food blogger, we take it to the next level to get the best shot through hours of wear and tear on our lovely selfs. On top of it, some shots require our hands to be models. Luckily, there’s hydrating and effective lotion out there willing to rise to the hands-on challenge.

Camille Beckman Hand Therapy

Let’s break down this hand lotion brand, shall we?

When I sat down to dive into Camille Beckman’s Glycerine Hand Therapy, I enlisted the help of my significant other! For one, he’s a winemaker, and that alone in itself is amazing. But in all seriousness, as a winemaker, he has a great nose! The best part: It was a blind smell test. I had him smell the lotion before and after I applied to see what he thought. And while I’m at it, I think a man’s input is well worth while and underrated for what they enjoy smelling on a woman. When in doubt ladies, just ask.

What We Found

Camille 

Camille Beckman

I had two lotions to work with which made this even more fun and exciting. We started off with Camille, the signature, and his first initial reaction was a lemon, blossom, and cucumber after it had settled we both agreed it had a soothing flower blossom finish and felt very comforting. I was personally impressed with how soft my skin felt for someone that washes her hands multiple times a day and it didn’t feel oily in any way. So far I was intrigued.

Secret Sea

Secret Sea

I was extra impressed with my man’s nose for this one, Secret Sea. He immediately picked up almond and said it reminded him of being by the sea. I had to look him like, “Did you cheat?” Luckily he’s an honest man, and it got me thinking on how these lotions capture everything I’m looking for in a worthwhile hand therapy.

At this point, I went from being intrigued to impressed. It’s not every day you not only find a lotion that not only works but also matches the scent to the brand name. The fragrance is there, and the cream is effective.  For someone like myself that has a garden and cooks on the daily, I definitely see myself having these lotions strategically placed throughout my house and purse.

My Bay Area Garden

Garden

The best part…it doesn’t take much and lasts for hours!

5 Little Known Healthy Food Hacks

5 little known health hacks

A line-up of all my favorite health and beauty products☝️ ? ?

Like, if I was on a deserted island and I could only bring five things with me, these would be them (except maybe the coconut products if there are coconuts on said deserted island ? but even then I probably still would).

You probably already know how healthy these items are – like the healing properties of turmeric when used as a spice, or replacing regular table salt with Himalayan pink salt, or that coconut oil is not only great for cooking but as a moisturizer too!

But these superfoods have other health benefits that you may not be aware of ?so I have a list of my five favorite little-known health hacks that are crazy easy to incorporate into your life.

himalayan pink salt

Add a pinch of unrefined sea salt to your water bottle

  • It helps your body use the water more efficiently. I use my Himalayan pink salt – you can find excellent brands at Ross and Marshalls for super cheap! Don’t worry; it doesn’t make your water taste salty at all ?

non bpa packaging

Look for bottles/cans with the “BPA-free” logo

  • Even as a super health freak, for the longest time I didn’t know how damaging BPA was and that I should look for bottles and cans that were BPA free. BPA is a chemical found in food cans and plastic bottles that can get into your body and wreak havoc. Many brands now have BPA free logos on their products, just look closely because they can be hard to spot. They’ll probably be a little more expensive than the regular BPA ridden products, but it’s definitely worth the cost!

apple cider vinegar

Consume a little apple cider vinegar before eating cooked foods

  • It will help your body break down the foods and absorb the nutrients better. If it’s a starchy meal, the apple cider vinegar will assist the starches you don’t digest in feeding the good bacteria in your gut. It can also reduce blood sugar spikes after eating and contribute to reducing food cravings. Make sure you buy a brand like Braggs that is organic, non-gmo, raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized, and with the ‘mother.’ I take a cap full before my meals, but most people prefer diluting it with water. You can also use it as a salad dressing or in your cooking.

Make a turmeric toothpaste

  • I don’t do this as often as I would like because it’s super messy but it’s also very effective. Just take a little bit of organic coconut oil (you only need about 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp) and add organic ground turmeric until you have a toothpaste consistency. Brush your teeth and gums for two minutes and rinse. Not only will it naturally whiten your teeth, but as an anti-inflammatory it will also get rid of unwanted bacteria and soothe any problems areas in your mouth.

organic coconut milk

Swap your regular coffee creamer with full-fat coconut milk

  • Even “healthy” coffee creamers with the best of intentions will contain processed ingredients and chemicals. Since I drink coffee on the daily, I wanted something completely all natural that would benefit my health. As a vegan, I want to make sure I’m getting those healthy fats, so buying cans (BPA free of course!) of full-fat coconut milk is the perfect solution plus it makes my coffee taste amazing ☕️.  I buy the Native Forest brand from my local health foods store because it’s the least processed with only two ingredients. I store the extra coconut milk in a sealed container in the fridge, and it stays good for 6-7 days.

Here are a few bonus hacks:

  • Have a mug of warm water with fresh lemon juice when you wake up. It will flush the toxins out of your body and prep that belly for all the foods you are about to ingest.
  • Wash your fresh produce with vinegar instead of dish soap. Even the “natural” dish soaps are loaded with chemicals, and you don’t want those getting all over your foods.
  • Reduce your exposure to harmful electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from your cell phone and laptop by using a product like QLink. You just stick the QLink on your device, and it works its magic.

These are all easy, healthy hacks to add to your daily routine that doesn’t require a lot of effort and won’t break the bank. The health of you and your loved ones are worth it! ?

Jillian ?

Friday Faves!: The 5 Best All-Natural Oils For Your Face

I don’t know about you, but I get really excited talking about oils ? ?

In a day and age when companies market their over processed, chemical-ridden skincare products as “all natural,” “moisturizing,” “anti-aging,” and so on, it is nice to know I can depend on plants to save the day. ? As a vegan, I depend on plants for food, and they provide all the nourishment I need. But they are also the safest and most effective choice when it comes to skincare. For thousands of years, people used plants as medicine – and it worked. But today, consumers want eye-catching packaging, famous spokespeople, and great marketing. It’s all smoke and mirrors. Do your research and you will realize that none of those products are actually good for your skin, in fact, some of them are terrible for your skin and your whole body.

If you go to my Health & Beauty page, you can read my Be Beautiful Inside and Out series, that discusses what ingredients to stay away from and why, as well as the importance of picking humane beauty products that are not animal tested, and how chemicals infiltrate every part of our lives.

It is overwhelming to realize how much junk is in the products you may have been purchasing and using for years. I’m guilty of it myself. I now use all natural oils on my face each morning and night as my moisturizer, and my face feels like a baby ?

Here are my picks for the best five oils to use as moisturizers for your face:

rosehip oil

ROSEHIP OIL – Roses are good for more than just bouquets and smelling good ?? ? Harvested from the seeds of rose bushes predominately from Chile, rosehip oil is full of vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. What does this mean for your skin? It hydrates dry, itchy skin, reduces scarring and fine lines and corrects dark spots. It’s a very light, non-greasy oil that has the subtlest smell of roses. I found this bottle of organic, cold pressed rosehip oil at Marshalls for 50% off.

Takeaway: if you suffer from acne scars, dry skin, fine lines, or any other skin issues, rosehip oil is for you. Even if you have great skin, this oil is the perfect all natural moisturizer. You can also use it as a hair treatment and on your nails. 

oregano oil

OREGANO OIL – I’d heard of oil of oregano before, but never realized that oregano oil was different or that it was a great facial oil! In fact, it’s great for a lot of uses. It took me six months to figure out why I had suddenly acquired red, flaky, dry skin on my face. I have something called seborrheic dermatitis, which is a chronic, inflammatory skin disorder. I wanted to find a homeopathic way to maintain it, and oregano oil was suggested as a moisturizer because it’s good for sensitive skin, but it also fights bacteria. I bought mine off Etsy, from a woman who grows the oregano in her garden and because oregano oil is so strong, make sure it’s diluted with a carrier oil, like olive oil or jojoba oil.

Takeaway: If you have skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, acne, or other fungal/bacterial infections, this is your oil. It can also be used for cold sores, muscle aches, nail fungus, joint pain, and dandruff. If taken orally, it can help boost your immune system, especially during cold and allergy season.

coconut oil

COCONUT OIL – Coconut Oil for President 2016 ?? I wish that were a real thing because I’d vote for it. Coconut oil is all the rage right now, for good reason. I’m a big fan of anything coconut and during my trip to the beaches of Vietnam, I couldn’t get enough of the fresh coconuts there. Case in point: I bought this little jar of coconut oil at the airport in Vietnam before I left. Coconuts are full of protein and fatty acids that nourish the skin and delay the aging process. And just like oregano oil, it contains bacteria-fighting properties.

Takeaway: Another excellent option for people with psoriasis, acne, and eczema. A little bit of coconut oil goes a long way. You don’t need much; otherwise, you risk clogging your pores. I only use it a couple of times a week before I go to bed. It’s great as an all over body moisturizer (instead of using processed lotions), makeup remover, lip balm, and hair treatment. Also makes a great cooking oil, just make sure you’re using a different jar, so you don’t run the risk of any bacteria or germs getting into your food.

neem oil

NEEM OIL – I worship neem oil ? This magical oil comes from the neem tree, found mostly in India, Southeast Asia, and parts of Africa. It’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Neem oil is loaded with antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamin E that contain anti-aging properties. In fact, it’s anti-everything: antiviral, anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial. Another great oil for acne and acne scars, eczema, and dry or itchy skin. Neem oil is pretty much da bomb ? I use it nearly every night. I buy the Alaffia brand at Natural Grocers.

Takeaway: All around amazing moisturizer for problem skin or otherwise. I always notice a definite difference when I wake up in the morning. It has a strong, bitter taste, so be sure to wash your hands after applying and keep away from your mouth. Can also treat nail fungus, ringworm, and athletes foot ?

booda butter

JOJOBA OIL Native Americans had been using jojoba as a skin and hair treatment long before everyone else got the memo. Due to its waxy substance, jojoba effectively seals in moisture while also blocking out external elements that can cause irritation and inflammation. Because it so closely mimics the secretion of the sebaceous glands in the skin, it helps reduce oiliness by modulating the sebum production and allowing your body’s sebum production to calm down. Jojoba can also penetrate deep down to the hair follicles in the skin and cleanse them, which often is the root of acne. I don’t have a bottle of pure jojoba oil, but I do have my beloved tin of Booda Butter, which contains a mixture of coconut, shea, jojoba, and olive oils. I use in on my hands every night, and on my face when I need a little extra moisture. About once a week I distribute it evenly throughout my hair, let it sit for about 20 minutes, then wash and condition my hair. It makes my hair fabulous ?

Takeaway: Jojoba is perfect for oily or acne prone skin, or skin that needs extra moisture. Also great for inflammatory skin problems such as eczema and seborrheic dermatitis. Aside from the skin, jojoba oil can be used for chapped lips, dry cuticles, body moisturizer, sunburn remedy, and hair treatment ✅✅

PARTING TIPS

  • Always buy organic, unrefined, cold-pressed oils. These are the highest quality, least processed, and undamaged by heat.
  • Make sure it’s not diluted with any chemicals, alcohols, or unnecessary ingredients.
  • Less is more. You don’t need to slather a ton on your face or body. Small amounts have a great effect.
  • Store in a dry, cool place.
  • Do your research to find out if certain oils expire. You don’t want to use a rancid oil on your face ?
  • You can find high-quality oils for reasonable prices at places like Natural Grocers, Marshalls, Ross, the natural section of many chain grocery stores, Whole Foods, Central Market, or your local natural foods store.

When it comes to your skin, oil is your friend ?

Jillian ?

5 best all natural oils for your face