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  • Healthy Skin, At Last

    Healthy Skin, At Last

    This one's been a long time coming.

    I haven't written very much about my struggle with acne,
    But it's a story worth telling, worth sharing, I think -
    If for no other reason than to be honest, real, and transparent
    About this piece of my wellness journey.

    My intention is to send a message of hope.
    If this helps even one person then it's totally worth it!

    Earlier this week, I posted the photos below on my Facebook page.
    They sparked a lot of interest,
    As well as many kind comments from friends, family, and even strangers.
    Thank you so much for your kinds words. XO

    Mine, it turns out, is not a rare experience.
    So many deal with acne, L O N G beyond adolescence.



    And there's a lot more where those "before" photos came from.

    A little over a year ago, I decided to commit, 100%, to finally "going natural" when it came to skincare. I documented the experience with my iPhone. All the photos are unedited and makeup-free. 

    Over the years, I've tried just about everything:

    • Prescription medications (creams, antibiotics, birth control)
    • Various specialty brands targeting acne sufferers (Proactiv, Murad, Rodan and Fields, acne.org, to name a few)
    • And, more recently, many natural concoctions (manuka honey, local raw honey, baking soda, witch hazel, aloe, lemons, egg masks, clay masks, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, oil cleansing, hot washcloth scrub, washing my pillowcase super often, and more)

    The one thing that worked for me was benzoyl peroxide, at a low percentage, applied gently and generously. Nevermind the tedious process of cleansing, toning, and applying this mask-like amount of BP. Nevermind all the discolored and ruined towels and clothing (mine and others') the BP touched. It was all worth it, you see, in order to feel confident with clear skin.

    Except here's the interesting thing that happened along the way: When I first discovered this particular method, I realized that I'd have to commit to a transition period. No makeup. Nothing to interfere with the process at all. 

    As a result, I spent many months with severe, cystic, red, painful acne, and nothing to cover it up. It was raw, dry, often painful. This was during the time I was in grad school, so I was in my mid-twenties.

    A very strong part of me decided that the people that really mattered and cared would love me as I was, and I wouldn't allow myself to wallow (too long) in the emotional pain of acne. Instead, I would focus on school, studying, learning, and connecting with my nursing school friends.

    The result? Back then, in my mind, the miracle of that experience was that my skin finally did clear up. And with persistent BP use, it stayed mostly clear for a good long while!

    However, the true beauty of that time was that I learned to be more-than-ok with myself, to accept myself, to share myself with others (and not hide), and to face the world head-on, despite the pain/embarrassment.

    People saw past the acne. Some, I think, didn't even see it at all, once they got to know me. 

    That was the greatest lesson I learned.
    And it would come back to me years later, when I decided to go natural.

    My own health journey is an interesting one. Ups and downs and ups. 

    But the most significant changes have come about as a result of embracing a plant-based lifestyle. I eat mostly (not all) plants, and I also turn to plants (most of the time) to further support my body, mind, and spirit.

    Through study, education, and experience, I've become acutely aware of the dangers of toxins in our environments. Unfortunately, this can be an especially ever-present and overwhelming challenge when it comes to skincare.

    Nonetheless, as the great Maya Angelou said, "When you know better, do better."

    And, guys, I knew better.

    I'd read about the many carcinogenic, endocrine-disrupting, system-disturbing chemicals in the products I was using. But I'd been too scared to stop doing what had finally worked to keep my skin clear.

    THE CAVEMAN METHOD

    In my quest to find something natural + effective, I stumbled upon the life-changing concept of "the caveman method", through this gal. She embraced a holistic approach, with a lot of natural support along the way. Great information on gut health, diet, stress, and other crucial pieces of the puzzle!

    The thing was, I'd already addressed those pieces.

    But what was most fascinating to me was the cavement method she talked about. Want to know what it's all about? 

    Well, let me start by saying it sounded terrifying! But when you're desprate to make a change, you're willing to give "crazy" ideas a go!

    Here's the idea: There is a very fine, slightly acidic outer layer of our skin called the acid mantle. When it maintains a healthy pH, the acid mantle helps to naturally protect the skin from bacteria and other potential contaminants. 

    But guess what screws with the acid mantle and disrupts its perfect pH? All those funky products we've been using on our skin for years!

    In a nutshell, that's the basis for the caveman method:

    Stop putting things (especially all the unnatural products, soaps, lotions, magic potions, etc.) on your face, let the acid mantle return to balance, and watch what happens.

    In my case: M A G I C

    Did I have to embrace a transition period again?
    Yes. But I could see the gradual change over time.

    Was I able to handle it better this time around?
    Yes, I'd learned a lot from that first go-round.

    Did I stop washing my face?
    Yes! Just a little splash of water in the shower/after working out.

    Did I stop putting products on my face?
    Yes! (So liberating, and money-saving!)

    And did my skin clear up?
    Yesssss, my friends! It did!


    So do I still follow this method?
    Pretty much! I now use some very natural and gentle oils to soothe, nourish, and hydrate my skin. Just a little dab here and there is all I need. I'm keeping things super natural, super clean, and very high vibe. Quality is key.

    The best part was knowing that I was no longer putting funky chemicals on my body. And the even better part was watching, slowly, as my skin returned to balance and cleared up, which you can see in the photos above. The human body is truly an amazing thing!

    Today, I have a new level of respect for my skin. I love it and celebrate it. I thank it for taking care of itself and me. I trust myself to give my body the things it needs to return to balance. And I don't mind if a little blemish pops up here and there. I know that, if I leave it alone, it will go away quickly. 

    Please feel free to share my story. And also to reach out if you'd like to connect personally for more support.

    There's so much we can do to help our bodies do what they are naturally meant to do.

    Sending you love + hope + hugs on this journey.

  • Metta Meditation + Things I'm Grateful For

    Metta Meditation + Things I'm Grateful For

    In yoga class last night, 
    The flow was good. Very good.
    But the message was even better.
    And the timing was perfect.
    Brittni led us through a loving-kindness meditation.
    Metta meditation.

    Not familiar?

    The Greater Good Science Center, out of the University of California Berkeley, describes loving-kindess (or "metta") meditation as the simple practice of directing well-wishes towards other people

    And also yourself.

    It's a simple, yet powerful way to feel happier, pump up the positivity, get yourself on a trajectory of growth, feel more connected, and even change the way you approach life! 

    Pretty awesome, eh? 

    How does it work? You simply direct kind, loving feelings to yourself, others (those you love, as well as those you've been feeling tension/negativity towards), and finally, all beings everywhere. It only take a few minutes to do, and it's something anyone can do - including the little ones!

    Check out this awesome video to get a better feel for how this works!

    I'd gone into class feeling some tension about something (doesn't matter what) someone (doesn't matter who) had said earlier this week. And the metta meditation was exactly what I'd needed.

    It left me feeling peace, ease, perspective, compassion, and love for the person who'd been weighing on my mind. It felt like a weight had been lifted: Free from the negativity and the tension. Ready and able to move on. 

    And that's where the gratitude comes in.

    To me, gratitude is like a reality check.
    Yeah, things may be crazy at times.
    Life may feel really hard.
    And it may seem silly to stop and think about what you're grateful for. 

    But I've found that, especially in those most challenging moments, when we take the time to focus on what's good in our lives (love, friendship, being brave, overcoming fear, telling your story, time to listen, being heard, sitting in the sunshine, making a big change, a hug, a hand, doing what's right), something incredible happens.

    A shift.
    And a lightness. 
    And over time, it grows. 


    So I invite you to pause for a moment today.
    Or even a few times today!
    To direct some metta at yourself, the people in your life, and the world. 
    Lord knows we can (all) always use more loving-kindness.

    Maybe even start a list!

    I'll kick things off with 5 big things I'm feeling especially grateful for this morning:

    • Love in my life.
      From family and friends.
      People who lift me up, cheer me on, and genuinely care.
      I am so grateful for you.
    • Community.
      My tribe.
      And there are many, actually.
      This one is forever shifting and expanding.
      But the magic that happens when you connect with people who "get" you is hard to describe. 
      And I am so grateful for this.
    • Meaningful work.
      The opporunity to do soemthing that lights me up and makes me feel alive.
      With food, natural health, self-care, supporting, educating, empowering.
      But most of all: People
      For this I am massively grateful.
    • My Health.
      The ability to breathe clearly, move freely, dance, stretch, run, relax, travel, and snuggle.
      These were not always things I could easily do.
      And I cherish them now more than ever.
    • And even: The Hard Stuff
      Because it's shaped and molded me into who I am today.
      It's an excellent teacher.
      I am stronger, clearer, and more confident in who I am and what I'm capable of because of the challenges.

    And you? What are you thankful for right now?


    Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers!

    Wherever you may find yourselves today,

    May you be happy,
    May you be healthy,
    May you be safe,
    May you be peaceful,
    And may you be at ease.

    Katie
    XO

  • Essential Oils: 5 Simple Faves for Home + Beauty

    Essential Oils: 5 Simple Faves for Home + Beauty

    When you think of essential oils, what comes to mind?

    A massage, maybe? Aromatherapy? When a friend first introduced me to oils, I had no idea how much they would change my life. I was simply looking for a way to go more "natural" when it came to the many products I was using. To simplify. 

    What I discovered was a whole new way to take care of myself, my family (and friends!), and our home. They are soothing, cleansing, calming, supportive, energizing, protective, and balancing to mind, body, and spirit -- and beyond. Their uses are seemingly endless. You will be amazed at the power of pure, exceptionally high quality essential oils.

    But for now, I'd like to introduce you to just a few: My top five must-have essential oils for home and beauty! They are: Lemon, Lavender, Melaleuca, a special blend of protective oils I love, and Frankincense.

    LEMON

    Lemon essential oil is a little bottle of joy! All of the citrus oils are! (I love Grapefruit and Orange, too!)

    Pop open the top, close your eyes, and take a deep breath in. Immediately, you begin to feel uplifted. It naturally promotes positivity and cognitive ability, and it's also wonderful for both beauty and keeping your home sparkling clean. A couple simple tips:

    • HOME: Make your own multipurpose spray cleaner! Lemon cleanses and purifies the air and surfaces. Need to freshen the air? Pop some Lemon in the diffuser, or make your own "Fresh Air" spray with just a simple glass spray bottle, water, and 15 drops of Lemon. (A few drops in a bowl of baking soda is super effective, too!) Bonus: Lemon essential oil is amazing for removing all things sticky, from glue to gum and even permanent marker!
    • BEAUTY: Try just 1 drop of Lemon essential oil in a big glass of water. (Stir it in to mix evenly.) It naturally cleanses the body and aids in digestion. And healthy digestion equals glowing skin - plus a whole host of other benefits! It also helps to ward off free radicals with its antioxidant properties, so drink up!

    LAVENDER

    Lavender essential oils is widely used and touted for its calming and relaxing qualities. Who couldn't use a little more of that?

    These days, with our crazy schedules and the unfortunate glorification of busy, one of the best things we most need to do for ourselves (and the people we love) is slow down. And that can be tough! Find comfort and ease in Lavender. 

    • HOME: Diffuse 3-5 drops of Lavender essential oil at bedtime to help slow things down and get ready for a restful night of sleep. Have guests coming? Go fancy on them and spritz a bit of Lavender water (mix 2 oz. of water and 10 drops of Lavender in a spray bottle) on their pillows and in their rooms. Smells aaahmazing and will ease the tensions of the day. 
    • BEAUTY: Lavender is soothing to the skin. Whether we're talking daily beauty routine (add a drop to your moisturizer for glowing skin) or a homemade after-sun balm (the absolute best thing you can use for too much sun), Lavender's got ya covered, helping skin to recover quickly. My first (and a classic favorite) combination for an all-natural deodorant that really works(!) also calls for Lavender. Dare you to give it a try - and experience how well it works for yourself.

    MELALEUCA

    Also known as Tea Tree, Melaleuca essential oil is renowned for its cleansing and rejuvenating effect on the skin. But it's also incredible for helping to freshen and purify the air. It's seemingly limitless applications have earned it the nickname of "the gentle giant". I love it for:

    • HOME: Make your toilet shine with a DIY toilet cleaner combo of 10 drops of Melaleuca, 1/2 a cup of baking soda, and a 1/4 cup of vinegar. Amazing, I tell you! (I like to add 10 drops of Lemon, too!)
    • BEAUTY: Melaleuca promotes a clear, healthy complexion. I used Melaleuca (along with Lavender) in an all-natural after Shave lotion for my husband- that he loves! Try adding a drop to your moisturizer - or even your shampoo!. It also soothes minor skin irritations. And remember: A little goes a long way! I love the combination of Lavender and Melaleuca for any of the minor skin stuff that comes along with summer - especially for the little people in our lives!

    MAKE YOUR OWN PROTECTIVE BLEND

    The gorgeous "protective" blend of Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary essential oils is a powerful, natural, and effective combo for immune support. It smells like Fall and Winter to me - spicy, warm, energizing, uplifting, and soothing - but it's wonderful year-round.

    • HOME: It's safe to use on countertops, as a non-toxic way to cleanse surfaces, or to cleanse the atmosphere by diffusing. Make your own cleanser, hand wash, air freshener, laundry detergent. I love knowing that the products I'm using in my home are non-toxic and health-supportive. Taking out the trash? Give the inside of your trashcan a spray with a simple mix of water + this blend of oils (10 drops of the blend in 2 oz. of water) combo! (I use that same spray for an on-the-go hand cleanser, too!)
    • BEAUTY: This blend is also wonderful for purifying the skin while promoting healthy circulation. Try a drop, massaged into the bottoms of your feet, each night before bed. I also love it for oral health! I use it in my toothpaste, add a drop to water to make mouthwash, and add a drop to a spoonful of sesame or coconut oil for oil pulling. 

    FRANKINCENSE

    I can't wrap up my top 5 without mentioning my favorite oil of all: Frankincense. Royal, resin, and woody, Frankincense is considered the King of Oils. Why? Among other things, it helps build and maintain a healthy immune system. It promotes cellular health, reduces the appearance of blemishes, rejuvenates skin, and promotes feelings of peace, relaxation, satisfaction, and overall wellness. Heavy hitter, right? 

    • HOME: Frankincense smells intoxicatingly wonderful - and uplifts the mood. Diffuse 3-5 drops of Frankincense (I love it with Orange, too) in your home to promote ease and emotional balance. If you meditate (it will change your life), try starting your practice with a drop of Frankincense in the palms of your hands, slowly inhaled over a few deep breaths. Or: Rub 1 drop of Frankincence under your nose and massage into the base of your skull. 
    • BEAUTY: Nourish your skin this summer (and year-round) with Frankincense. It promotes youthful, radiant looking skin and slows the signs of aging. This is the main oil I use on my skin, and I use it every single day! A drop in a carrier oil (like jojoba, coconut, or sesame) massaged into your skin (or even along with your moisturizer) is fantastic. Try a DIY clay facial mask! Talk about self-care. Smells and feels amazing!

     
    Have I piqued your interest? One thing that's absolutely crucial when it comes to oils (and most things in life!) is QUALITY - and that you're using only the highest quality of oils (pure therapeutic grade, sourced indeigenously, thorough testing) in your homes and on your bodies. 
    It's truly become a passion of mine to support people in learning how to properly use essential oils and incorporate them into their daily lives. So if YOU'd like to learn more about my favorite essential oils and try them for yourself, check out the Essential Oils section of my website - or reach out to me here. I love hearing from you!

    [Originally published on the beautiful Lenore Design!]
  • Seasonal Wellness: Top 6 Natural Solutions Here!

    Seasonal Wellness: Top 6 Natural Solutions Here!

    It's that time again. 
    But don't worry, I've got you covered!

    I feel your pain. A few years ago, I too was struggling to build and support a healthy immune and respiratory system, to combat irritating (to say the least) seasonal and environmental threats.

    After quite a bit of time experimenting with various options that made me feel foggy, sleepy, and just generally like I wasn't myself, I was fortunate enough to learn that by changing my diet, I could change a lot of other things, too. Including my health issues.

    This blew my mind. And I knew, immediately, that there was a whole world out there that I needed to explore.

    Since then, I've been on a mission to learn as much as I can about natural healthcare, and to share my experience and knowledge with others. Here, I'm sharing what I've learned about managing seasonal threats naturally.

    There is hope!
    And if you have something awesome to add, please, leave a comment. I love hearing from you!

    1 - EAT + DRINK CLEAN FOOD

    It always starts with food. That's been my experience, anyway. Transitioning to clean eating has been hugely beneficial to my overall wellness. Why? A massive portion of our immune systems is located in the gut. Clean up what you're putting in there, and you'll start to notice a shift in how you're feeling pretty quickly.

    What can you do right now? Begin to move in the direction of a whole food, plant-based diet. That doesn't mean you have to become a vegan. Or paleo. Or anthing in particular, really. But it does mean paying attention to where your food comes from and how it was grown/raised. Some of the most common triggers to avoid include processed/packaged "foods", overdosing on sugar, conventional dairy, and (for some) gluten.

    We are all different. This is the concept of bioindividuality. What makes your body feel amazing might do the complete opposite for someone else. If you think you could use some help sorting that out, consider hooking up with a health coach for a seasonal cleanse (elimination diet approach) or a few personalized sessions. Every body is unique.

    2 - SPOONFUL OF HONEY

    Wild, raw, and local, to be more specific. And just a quarter (tea)spoonful or so at first. Why? Those beautiful bees, as they're buzzing about doing their thing, pick up pollen from their environment. The result: By consuming a bit of wild, raw, local honey, a little at a time, you may help to desensitize your body to the pollen. You'll want to start with a smaller amount in the beginning and gradually work up to the full spoon.

    3 - ESSENTIAL OILS

    Until about a year ago, I had no idea how significantly these guys would change my life. When a friend of mine introduced me to essential oils, touting, specifically, their therapeutic properties, I was hesitant and skeptical at first. But I just kept hearing more and more good things about them. Eventually, wanting to really understand the why behind essential oils and their theraperic properties, I took a leap and ordered myself a kit.

    And I am so glad I did. Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint essential oils are known for their ability to support clear breathing and a healthy inflammatory response when combined together. Used by both veteran and novice essential oil users, this well-known blend is frequently diffused or mixed together for its respiratory health benefits. A little goes a long way.

    4 - HERBS & SPICES

    In conjunction with eating clean, a couple of standout herbs and spices that are really worth mentioning here are turmeric and nettle. 

    Turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin, is a phytochemical with many beneficial properties. One of my favorite simple turmeric recipes is "Turmeric Tea", from 101 Cookbooks. Super simple, soothing, and delicious.

    Nettle is another great one, as it contains ingredients believed to support a healthy inflammatory response. Used regularly, many report significant improvement. And it's wonderful for lots of other things, too. Side benefits. My preference is nettle tea from Traditional Medicinals

    5 - OIL PULLING

    Oil pulling is thousands of years old and comes from the ancient practice of Ayurveda, the science of life. I love it because it's an age-old, all natural option for improved overall oral health, clearing out toxins hiding in the mouth and sinus cavities, combatting seasonal threats, supporting a healthy respiratory system, and freshening breath.

    I also love how simple it is. All you need is oil! Coconut, sesame, and olive oils are great options. But stick with the cleanest, most natural version you can get your hands on. 

    How does it work? The fat cells in the oil pull out the bacteria and other harmful toxins from your saliva and around your teeth, tongue, and gums. It’s super easy, painless, safe, and affordable. See the simpe how-to right on over here.

    6 - BREAK OUT THE NETI POT

    The neti pot is another old standby when it comes to respiratory health. The concept is simple: Flush out the problem before your body's had time to mount a major attack. Most folks recommend using the neti pot morning and night to most effectively clear the invading substance(s). 

    Have you explored any of these natural options for combatting seasonal and environmental threats? Any others you swear by and would love to add? Please share, if you like. I love reading your recommendations!

  • DIY Perfume for Mother's Day

    DIY Perfume for Mother's Day

    Make Your Own Perfume

    More than likely, the "fragrances" in your favorite perfume, body spray, shampoo, deodorant, and so many of the wildly popular store bought self care items are not as natural as  we'd like to think. What we might think is Lavender, for example, is very likely a chemical concoction meant to make us think we're smelling real Lavender. Synthetic fragrances are everywhere, and unfortunately, they're no good for our bodies. Beyond messing with our endocrine systems (throwing our hormones out of whack), they can also cause allergic reactions and sensitivities that can result in sneezing, rashes, runny noses, dry skin, and more. 

    These days, I'm all about the 100% pure, natural options. And essential oils have given me just that. The peace of mind that comes from knowing exactly what I'm putting in and on my body makes me feel extra awesome about all the amazing DIY self/skin/body-care stuff I've been whipping up. Plus, it's super fun!

    With Mother's Day right around the corner, I'm thinking this little combo will be the perfect gift - along with some homemade chocolate, of course! Feel free to give it a go yourselves:

    Ingredients
    10 drops Vetiver essential oil

    20 drops Fennel essential oil
    15 drops Orange essential oil
    Spring water or alcohol* (I used an organic vodka)

    *Alcohol will help to meld and preserve the scents.

    Instructions

    • Add essential oils first. For best results, allow just the essential oils to sit in the container for a couple of days. This will help them mix and meld nicely.
    • Top off with water (or alcohol). 
    • Shake well. Allowing everything to sit for a couple weeks will help everything meld together, allowing the alcohol scent to fade and oils to intensify.

    If you'd like to learn more about the essential oils I love the most, just shoot me an email! Happy Mother's Day, mama friends!!

  • Travelogue: Tulum

    Travelogue: Tulum

    We're back! 

    A couple months ago, Eddie and I decided it was time to get away. Time for a little rest + relaxation.

    Ever since full-time entrepreneur life began, I've had a hard time closing my laptop and focusing on taking care of me. Why? I love the work!

    But I've learned that it's completely up to me to set these self-care parameters for myself, and it will only get better with practice.

    We both agreed that we needed sunshine, and we didn't really feel like doing too much. Just needed a place to park ourselves and stop go, go, going all the time. Unplug. 

    The solution? Tulum, way down along the east coast of the Yucatán peninsula in beautiful Quintana Roo, México. Home of the Mayan walled city of the same name (pictured above). And, I was told, a fairly holistically-minded type of place.

    Awesomely, Southwest Airlines is offering non-stop flights from BWI to Cancún these days, so we cashed in some miles and started making plans.

    Well, mainly Eddie made the plans. Don't get me wrong: I was DEFinitely psyched! I love México. It's mi segunda patria. It's where my love of Spanish and all things Latin American culture began.

    But I didn't really get involved until the day before we left. That's when I happened upon the New York Times article 36 Hours in Tulum. And got really excited!

    We pretty much always find places to stay using Airbnb. If you haven't tried them yet, you really must. Best tip: Find places with excellent ratings - and a lot of them. It's kind of hard to go wrong (knock on wood) with that approach. And especially if you've got a bit of an adventurer's spirit, I bet you'll love it. 

    The first two nights, we stayed inland. In a hut. In the jungle. With two of the most lovely people (and hosts) we've come across!

    Elisa and Alfredo are kind, caring, gifted people. Both artists, but in different ways. Everything about them is so genuine and warm. They've created a beautiful space, tucked away in the trees, barely visible from the dirt road that leads you there.

    We stayed in the Mayan Room, a small hut constructed in the traditional Mayan style. Gorgeous, simple, everything you need.

    You sleep in a hammock or on the floor and see by candlelight (and flashlight) at night. Oh - and walk to a separate bathroom/shower hut across the property, complete with a super eco-friendly composting toilet. Very cool!

    In addition to being a joy to talk to, Elisa and Alfredo also cooked us delicious food, gave us wonderful fresh mango and papaya in the morning, introduced us to café de olla, and even shared an impressive home-brewed stout (compliments to Elisa) with us. 

    We hope we'll see them again one day. So very grateful for their hospitality. Books they recommended checking out, in case you're heading their way anytime soon are:

    Diego de Landa, RELACION DE LAS COSAS DE YUCATAN 
    Sylvanus Morley, THE ANCIENT MAYA

    If you ever find yourself in the Tulum region, definitely make time for a trip to the ruins of the city of Cobá.

    You'll be tempted to skip it and just visit the more popular seaside Tulum ruins, but trust me, you'll be glad you made the trip.

    Less crowded, much more to see, lovely tree-lined streets.

    You can walk, rent bikes, or hire a bike taxi to get around. And here, unlike at Tulum, you're still allowed to climb the big pyramid, which (at its peak) is the highest point on the peninsula.

    On your way out of Cobá, ask the guy at the entrance for a ticket to Multun Há, which Eddie has declared his favorite of all the cenotes. (Another recommendation from Alfredo and Elisa - thank you!)

    What the heck is a cenote? It's a sinkhole, more or less, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes fresh, azure-blue groundwater below.

    The guy will sell you a ticket and give you a map. It's not far from the ruins.

    Once there, you'll walk down three stories of a wooden spiral staircase (into a hole in the ground, essentially) before it opens up to one of the coolest scenes you've seen. 

    Just wow. These picture don't even do it justice. 

    Rent a mask and snorkel and hang out for as long as you like. We practically had the place to ourselves. Amazing!

    Back in Tulum, over on the beach side, we hit up some pretty great spots for food.

    Zamas, with tables practically on the beach, was the perfect start the second half of our trip. Eddie got the famous huevos rancheros and I got fresh pressed green juice (with a base of chaya, somewhat similar to spinach), and fruit with homemade yogurt and granola. YUM!

    With full bellies, we headed to the Tulum ruins. I'd been to this part of México twice before and am embarrassed to say I never went to see Tulum. (Too busy sipping fruity frozen beverages by the sea. Shameful.)

    Tulum is beautiful, but it was somewhat painfully hot and crowded. If you're going, go early (or late) to miss the crowds and scorching sun. And probably best to hire a guide! They seem to have a wealth of information to share.

    Since leaving teaching, the details I once remembered about this gorgeous place have gone foggy. I really wish I'd read those books Alfredo and Elisa recommended before getting to México! Time to backtrack, I guess. :)

    We ended our trip to the ruins with a swim (Eddie did - I forgot my suit) and homemade popcicles of mango and coconut. Perfectly refreshing doesn't even begin to describe them! Ahhh.

    Our next stop was lunch at the fabulous Restaurare, a popular vegan restaurant we'd read about in the New York Times article. It did not disappoint! I got fresh pressed cucumber and mint juice and Eddie ordered a local craft beer called Akumal.

    The food was phenomenal: Mushroom ceviche, a gorgeous seasonal veggie dish, and loads and loads of mole. When in México!


    Our second Airbnb rental, a Treetop Cabana deep within the biosphere of Sian Ka'an, was the next stop.

    To get there, you've got to get to the very end of the main drag in Tulum, and then just keep on driving down a (seemingly endless) dirt road.

    For nearly an hour.

    It's pretty far out there. Which was exactly what we needed.


    The place was just perfect.

    Right on the beach.

    Beautiful views.

    Sea breeze.

    Warm water.

    Fresh fruit, corn tortillas, and limonadas every dang day.

    A private bathroom.

    AND you didn't even have to get out of bed to see the sunrise! 

    We were very happy.

    And yes, that had a lot to do with the fact that we were at this crazy gorgeous place on the beach.

    But also - a lot to do with the insanely lovely people we met there! Friends we hope we'll stay in touch with for many many years to come.

    Not to mention this little sweet pea.

    It makes my heart so happy to have been able to share our trip with them. We even all piled into our SUVs and trekked back into town to have a special night out together at the completely dreamy Posada Margarita.

    Hand rolled pasta, fish poached in sea water. Vino. Fresh greens. Pistachio gelato. It was heavenly! Go, you must. (Gluten? What gluten?)

    On the way back to Highway 307, our last morning in México, we stopped at Maya Tulum.

    We'd hoped to make it to one of their traditional temazcal (sweat lodge) ceremonies, but timing just didn't work out, unfortunately. Friends have told us it is a must.

    It'll have to wait until next time for us. Instead, we had breakfast.

    Watermelon juice for me, followed by more fresh fruit, homeade granola, and yogurt.

    With happy bellies and full hearts we hit the road for the Cancún Airport. Hard to say goodbye, so we'll just say until next time. And thank you

    Hasta la vista, México. Gracias por todo.

  • Sharing My Story

    Sharing My Story

    I'm so honored to have been featured on the Institute for Integrative Nutrition's blog. I stumbled across this post this morning and felt like this was exactly the time to share it with you. 

    My journey to becoming a Holistic Health Coach began with sickness and hopelessness. Now, my life is so very different.

    And I want others to see that this is possible for them, too.

    Today is the first day of this awesome new class I'm taking, and I was asked to introduce myself by answering these two questions:

    1. What do you do? 
    2. Why do you do it?

    Here's what I said: 

    What Do I Do?: I support and empower women (and some pretty awesome men, too!) to heal and thrive naturally - so they can stop feeling stuck and do more of what they love in the world.  

    Why Do I Do It?: It's what I'm most passionate about. I believe everyone deserves to have the knowledge and support (this part is crucial) they need to make their dreams (health, happiness, career, relationships) a reality. I've been on the other side of thriving and happy, and it truly felt like there was no way I would be able to turn things around. Hopeless, depressed, stressed-out, frustrated, angry. But when I began to pay attention to the way I nourished my body, mind, and spirit, everything changed. Now, I'm exactly where I want to be and trust that there are more good things coming.

    Truly, the most important message here is that change is possible. And I am here to help. Sometimes asking for help is the one thing that turns everything else around. 

    Here's the original article, in case you want to check it out:


    Have an awesome rest of the day, guys!

    Much love!
    Katie