I came across this extremely intriguing powder supplement in my attempt to vamp up my pantry according to CAP Beauty standards: Tocotrienols. I can lose you here, sounding the syllables out silently as you read this, or we can take the lead of two of our favorite adaptogen brands and go with Tocos. I know I may be late on some of these buzzier products, but even with the internet at my fingertips, everyone here in Italy is a little slower on health trends. That’s not always such a bad thing, but when I want my wellness and technology products to be the most up to date I am usually left in the dust (no pun intended). If you are like me – not quick on trend but still dedicated to wellness – and also had no idea what Tocotrienols are, let me break it down.
Vitamin E is made up of eight different compounds that can be divided into two categories: tocopherols, which is what we have found for a while now in traditional beauty products, and tocotrienols, which is the latest “super” form of Vitamin E.
Being crowned as the almighty Vitamin E beauty food, the ingestible Tocotrienols are rice-bran soluble – basically the bran of the rice, minus the fiber. It is a powerful bioactive source of essential fatty and amino acids with antioxidant properties. Up until very recently, tocotrienols were rather expensive to purchase, but thanks to a breakthrough in technology, manufacturers are able to use sound waves to separate the bran, making it a much more accessible beauty food.
Among many of its beneficial properties, the synergizing of the phytonutrients can aid in combating free radical damage (oxidative stress) – which can also break down the body’s natural collagen. Tocotrienols can also help repair damage to the gastrointestinal system from pesky free radicals. The NCBI concludes, “The unsaturated side chain of tocotrienol allows for more efficient penetration into tissues that have saturated fatty layers, such as the brain and liver. Experimental research examining the antioxidant, free radical scavenging effects of tocopherol and tocotrienols revealed that tocotrienols appear superior due to their better distribution in the fatty layers of the cell membrane.”
How should you be using your Tocotrienols?
The team at CAP Beauty love using it as a “high vibe nondairy creamer” to add a mellow, but creamy sweetness. They also came up with the Strawberry Nice Cream with Spicy Chocolate Crispy Shell:
Ingredients 5 or 6 strawberries
1 tablespoon tocotrienols
Splash of nut milk
Splash of vanilla extract
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
3 or 4 ripe bananas, frozen and cut into pieces
Crispy Shell 1/8 cup of raw cacao powder
1/8 cup of Hot Hot Chocolate (another CAP recipe)
¼ cup of melted coconut oil
2 teaspoons of honey
Splash of vanilla extract
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
Add the strawberries, tocotrienols, nut milk, vanilla and salt into a blender or food processor and blend until combined. Add the bananas, and blend until it’s the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Scoop into chilled bowls, or place it in the freezer for a more traditional ice cream texture.
For the crispy shell: place all ingredients in a bowl, blender or food processor. Whisk or blend until combined and the consistency is like chocolate syrup. Pour over Nice Cream.
Try Tocos from Sun Potion or even Moon Juice. Both amazing choices.
If you want that immediate beauty umph, add Tocos powder to a DIY mask for extra hydration and nutrition. In a bowl, mix manuka honey, brewed matcha tea and Tocotrienols for some skin TLC after a long dry winter, or even after a sun-filled summer. It is a great way to get in your Vitamin D and E topically.
Even skincare brands are integrating Tocotrienol into their gamma of products. Perricone MD has added the products Tocotrienol Serum and Deep Moisture Therapy. They claim that Tocotrienols are much more potent than Vitamin E itself in protecting the skin against free radical attacks. In their own research, they found that tocotrienols were way more effective than the traditional tocopherols in their dispersing into the skin to fight against free radicals. Also, they found that the products enriched with tocotrienol made hair shinier, and reduced redness and flaking in severly dry skin.
For now, I will have to just dream about adding Tocotrienols into my daily elixirs until the next time I return stateside. I cannot get my hands on the stuff here in Italy, but luckily for me I still need to finish my last batch of adaptogens that my so dear husband lugged back for me from his last trip to Los Angeles.
Let me know any of your yummy recipes with Tocos or how you are finding its wonders.
Sandra Oh received an Emmy nomination for best actress in a drama on Thursday for her role in the BBC America thriller “Killing Eve”, becoming the first woman of Asian descent to ever score a nomination in that category in the 69-year-history of the awards.
Donald Trump Defends Putin From Claims of Election Interference.
Donald Trump neglected to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable for Russia’s role in interfering in the U.S. 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump said, “I hold both countries responsible”.
Ahead of his meeting with Putin, Mr. Trump took to twitter, blaming poor relations with Russia on the ongoing Russia probe.
The investigation of the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till, has been reopened based on “new information,” according to a US Justice Department report to Congress.
Duke scholar and author of “The Blood of Emmett Till” Timothy Tyson, may have contributed to the reopening of the case after a key witness in the Till case admitted she lied to officials in his book. He handed over records of the interview as well as other research for his book to the FBI in 2017, after his book published.
Ireland Becomes World’s First Country to Divest from Fossil Fuels.
The Republic of Ireland will become the world’s first country to sell off its investments in fossil fuel companies, after a bill was passed with all-party support in the lower house of parliament.
The bill now goes to the Irish Senate, which can delay but not reverse the decision of the lower house.
Gerry Liston at Global Legal Action Network, who drafted the bill, said: “Governments will not meet their obligations under the Paris agreement on climate change and to reduce global warming if they continue to financially sustain the fossil fuel industry.
Iran has sued the United States at the International Court of Justice. The Iranian lawsuit was filed Monday and asked the International Court of Justice, which is based in The Hague, to order the United States to “terminate the 8 May sanctions without delay.”
The lawsuit also demanded that the United States compensate Iran for financial damage already done by the reimposed sanctions. The value of Iran’s currency has plummeted over the past few months, and economic protests have increased.
Isn’t it wild how much the meaning of “Summer Body” changes throughout our lives?
I remember a time when crash diets and obsession over minor cellulite practically ruled my life, and the months leading up to the season of sun were solely focused on fitting into whatever new cute swimsuit I was fantasizing about. These days, tummy toning and extreme depilatories are the furthest thing from my mind, and I don’t even remember the last time I cared about a stretchmark. Perhaps from growing a little older and wiser, perhaps coinciding with the growth of the current natural beauty movement, a Summer Body for me now means a body that is ready at all times to take a dip.
The one thing I do notice, especially when I’m lucky enough to absorb the benefits of sea water over the summer months, is how greatly my Summer (ready to swim) Bod is benefited by an allover skin scrub.
Scrubbing and dry brushing is equally important to your skins overall health as it is to your beauty, and has absolutely nothing to do with having a toned body or a flat tummy. Scrubbing clears your skin of dead cells, and regenerates cells for smoother and brighter skin in the process, thanks to the microcirculation stimulated by the TLC of a topical massage.
I have become an extreme scrubs devotee in these last few years. Wherever I am in the world, I always have a lavender-base body scrub in my dopp kit for when it comes time for a relaxing bath or steam shower. Lavender is a common ingredient in an end-of-day scrub, with emotional and mental benefits from its naturally relaxing aroma. I adore this flower so much that I planned a much needed (short) vacation in the fields of Provence right in the middle of its bloom (please do this at least once in your life).
And the world of scrubs is a veritable smorgasbord of choices! From chocolate scrubs with sugar to honey to super refreshing pastes with a base of mint, there is something to satisfy every craving and palette.
And if you find yourself in a pinch, you can whip together a completely homemade version on your own using organic, local produce and enriching the final product with oils to help relax you on application. My go-to recipe, which I highly recommend experimenting with, is as follows:
Combine a tablespoon of coconut oil with a tablespoon of rose water and ¾ of a glass of cane sugar.
Before mixing, make sure the coconut oil melts completely (just leave it in the microwave for 5 seconds) before adding the sugar and then the rose water. Add essential rose oil (if you don’t love rose, you can also use essential oils of orange or mint). Leave the mixture for up to two weeks in the fridge or even a few days in the shower.
If you prefer using an already made scrub, here are six options that I have already tried and recommend – even for delicate or sensitive skin.
With smooth and gently refined grains, thanks to the combination of delicate micro-marbles of cellulose and Jojoba oils. Enriched with soothing thermal spring water and moisturizing vegetable agents, it leaves your skin super soft.
Contains salt and sugar crystals that instantly eliminate opacity and roughness, stimulating cell renewal and giving new vigor and brightness. Its formula is enriched with organic Argan oil, rice bran oil and Shea butter, guaranteeing protection and immediate long-lasting hydration. Use it on dry skin.
With a creamy and cocooning texture and a fresh floral fragrance, it is composed of exfoliating and biodegradable micro-spheres of silicon for effective action on all skin types, even the most sensitive. With a base of Uriage Thermal Water (10%) it exfoliates and gently cleanses the skin without attacking it.
If you happen to be a green beauty addict, the best product for you is the Smoothing Body Scrub by Tata Harper with Himalayan and Hawaiian Pink Salt, cranberry fiber, apricot seed powder, and organic sugar, which removes dead skin cells while the Argan Oil deeply nourishes.
It is extremely rare to see me reaching for any product that I put on my body that is not organic or natural with two exceptions: antiperspirant and bug spray. The latter is simply for the reason I do not mess with those pesky mosquitoes buzzing in my ear or leaving me with those welts after they have drained my blood. Antiperspirant on the other hand is a conscious battle, that no matter how hard I try, I lose to the conglomerate big boys with every possible chemical imaginable in their ingredients while I have a mountain of indie natural brands collecting dust in my cabinet.
So why all the diss on conventional products? Our pit enemy number one is aluminum chlorohydrate – you have probably heard most about this. There have been health concerns surrounding Alzheimer’s disease and links to breast cancer because it seems that we absorb the aluminum molecules. Though the studies may be a bit inconclusive for aluminum, there are other enemies such as propylene glycol and parabens also lurking around. Most hospitals will tell you to immediately stop using conventional antiperspirant and deodorant if you are diagnosed with breast cancer.
Before turning a new leaf and switching to all natural, I think it is important to know the difference between a deodorant and antiperspirant.
Antiperspirant’s main goal is to reduce sweating (my number one problem – why is it so embarrassing to have a wet armpit, it is something so natural). The way these antiperspirants work is they temporarily plug the sweat duct, which stops the sweat flowing to the skin’s surface. While you are plugging the sweat ducts, you are also depositing elements such as fragrance, aluminum, parabens, and other synthetic antibacterial agents. Preservatives such as BHT and parabens found in antiperspirants are “environmental estrogens” that mimic the effects fo your body’s own estrogen which in turn disrupts normal hormone function in the body.
A deodorant on the other hand will allow the sweat to travel to the skin’s surface, thus allowing a the body to perform an important, natural function. Its role in all this regulatory function is to neutralize the scent during this process. That odor, where does it come from? When our “scentless” sweat comes into contact with bacteria – hence our brooding armpits filled with bacteria – is where the actual scent originates. The bacteria break the fats and proteins present in sweat, essentially transforming it into b.o. Normally the ingredients in a deodorant will contain an antiseptic and odor neutralizing action against bacteria.
Natural deodorants affront the situation by using botanical and clay powders to absorb the wetness, antibacterial essential oils to kill odor causing bacteria or even plant ingredients the stop the chemical reaction between sweat and bacteria. Household products such as bicarbonate of soda (it has a neutralizing effect on odor), kaolin clay (can help absorb sweat), and essential oils are the main ingredients you may spot in your natural deodorants. Also anything with coconut oil is great because of its high antibacterial qualities.
I have tried a many natural deodorant to only be left with the stigma of natural deodorants: they don’t work. One deodorant that may not help as much with the perspiration, but definitely passed the test with odor is Agent Nateur. My cousin raved about it and bought me one to test out. I figured what the heck – I have also seen Tamu use this brand – so I thought I should give it a whirl. I must say that it did help with the odor, but the sweat persisted (just as it claims – it is a deodorant not an antiperspirant).
If you are thinking about making the switch from conventional to clean deodorant, there is a transition period that can scare off the likes of most making them run right back to their conventional comrade. This transition period may have been the reason for my quick to jump back on the conventional band wagon because I did not give my body enough time to adjust.
Rachel Winard from Soapwalla, a line of natural cream deodorant on our radar, gives us a good tip on converting to natural deodorant:
“When you first switch from commercial antiperspirant to a natural deodorant, your body may go through an adjustment period. Some people sweat a bit more than usual, or find their skin smells metallic. Some people experience skin reactions: redness, itching, bumps, and dry/darker skin patches. These are often caused by the ingredients in commercial antiperspirants slowly working their way out of your lymph system and/or by excess dried skin getting caught in the pores.
Three things that speed up the adjustment period include: drinking more water, creating an underarm mask out of clay, and gently exfoliating the underarm area once or twice a week. When I started exfoliating my underarms weekly, I saw a dramatic improvement in skin quality almost immediately! I use a bamboo glove for the underarms.”
To be honest Pretty Birds, I never really delved into the differences of antiperspirants and deodorants before. The further I have gone with my research, I realize how much I have turned a blind eye to all the chemicals I can be potentially absorbing for the simple aesthetic superficiality of not sweating. Take note, that as of this day as I write this article, I will switch to a natural deodorant (I will stick with my Agent Nateur). Even though it may not be the very best time, we are smack right in the middle of an Italian summer, I am invested. I will let you know how my journey goes. And if you smell me around please stop me to tell me I need to switch deodorants.
Thinking of making the switch with me? Here is a clean starter list to try.
Maybe it’s the oppressive heat and humidity and the accompanying slothlike desire for all things languid, but this summer has me LAZY. For me, these months are usually filled with hiking, day excursions, and the other kinds of adventures that I can look back on during frigid New York winter days and remember why I live here at all. But this year, my sporty-adventure-daredevil side has given way to a brand new kind of summer vibe:
It’s been a while, too! I’m a diehard romantic in my mind, but my outer shell is more often found in sassy conversation-makers – a mesh dress here, and polka dot cutout there, a bold stripe thrown in for jazz! I have, since I was small, approached the morning’s dressing like costume design for a set. My clothing expresses my mood, my character, and what I plan to accomplish that day, and in these long summer hours that demand naps and slow walks and many, many stops for shared ice cream cones, I find myself pining for looks that support this slower, more romantic approach to life. Nothing beats the absolute ease of a summer dress – and we could all use a bit of Easy.
Because new looks are always the most fun when they lead to discovering brands I don’t normally wear, I went off in search of some whimsical and romantic day dresses to help me get into character. High summer shopping is some of my favorite shopping of all, and the results did not disappoint. And the cherry on top of my dip into these idyllic frocks: they pair back to each of the five basket bags I have had on rotation since Spring. Catch me beating the heat by lounging in the park with a bouquet of peonies and a good book, wearing all of the below:
Gioia Bini popped onto my radar when she debuted earlier this Spring exclusively on Matchesfashion.com. Formerly only offered as made-to-measure, her feminine and classically-inspired dresses are sewn by a team of couture seamstresses in her local Florence. Designed with the intention to usurp the seasonality of the non-stop fashion cycle, her dresses are meant to be worn across all seasons and occasions, marrying the come-hither classicism of the 1950s and 60s with the modern wanderlust of today’s woman. With a list of fans like Margherita Missoni and Noor Fares already on the bandwagon, expect this brand to be making its presence known in your life very soon.
With its perfectly draped, slinking silks and brilliant, borderline-psychedelic prints, Saloni is already a go-to brand for both influencers and us normals alike. Always fun, always colorful, always uplifting: these are exactly the characteristics I am looking for in a summer romance. Designer Saloni Lodha splits her time travelling between London, India, Korea and Hong Kong, and infuses bits of inspiration from her childhood in Rajasthan in each collection. Her references are elevated and powerful, but her silhouettes are soft and subtle, and each dress calls to me for a seriously relaxing summer picnic mise-en-scene.
Athena Procopiou has made her mark as the go-to caftan and resortwear designer at some of the most exciting stores across the world. But what started as a collection of scarves and coverups has now grown into its own fully-fledged ready-to-wear collection, and the dresses are not to be missed. A perfect blend of boho-chic that will take you from picnic in the park to a night out with friends, these are my top picks for all of my favorite lazy summer activities; inappropriately long lunches, impromptu picnics in the park, and soaking up a beach breeze.
Ethiopia and Eritrea on Monday formally declared an end to their “state of war,” a two-decade-long standoff that followed a brutal war over their shared border.
The leaders of the two nations said the countries would resume trade, economic and diplomatic ties, including reopening embassies and restarting flights. Ethiopia has formally submitted a request to the United Nations to lift a decade-old sanctions imposed on Eritrea.
The Trump administration was only able to reunite fewer than half of the eligible separated migrant families by a court-ordered deadline. Many were detained and separated from family as a byproduct of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy.
The children who are addressed under the Tuesday deadline are all under age 5 and have been held by the government for weeks or months after being separated from their parents at the border.
Just under half of those eligible will be reunited on time, and they’re just a fraction of the thousands of young immigrants still in custody apart from their parents.
The two journalists were in Myanmar reporting on a massacre of members of the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority. The men pleaded not guilty to breaking the Official Secrets Act — a law rarely prosecuted since its institution in 1923, back when Myanmar was still known as Burma under British colonial rule. It carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
The two Reuters journalists had been investigating the Sept. 2 massacre of 10 Rohingya men, when they were arrested late last year. Prosecutors say the journalists illegally obtained confidential government documents in the course of their reporting. The military admitted that the atrocity took place and Reuters later published the story while the reporters were in prison.
The NFL Players Association announced Tuesday that it has filed a grievance against the league “on behalf of all players.”
“The union’s claim is that this new policy, imposed by the NFL’s governing body without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights,” the group explained in a statement.
The problem with being a super busy woman and therefore not having enough time to do anything lazy is that rather often things are left undone, or, even worse, are done wrong. Since I was young, people have told me, “if you want to be beautiful, you have to make sacrifices,” but I have always found this concept very sexist and most often responded that “I have no intention to suffer for anyone.” In truth, the point is not to make sacrifices to appear beautiful and try to become what society imposes as being aesthetically pleasing. The point is to take care of yourself, even when you are inclined not to or because you are overburdened with work. For example, getting off the couch after a long day to do a body scrub or even remove your makeup before going to sleep (I confess, I’ve let that last one slip a lot in the last couple of weeks).
The good news is that you can safely bask in momentary or sudden laziness and, at the same time, take care of your skin. For example, you can put on face mask while watching your favorite series on Netflix or even drink a depurative herbal tea while you are on the couch reading your favorite book. There are so many ways to give your skin TLC and make it shine without a a lot of effort. Here is a small guide for Lazy Girls like me that want beautiful and luminous skin, but without all the impossible steps you know you will never do.
1. Operation Easy Makeup Remover
Luminous skin has to be perfectly clean. How can you do that? Buy makeup remover wipes and place them in more than one spot in your house. Place them on your nightstand or side table next to your couch. You can also do the same with your moisturizing or brightening cream. Try choosing an airless product or one with a pump, so all you need is just one pump for the right amount of cream.
How many times have you broken your beauty routine because you ran out of the right product? The solution is to always get more than one container of your favorite brightening cream. If one is on your vanity, the other can be in your purse or gym bag. That way, there is never an excuse and you can always be fully stocked with your cherished products (and skip a few trips to the store).
4. Homemade Scrub
Scrubs help remove dead skin cells, free your pores, oxygenate your epidermis and reactivate your blood circulation. There are tons quick and simple fixes that you can even prepare at home. Here is a super easy one to try: mix a teaspoon of sugar with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and almond oil and two tablespoons of honey. Blend the ingredients and then massage the mixture onto your damp skin, moving your fingers in a circular motion. The smaller the granules, the more delicate the scrub will be.
5. Clean Your Phone
As seen in so many recent studies, on the touchscreen of our devices tons of germs and bacteria accumulate that then quickly transfer to our face, thanks to our fingers. The secret is to always clean your telephone with an antibacterial wipe. You can even do it while you are catching up with your boo at the end of the day. There is nothing easier when it comes to protecting your skin (and therefore making it healthier and brighter).
6. Add One More Glass of Water
Our skin is heavily influenced by our eating habits. In order for it to be even more gorgeous, simply drink more water. It helps to transport nutrient and eliminate toxins that cause inflammation and imperfections. Feel like drinking water is a bothersome task? Try adding a little flavor to your water, even just a piece a fruit. The alternative would be a green or mint tea (without added sugar!).
Alcohol? No thank you. Reduce sweets and food high in fat as well, because they tend to dull your skin – undereye bags or less-toned skin are normally the consequences. A quick solution for a Lazy Girl: add lemon juice to a glass of room temperature water and drink the whole thing first thing in the morning with nothing in your stomach (keeping this habit for at least a week). You will notice the difference on your body and skin right away.
8. Want a Snack? Opt For a Juice!
Easy and fast to prepare: if you want a quick snack, pick a fresh juice full of green leafy vegetables, because they are rich in substances that will calm your skin.
9. Use Highlighting Cream
Even makeup has an important role in making your skin brighter, and all you need is just two minutes to get the perfect glow. Tap the brightening cream in the center of your cheekbones, on the temples, on the sides of your nose, above your lip and on your neckline to create points of light that give brightness to your overall face.
Great news for us Lazy Girls: good sleep = stunning skin. Not only is it a good habit to prevent bags under your eyes, at night our bodies put into action all its repairing processes that are visible on our skin. Eight hours is the right amount: how many hours do you sleep?
Because of the specific type of privileged Millennial Brooklyn over-parenter I am, a lot of my less-restful nights start with catching up on articles on social media warning of the dangers of too much screen time, not enough probiotics, and the viral it-could-happen-to-you horror stories parents love to share. It was this way, two weeks ago, that I stumbled upon an article in an online boating magazine (not my usual reading material but this is the magic spiral of social media) called Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning, shared by a friend urging his circle to learn the real visual cues that indicate someone is either currently drowning or about to drown entirely.
Every parent has a slightly paranoid masochistic side, and as terrifying as it was to read this very short but very informative explanation of the body’s true natural response to drowning, it was relieving to unveil yet another human element that has been misadvertised by television and movies – right up alongside orgasms and childbirth – and the author explains perfectly why so many drownings go unnoticed:
“Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is a secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs.”
When in distress, our bodies and minds are fully occupied with trying to establish baseline human functions and return to normalcy. You cannot scream for help if you’re already struggling to breathe. You cannot flail your arms to call for attention if you’re only able to paddle enough to keep your head above water. If you’re not a strong swimmer both of these things become harder.
Drowning most often happens in silence.
A few weeks ago, Tamu published some brilliant thoughts in reaction to the loss of both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain to suicide in just one workweek. The most common remarks from both strangers and those that knew them was what a shock it was that each them took their own lives. Both struggled with depression, and depression can often coincide with suicidal ideation. But neither took their lives in a drug and alcohol-fueled fugue state. They purposefully and soberly ended themselves. Often we take refuge in the dramatized idea of that last moment as a way of creating distance between ourselves and the possibility of ever being in that mental space. If the victim was out of their mind on drugs and threw themselves off the top of a building, we ourselves would need to first do a lot of drugs and also find a tall building before we found ourselves in that same place. The thought of anyone’s suicide starting at the same place I am sitting now, with a cup of coffee at my kitchen table, almost makes the act entirely too pedestrian and relatable. And then we, too, could be susceptible to these still very mysterious forces, and that thought for many is too much to bear. Educational materials tell us to look for warning signs; distributing personal possessions, obsessively working on end-of-life planning, tying up relationships. These may be indicators, but they are certainly not a reliable norm.
Most suicides happen in silence.
I am not a suicidal person, and to pretend that I am would be to recklessly co-opt a struggle that I have no place in. I have definitely dealt with lifelong depression and anxiety, though, which are both factors that can eventually contribute to escalated mental health issues, and this is something I try to be mindful of as much as possible. I try to check in with myself. I try to admit when I need help. I try to remember that if I stop doing these things it will pose a great threat to my emotional health, and that metric is one of the cornerstones holding my whole foundation together.
I am also a thirty-something single mother living in one of the largest and most challenging metropolises on the planet, with a demanding career and an ambition-oriented personality, and those keywords are never found in a search for optimal mental health conditions. I am one of millions marching uphill toward personal fulfillment, with all the sprained ankles and missteps into poison ivy that that march entails. And, like many others, I am grateful for the journey, which includes victories big and small, mistakes minor and path-changing, and personal highs and lows that make up a real life lived.
And this spring, I started to drown.
What struck me so deftly about this drowning article in the random boating digest was just how accurate everything was. I am not the kind of person who says no to anything, and I don’t think of overextending myself as so much of a personality flaw as it is a lifestyle. My mornings, days, nights and weekends are booked to the gills with obligations basic and grand, and for whatever reason – the stars, my age, the humidity index – a few months ago, these obligations began to crush me. The physical weight manifested itself in a series of bodily injuries, each more painful than the last, as if I were in a heavyweight boxing match and life was Joe Frazier telling me to just stay down goddamit, which of course I ignored and kept fighting the good fight out of habit and pride.
Then I began to lose sleep – not in the I’m so excited about the world and I can’t stop thinking these big ideas way that I am used to, but instead in a nameless anxiety bouncing recklessly from thought to thought without concluding or resolving any actual issues sort of way. I love solving problems, and this continuous Pac-Man thought pattern every night got me to a place where I actually dreaded each day coming to an end because it meant my mind’s relay race would begin.
I am very open with these issues on social media, which may or may not be to my detriment, sometimes I think people log into Instagram to purposefully subject themselves to the FOMO of scrolling through what appears to be an endless feed of luxury vacations and expensive gifts. My hope, when I share that I am anxious or that I struggled with anxiety on any given day, is not to go fishing for pity or compliments, but rather that amongst my small group of friends and acquaintances, we can begin to normalize discussions around mental health and understand the way different bandwidths of stress and anxiety become overtaxed, and most importantly how we can support each other. That it should be as acceptable to identify publicly that we are struggling as it is to identify that we are thriving. You don’t get one without some of the other. Talking honestly about mental and emotional health is, to me, the spiritual iteration of a No Makeup Selfie.
When I started to share these issues as they began to happen, I was surprised by the response, which was mainly echoes on echoes of women feeling the exact same way. Drowning in work, drowning in family, drowning in feeling constantly that they are disappointing their friends, drowning in the expectation that perfection is normalcy. The emotional relief that was returned to me by so many humans paying the same tolls as I was astounding, and helped keep me buoyant enough to keep breathing, keep treading, and start paring away the things that were contributing to my stress. Knowing that other people are also in pain is no comfort, but knowing that they, too, are out there continuing to fight through the days is inspiring enough for me to do it too.
So, no: drowning doesn’t look like drowning. Drowning looks strikingly normal, and is not a one-size-fits-all moment with thrashing arms and dramatic gulps of breath with ample opportunity for intervention. But one thing whose looks do not deceive is outreach. Whether your personal capacity for stress is big or small, reaching out to your friends and family at times when you start to feel yourself falling back on survival instincts is key, and in return, being the friend who can be relied on to help someone breathe – which doesn’t always mean pulling someone out of the water and paying their hospital bills and feeding their cat while they recover, just letting them breathe – is the most important thing we can do.
I have probably driven you all crazy by now with the diets I have tried, want to try, or scared of even attempting, but I am still on the hunt for the one that’s just right for me. Throughout the years, I have picked apart different diets for my body because there is no right diet for all. When I came across this new wellness book based on your “power type”, safe to say my curiosity peaked.
The author, Dr. Taz Bhatia began to see a pattern emerge after treating over 10,000 women in her functional medicine practice. Most women feel pressured into being super women, doing it all, juggling different roles, but in the end result is major burnout, disease, anxiety, depression, and infertility. This diet aims to get those super powers back and get your mojo going. The pattern of women’s state of health is broken down into five predominate power types. But don’t be mistaken; Dr. Taz would be the first to tell you that nothing is one-size-fits-all.
Super Woman RX helps you “discover the secrets to lasting health, your perfect weight, energy and passion with Dr. Taz’s Power Type Plans.” In anticipation of my book’s arrival, I made my way to the website to take the quiz to see which of the five power women I actually am. Just by the titles – Gypsy Girl, Boss Lady, Savvy Chick, Earth Mama, and Nightingale – I had a hunch I would be typecast as a Gypsy Girl. I consider myself a vagabond, a wanderlust that just goes with the flow, so I was convinced that would be my type. Turns out I am a Boss Lady, something I always strive to be, but not something I would ever describe myself as.
Here is a quick overview of the five power types outlined in the book:
Gypsy Girl Alter Ego: The Artist
Super Powers: Creativity, artistic talent: When in balance, Gypsy Girls express their powers in form of strong bursts of creative energy. When working at their optimum, these power types are fearless, passionate, and productive. They excel at translating their creativity into amazing works of art, music, or literature. Kryptonite: Anxiety, fear, lack of structure, lack of sleep, overcommitting. Gypsy Girls have a tendency to get caught up in their creativity, so caught up that they forget basic care such as eating, exercising, etc. Gypsy Girl types are prone to pushing themselves too hard, and when they do they get overwhelmed and can experience dizziness, excessive fear, and the feeling of being disconnected from their bodies. Body Type: Thin, wiry, lean. Gypsy Girls tend to have a lighter frame and excellent agility. This Power Type also struggles with dry skin and hair and cold hands and feet. Gypsy Girls are prone to weight loss, joint pain and weakness. Basic Gypsy Girl Rules: Wake up with a morning tonic and grounding exercise. Try to meet daily protein and fat goals. Maintain an anti-inflammatory and gluten free diet. Try to not exceed 1,800 calories. Most of all sleep well.
Boss Lady Alter Ego: The Commander
Super Powers: When at peak performance, Boss Ladies are powerhouses – they have a strong drive, are competitive and intense and like challenges. They tend to be athletic and at work they are leaders, ability to accomplish tasks efficiently while commanding respect. Kryptonite: Stress and anger. Boss Ladies can burn out and flare up when they get out of sync. Their power- draining weaknesses surface when they misplace their off switch. While they tend to love socializing, Boss Ladies can over do it, talk too much, become restless, and have insomnia. Coffee, too many engagements, and the highly competitive exercises they love can all drain Boss Ladies. Body Type: Medium size and weight. Thinning hair and hair loss are common. A Boss Lady tends to run hot in body temperature. In balance, Boss Ladies can have great complexions. When off-kilter, Boss Ladies can suffer from skin rashes. Basic Boss Lady Rules: Reset your pH in the morning. Detox from dairy and yeast. Skip red meat but be sure to get in your 40 to 50 grams of protein a day. Eat a lot finer, but limit your daily calories to 1,800.
Savvy Chick Alter Ego: The Visionary
Super Powers: When in optimal balance and health, Savvy Chicks can have powers from both the spheres of Gypsy Girls and Boss Ladies. That can mean potent creativity and passion, plus a strong drive and work ethic. This combination can manifest itself in a true inventor and creator of bold businesses, products or progressive families. Kryptonite: A Savvy Chick’s ultimate weakness is that her emotions pull her in two different directions. The artist in her wants to stay true to her visions and drams and to follow the flow of creative energy, but the commander in her demands productivity, results and structure. The Savvy Chick vacillates between creativity and inspiration and ordered schedules and tangible outcomes, all while insisting on adherence to her busy regimen- which can add up to burnout, blowups and exhaustion. Body Type: Medium to overweight. Savvy Chicks are prone to poor circulation and to cold hands and feet. Their skin is often rough, dry and oily. Savvy Chicks often have large pores and hair that tends toward dryness. Basic Savvy Chick Rules: Don’t use electronics until after breakfast. Incorporate daily grounding exercise. Meet daily protein and fat goals, avoid gluten and dairy.
Earth Mama Alter Ego: The Nurturer and the Peacemaker
Super Powers: When they’re fully balanced, Earth Mamas are strong, steady and stable – full of calm energy and great physical strength. Vibrantly healthy Earth Mamas are grounded, nurturing and compassionate. These power types are known for bringing people together, make great mediators and peacemakers and reliable friends, and are the bedrock of the family. Kryptonite: Overcommitting, people pleasing, weight gain, isolation. Earth Mamas are prone to worry and meddling. When they get in an off-kilter state of mind, Earth Mamas are vulnerable to being taken advantage of, falling into the role of caretaker of the whole world, leaving no time to care for themselves. Body Type: Large and heavy frame. Tendency to be overweight or obese when out of balance. Basic Earth Mama Rules: Eat every three hours and track your daily food and calories. Get protein from plant-based sources. Modify carb and fat intake. Go sugar and dairy free.
Nightingale Alter Ego: The Saint
Super Powers: When a Nightingale has balanced energy, she will always save the day. Her super powers include those of an Earth Mama’s steadfastness, nurturing, and compassion and also the Gypsy Girl’s passion, determination, and artistic and creative expression. When balanced, Nightingale’s can access and express all these qualities. Kryptonite: Immune deficiency, depression, isolation, and anxiety. This combination Power Type can be thrown off by anxiety and fear, and to make matters worse, she can be overwhelmed by her Earth Mama characteristic of having flimsy boundaries. Body Type: Nightingales can vary in body type, but usually have a small to medium build and are prone to either losing or gaining weight. Basic Nightingale Rules: Drink a daily immune booster and take immunity-protecting supplements. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet while avoiding refined sugars. Treat yourself to weekly bodywork and prioritize sleep.
If you feel like you resonate any of these Power Types, try and take the quiz and follow a three-week diet plan that Dr. Taz uniquely provides for you.
Though my quiz may have revealed that I am a Boss Lady, I see a lot of myself in the Gypsy Girl as well. So, I am self-diagnosing (I am no expert, just a gut feeling) as a hybrid. Also, Gypsy Girls associate themselves with Vata in Ayureveda, which definitely reflects my nature. Taking into consideration Dr. Taz’s action steps, I implemented a few pearls into my developing trial-and-error diet. Trying to skip the red meat and dairy is on my agenda, which is going to be an uphill battle, but steering towards a plant-based diet is a personal feat I strive to eventually overcome. What I most took away from this book was more of an understanding of myself – from my personality characteristics (most I never would use to describe myself, but they rang so true), lifestyle tendencies, my kryptonite, to my body type. Now I just have to work on building up my super woman powers.
As I type this, it is simultaneously Couture Week in Paris and Independence Day in the United States. For the last few days, my Instagram feed has been an unharmonious mix-and-match of fundraising and horror stories from refugee detainment camps quilted in with the brilliance of Clare Waight Keller’s vision for Givenchy. When I dress in the morning these days, a ritual I have unerringly loved since I was a little girl, it has been difficult to indulge in the exercise without thinking of how free I am as compared to so many other people on my country’s soil right now. As I scroll through the couture shows on Vogue Runway, it is difficult to immerse myself fully in these designers expressing their peak brilliance without the shadow of the state of the world lurking over me. These are the times we live in.
It may be particularly difficult to indulge in couture right now because, in the wake of a world that seems to be collectively attempting to rear back against progress, it is hard to immerse myself in a part of fashion that has historically been geared toward rules and exclusion.
Armani Privé Haute Couture, image from Vogue Runway
Fifteen years ago, at the advent of a new phase that could be considered nouveau utilitarian sportswear created by a crop of fresh young designers across the world, at the beginning of the rise of so many young talents that we now rely on today for our day-to-day dressing needs, couture started to feel very tired. In a world that felt new and fresh and rethought and full of possibilities, there was something stuffy about the idea of couture presentations, harkening back to the beginning of the 20th century, a time when fashion was only accessible to the ultra wealthy. Couture in the early 2000’s left fashion feeling a little uptight, and, perhaps the worst jab of all: antiquated.
Dior Haute Couture, Image from Vogue Runway
And on that wave of emotion rode in a new kind of designer – no longer classically trained at Central Saint Martins with skills honed in apprenticeships in major design houses for years. In rode a swell of stylists, celebrities and editors, each with a unique point of view and a vision for the needs of today’s women, and a loyal following already amassed from the careers they had studiously honed within the industry. We take this for granted now that it is an established business model, but in the late 90s, a line developed by a celebrity stylist would be limited exclusively to late night QVC. Twenty years later, the vast majority of new brands we see emerging in the contemporary marketplace are launched by influencers and editors.
The other major disruption to the fashion model has been the arrival of luxury streetwear. After a strong two decades of streetwear occupying what most considered to be the bottom rung of the fashion food chain, serving only as an “influence” from which major design houses were to pull from season to season, the information exchange of streetwear’s involvement in fashion has been disrupted. Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, the purveyors of downtown cool kid style of the 2000s, were elected by LVMH to resurrect the brand Kenzo in 2011. Virgil Abloh, with no actual fashion design education, was able to parlay his own brand, Off-White, into his current position of Artistic Director to Louis Vuitton menswear, solidified by an emotional first presentation in Paris two weeks ago. James Jebbia, who has been quietly dominating the streetwear scene for the last 25 years, was last month recognized by the CFDA for the first time in his career as Menswear Designer of the Year. As the landscape shifts to more officially acknowledge streetwear’s existence in our industry, the rest of the ecosystem changes as well.
Givenchy Haute Couture, Image from Vogue Runway
And amongst all of this evolution, there is couture. A quick glance at this week’s presentations so far on Vogue Runway reveals a stalwart roster of the design houses that are mostly household names. Nestled, for the first time, next to Givenchy and Christian Dior is Sonia Rykiel, with Julie de Libran’s first interpretation of the brand’s storied identity into the more elevated, fantastical vision that is demanded by couture. We are only halfway through the week and there are still many more designers to present, but in scrolling through this very limited number of presentations there is a hint of freshness amongst this tight edit – change is afoot.
The couture shows have not been untouched by the global streetwear takeover – just this morning Maison Margiela sent utility-orange neoprene cutout jackets with black leather backpacks down the runway. But there is something fresh and new in the fantasy, and it is perhaps more accessible than it has been in the past. More models of color (albeit still not enough) dot the runway under the hand-beaded and appliquéd gowns. The remaining element, untouched by the rapid evolution of what is realistically still a very new industry, is the fantasy. Karl Lagerfeld’s extravagant sets and Elie Saab’s full-body organza flowers and Dior’s featherweight hand-painted tulle – I need now, more than ever before, to see these things, vestiges of what this industry was 100 years ago, reflected onto the forms that represent what we are now.
In short, I needed to see Adut Akech Bior closing the Chanel Haute Couture show, the second black woman in history to do so. I needed to see, in a highly edited week of just a few shows broadcast to our entire global network, that we are moving forward.