Is your fro-yo causing your breakouts?!

So nowadays frozen yogurt is all the rage…with the plethora of self-serve yogurt sundae bars on every corner, this can be one snack that is hard to resist. However, could your favorite frozen treat be causing your cystic, rather uncomfortable pimples on your chin or jawline?

I have long believed and taught my clients that cystic acne around the jawline could be linked to dairy consumption. For whatever reason, even Organic dairy products seem to exacerbate oiliness and acne in those with problem skin types. This can be frustrating. In order to find out, I highly recommend passing on the dairy–all of it, from milk to cheese to yogurt, for at least 2-3 weeks. See if you don’t get by with no new blemishes or pimples.

Slowly incorporate 1,2, 3 servings a day if you must after those 2-3 weeks and pay attention to any increase in oiliness or blemishes. You can start to determine your tolerance. You may find that you can eat very little dairy or you may find that your body is more zero tolerance.

The great news is that there are a variety of alternatives to dairy. Personally, I love unsweetened almond milk for cooking, baking and occasionally for drinking and if I’m really the mood for ice cream, I may splurge on the overpriced Coconut milk-based variety. Dairy creates excess mucous in our bodies and without going into the gross details, suffice it to say that it doesn’t do your body very much good as the slogan implies.

Major bonus: cutting out the yogurt, pizza and queso will do wonders for your body come swimsuit season as well, so it’s really a win-win situation! Healthy skin is happy skin!

Almond-Crusted Tilapia with Quinoa & Veggies

Almond-Crusted Tilapia with Quinoa and Roasted Veggies

By Emilie Spruill

Wheat Belly by Dr William Davis

Wheat Belly by Dr William Davis

My husband recently read the book, Wheat Belly, written by a Cardiologist, Dr William Davis. The book uses the example of the stay-at-home mom who never drinks beer—where does her “beer belly” or “pooch” come from? He suggests that it’s actually a bagel belly or English muffin belly, and he goes on to discuss various medical issues that can be linked to Gluten, and as a result, we have cut back significantly on the wheat in our diet. Keep in mind that we are two bread-loving individuals, so this took some sacrifice, but I have learned that we can still have fantastic and flavorful meals without the gluten. Here is one of our absolute favorites: Almond-Crusted Tilapia with Quinoa and Roasted Veggies.

Protein-rich and Flavorful Almond Crusted Tilapia

Protein-rich and Flavorful Almond Crusted Tilapia

This meal is super easy to prepare and very delicious to eat! Start to finish, you can whip this up in less than 30 minutes if you follow these simple steps!

First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare two glass baking dishes by lining them with Parchment paper for ultra easy cleanup. Boil water for quinoa. For 2-3 people, I tend to make 1.5 cups of quinoa and I typically have leftover, which I add to my salads! The simple rule of thumb is to double the water or veggie broth, so to make 1.5 cups of quinoa, boil 3 cups of water or veggie broth. When it reaches a boil, add the quinoa, plus a little minced garlic and your choice of seasonings from dried basil to diced celery, reduce to a simmer over low heat and cover for 15-18 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.

While the water is coming to a boil, slice your zucchini and squash, or perhaps you prefer asparagus. I like to pre-slice my veggies on Sunday so it’s even faster during the week. Lightly brush with Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil, and dust with Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper. Pop those in the oven and let them roast for 30 minutes. Set the timer.

Take about a half a cup of raw, unsalted almonds and pulse in your food processor—I use my ever-so-handy Kitchen Ninja Pro!

Now, on a clean surface, carefully unwrap your fresh tilapia and prepare 1 filet per person. Lightly brush the tilapia with EVOO, dust with Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper and coat with ground almonds. Only grind them to small pieces instead of a powder if you like a crunchy texture—it is really good this way! Think of the almond pieces as your “breading” and the baking as your “frying”. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or so in your parchment-paper lined Baking Dish. For a lovely touch, finish by broiling the fish for just a minute or so, but stand by because this will brown the surface quickly if you aren’t paying attention! The result is moist but well-cooked fish with the perfect texture.

Plate the Tilapia, Quinoa and Veggies and prepare to indulge in one of the healthiest, most nourishing meals that you’ve had in some time. This meal at a fine restaurant would cost you many times the cost and it would likely pack on many times the fat and calories, so you are saving money and you’re eating healthy all at the same time. This is a sure-to-please recipe, especially for someone who doesn’t think that they like fish—the flavor is mild but delicious and will earn you applause without a doubt.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Body & Skin for Summer

In addition to writing for my own website, I have signed on to write a series of fun and often-beauty or wellness-related articles for my friends at ~ Thanks for sharing my articles when you enjoy them, especially when you think someone else in particular could benefit! Without further delay…you’d better start now as summer will be here before you can say Spray Tan.

Spray Tanning Does Your Body & Skin Good

Spray Tanning Does Your Body & Skin Good

Nutrimetics is unavailable in the US at this time ~

As most of my loyal clients are aware, I have had a favorite skincare line–Nutrimetics– that I have exclusively recommended since 1999. Even with my professional license, I was so proud to offer those products because they were safe, effective and provided an excellent value. Unfortunately, those products are no longer available for purchase at this time. As a skincare professional, I know the challenges that my clients face when searching for the right skincare line, because most of the skincare on the market contains harmful and inefficient ingredients and they simply don’t deliver results. I am diligently working to select a new skincare line that I can proudly offer and recommend. As always, whichever line I choose will meet my extremely high standards for safety and performance–they must be safe, they must deliver results and they must offer an excellent value! My goal was to confirm my new product line after careful and prayerful consideration in March of 2013. Well, by divine intervention and after intense research, I am ecstatic to offer a new homecare line that I know my clients will adore. This line is safe, healthy, chic, affordable and effective and you can read all about my selection HERE!

Skincare does not need to be overwhelming, frustrating or outrageously expensive–schedule your free homecare skinsultation today! Personalized gift collections and gift certificates are available by request. Perfect for holidays, birthdays, Mother’s Day, showers, brides, graduations and other special occasions!

Thank you for your trust and your patience! Quality Homecare products are of the utmost importance to me!

Baked Mahi Mahi with Veggie Skewers & Zesty Sauce

I must admit…this has quickly become one of my personal favorite meals. I’ve been a vegetarian since 1996, at the ripe old age of 16, although my mom will tell you that I was a born vegetarian. Technically, now though, I am pescetarian because I do eat a limited variety of fish, including Mahi Mahi, Tilapia and Seared Ahi Tuna–although that one is on hold until my baby girl is born this summer! In the meantime, I probably have either Mahi Mahi or Tilapia once every week to two weeks and I love the idea of getting lean protein and skin, heart and brain-boosting fatty acids!

Since our grill bit the dust last year, I have been relying on baking or searing our mahi mahi, although if you prefer, this recipe would work well on the grill. There are some concerns that grilling food to the point of charring it can lead to consumption of carcinogens, so I actually prefer baking. The great news is that even without the grill, the result is perfection–moist, plump and satisfying! The zesty sauce is absolutely delicious–interesting and mild, although you can kick up the heat by adding jalapeno or your choice of hot pepper!

As far as sides, you can’t go wrong with Baked Veggie Skewers and your favorite Quinoa Dish. I will share my simple, quickie side dish idea below! The result is husband-approved, and by the way, you can easily turn this recipe into lettuce wraps or healthy fish tacos by chopping up the mahi and serving alongside Bibb lettuce or tortilla shells! Oh, the possibilities are endless!

Baked Mahi Mahi with Zesty Sauce!

Baked Mahi Mahi with Zesty Sauce!

For the main dish:
~Preheat the oven to 350 (375 can work if you want to shave a few minutes off of the cooking time).
~Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper for ultra-fast cleanup!
~Lightly brush mahi mahi (since you’re baking, ask your fish specialist to remove the skin at the store–trust me!)
with Extra Virgin Olive Oil or your choice of oil… Quickly sprinkle sea salt & black pepper to taste.
~Optionally, you can squeeze the juice of a lime or lemon if you have one on hand–but it will taste great without!
~Bake for 15 minutes at 375 or up to 20 minutes at 350 (My husband is very particular about cooking fish all the way through so this allows the fish to have NO pink but will still taste moist and delicious–use your judgement!)
~I like to broil for 1-2 minutes at the end just to ensure that indeed the fish is completely cooked!

For the Veggielicious Skewers:
~Simply chop (or if possible pre-chop on grocery shopping day to save time) your favorite veggies: choose from red bell pepper, baby mushrooms, vidalia onion, green bell pepper, zucchini or more.
~Load up wooden skewers and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
~Brush lightly with EVOO, quick dusting of sea salt and black pepper, and bake alongside the Mahi Mahi! I like to prepare these before the fish, so they get a couple of extra baking minutes while I’m preparing the Mahi Mahi.

For a very simple variation of Steamed Quinoa Side Dish:
~Boil 2 cups of water or veggie stock.
~Add 1 cup quinoa, a little minced garlic (I love the jars of minced garlic–so easy), Sea Salt and Pepper (just a touch)
~Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, covered with a lid for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed.
~For a lovely twist, add sauteed diced squash and celery, or even diced cherry tomatoes.

For the Zesty Sauce:
~In a food processor (I LOVE my handy Kitchen Ninja!), combine the following:
~3 TBSP Grainy Mustard
~2 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
~1/2 tsp minced garlic
~1/2 small red onion
~The fresh juice of 1/2 lime
~About a cup of Fresh Cilantro
~After the above ingredients are mixed, add about 1/4 cup EVOO (I use my judgement so that the sauce has a slightly liquid texture but still thick enough that I can spread it atop the Mahi Mahi as the perfect compliment to complete the meal!

I prepare the sauce while the fish and veggie skewers are baking, and the quinoa is boiling… it literally only takes a few minutes with the Kitchen Ninja. Simply spread the sauce atop the Mahi Mahi and plate your sides, and you instantly have a healthy meal that is sure to impress! For kids, you can easily add the Bibb Lettuce or Soft Tortillas for Fish Taco night!

Enjoy and please graciously share if you love this recipe!

What is the #1 Key to Youthful Skin?

Reflecting on my 14 years of experience (this spring) in skincare, I have often heard one question from my clients and friends repeated more than any other: What is the #1 thing or one step that I can do to keep my skin looking young and healthy?

The answer is truly simple in my humble yet professional opinion: skincare, skincare, skincare! Investing just a minute in the morning and again in the evening in a proper cleanser, toner and moisturizer, as well as a weekly exfoliant and a treatment masque as needed will pay for itself as your skin will not seem to show the visible signs of aging that so many women and men are so eager to reverse with often costly procedures and injectables.

Masques are a weekly treat!

Masques are a weekly treat!

So how do you choose which products will work best? Start with the ingredients listing–this is SO important. Here are some ingredients to avoid: SD Alcohol, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, White Petroleum, Parrafin, Lanolin and Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives such as Quaternium-15 and Sodium Hydroxylmethylglycinate. Believe it or not, the Food and Drug Administration in the USA found in one study that 25% of 496 skin care products examined contained formaldehyde-releasers. Formaldehyde is a nice way to preserve dead frogs in Biology class, but it does not belong in our bloodstream as it has been strongly linked to various cancers.

Just so no to toxic chemicals!

Just so no to toxic chemicals!

Next, think about ingredients that you want to include–nourishing fruit, plant and vitamin-based ingredients, from Shea Butter to Apricot Kernel Oil to Grapefruit Peel Oil to Grape Seed and Grape Skin Extract. These ingredients are beneficial because they are safe but also because they are absorbed into the skin, nourishing and plumping our skin cells.

Nature + formulation = results

Nature + formulation = results

Finally, do you really need to cleanse, tone and moisturizer AM and PM? Truly, the answer is yes! In the morning, you are cleansing away sweat, slobber (busted!), germs from your hair, partner, kids and pets and you’re protecting your skin for the day via antioxidants and SPF. In the evening, you are cleansing away your cosmetics, but even on days when you don’t wear makeup, it’s crucial to wash away the pollution in the air–that combo of cosmetic debris (aka left-on makeup) + our own dead skin cells + pollution = blackheads, big pores and uneven skin texture.

Fresh Faced!

Fresh Faced!

The secret is forming a habit! Commit to cleansing, toning and moisturizing daily and nightly (when you brush your teeth) for an entire week. Hang a post-it note reminder on your mirror, and if you want to score yourself bonus points, keep a gentle scrub in the shower and use 1-2x a week, and use an eye creme as your only eye area moisturizer. After years of this faithful routine, if I were to hypothetically get sorority-girl intoxicated… let’s just say I’d wake up with cleansed, toned and hydrated skin, free of last night’s eye makeup! (Don’t judge me–I said, hypothetically, but I know this to be true!) And did you know that those lazy nights lead to dark circles caused by eye makeup stains?!

Remove before bedtime!

Remove before bedtime!

If you’re a bit of a slacker on the exfoliation and the masque bit, simply see me for a regular maintenance facial! The beauty of a professional facial is deep-cleansing, professional extractions to rid your skin of blackheads and large pores, skin-stimulating massage and extreme nourishment, plus I will assess your skincare routine or lack-there-of and you will leave looking younger but feeling even smarter! Click here to schedule!

Spray Tanning…Myth Busting Style

Whether you seek tan lines or none, achieve the perfect beach-ready glow without the danger or damage caused by sun or tanning beds with a customized luxury Spray Tan. Spray Tanning is not a new option but it’s shocking how many gals and guys out there have never yet been personally sprayed!  Each week, as I spray new clients, they are amazed at the near-instantaneous transformation upon seeing their newly tanned skin in the mirror post-spray.  What I have learned is that there are a plethora of misconceptions out there that prevent people from trying out this fabulous service but once they try it for themselves, they are hooked just like I was!

As an esthetician, skin-friendly ingredients, products and services are at the very top of my priority list. Obviously, even occasionally tanning in the  dangerous UV beds or the equally damaging sunshine has absolutely become a thing of the extremely distant past for me, but it was not until a few years ago that I realized there was an alternative–a safe, affordable, glow-ensuring alternative!  A dear friend of mine started her own Spray Tanning mobile business and I was one of her first subjects.  I patiently endured a variety of formulas and brands of solution–there are literally hundreds to choose from.  On occasion, I did end up streaky or unnatural looking, but that was a part of the trial and error process.  Two years later, she is an absolute pro with goof-proof solutions and I eventually could not resist but to offer this same fabulous service to my own skincare clients!  Spray tanning is the only safe tanning–esthetician-approved!  My spray tanning business was then launched!

Spray Tanning Before After

Go from pasty to sun-kissed in minutes!

So now to clear up some of the misconceptions:

Myth #1) Doesn’t the formula stink?

Truth #1) While there are a ton of stinky formulas on the market, the solutions that I choose are either unscented or scented with a gorgeous and alluring temporary scent that my clients absolutely love!  But it never smells like “a Spray Tan”!

Myth #2) Doesn’t Spray Tanning make you turn orange and/or streaky?

Truth #2) Absolutely NOT necessarily–unless your spray technician is using one of the myriad of not-so-great solutions that are out there.  This question reminds me of if someone were to ask if going blonde would leave her brassy or if going red would make her hair look orange–the answer is that it could, but not if a trained and experienced professional is applying an exceptional, well-chosen formula.  The same is true with Spray Tanning.  I wish I could say that every spray tan is created equally, but if you watched the 2012 Presidential Election or any recent major awards show, you will find that they simply are not.  Best bet–stay away from the booths and visit a trained professional who knows her stuff!

Myth #3) I can’t afford to Spray Tan regularly!

Truth #3) If you desire to have a healthy glow, you can’t afford NOT to Spray Tan!

Surely you’ve heard that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  It is expensive to delay proper skin care until the aging, wrinkles, sagging skin, and hyperpigmentation has literally, taken it’s mark.  Global Industry Analysts projects that Baby-Boomers will push the US anti-aging product market from $80 billion currently to more than $114 billion by 2015.  As an esthetician, I applaud so many Americans for investing in their skin–but remember: given the choice, your money is far better spent on Spray Tans and quality SPF than it is on the expensive procedures that may reduce damage after the fact.  And if you are currently one of the millions of Americans who have had moles removed, skin cancer treated or fillers or anti-wrinkle solutions injected, you can’t afford not to protect your investment by achieving your gorgeous bronze color safely and conveniently with a customized skin-friendly spray tan.  I personally offer studio and mobile pricing, unbeatable monthly membership rates that will literally leave you tan year-round for a fraction of the cost and free Sprays for new client referrals!  Click here for more info!

Host a Spray Tan Party Today!

Host a Spray Tan Party Today!

Green bikini Spray Tan spray tan party 3

As you can see, Spray Tanning will not leave you orange, streaky, stinky or broke!  In fact, my hottest service is Spray Soirees–a fun girls’ night or afternoon in where I spray a party of 5-10 friends on average using my super convenient mobile tent and equipment!  In just about 10 minutes each, you are left with a beautiful glow–your friends will think you just returned from the beach house!  And while some of my Spray Soiree hostesses will serve light refreshments, they aren’t required and it couldn’t be easier!  Everyone gets a discount on their Spray, they have FUN and the hostess is typically sprayed for 50% off or even FREE for larger parties!  Perfect for brides, birthdays, prom/homecoming, and especially for busy professionals who just don’t have time or interest in laying out in the sun!  Year-round, I promise you will love your Spray Tan and you’ll wonder why you ever waited so long!

Here comes the bride…all spray tanned to perfection!

A strapless dress on Day 6 of a Caribbean Cruise requires an excellent spray tan, a great big floppy hat and exceptional SPF!

Love birds in Costa Maya, Mexico!

Love birds in Costa Maya, Mexico!

I was preparing to marry my best friend and start on a whole new life journey that I never quite expected to begin and yet the only true stress that I felt involved the seemingly impossible task of avoiding tan lines that could ruin the wedding photos at our paradise wedding ceremony.  As a professional esthetician/spray tanning artist and owner of GRACE Skincare Solutions, I am fully aware of the cosmetic and medical risks and dangers that sunbathing inevitably implies…that being said, I do indulge on rare occasion, with carefully applied SPF and a huge floppy hat, especially while on a vacation like say, a Caribbean Cruise!

I must admit, there is something about the occasional nap in the warm, rejuvenating sun that is difficult to resist.  In moderation, with SPF that is properly applied, and consistently RE-applied every 2 hours, especially after a long cold winter, the sun can be a long-lost friend.  Unfortunately, however, most of us fail to realize that the gorgeous tan hue we so admire is simply our skin’s way of warning us that cellular damage is starting to kick in. On a regular basis, spray tanning is simply the best solution to beating the pasty skin blues!

Thank goodness for sarongs and hats!

Thank goodness for sarongs and hats!

Thus my mission…I needed to make my Spray Tan last from Thursday before our trip to our beach wedding the following Friday, and I needed to avoid any potential sun burn or tan lines that would surely ruin our picture perfect beach wedding ceremony!  I packed backups of my favorite titanium dioxide and zinc oxide-based SPF 30 for my body, SPF 18 daily moisturizer for my face and a great big floppy hat!  I also exfoliated my body, shaved my skin closely and had my very favorite Spray Tanning artist spray me with her flawless technique.  Next, I agonized over packing only strapless bikinis and lots of long sleeve cover ups which were nearly impossible to find–I opted for scarves and sarongs to wrap around my shoulders to prevent any uneven and unwanted tan lines or gasp–sunburns!

Success! Governor’s Beach, Grand Cayman

The result was that all of my worrying, stressing and preparing paid off–just as my ever-so-patient husband assured me it would.  My skin stayed silky soft, my spray tan miraculously endured (thanks to avoiding chlorine and only patting dry out of the shower) and I managed to avoid any burning or tanlines!  The gorgeous yet heavy, perhaps even impractical for a beach ceremony, wedding dress that I chose was worth the trouble because our photographs were stunning and are a cherished way to commemorate our special day.  And ultimately, I can spray tan each of my future bride clients with confidence, knowing that I am not only keeping their skin free from damage but I am also ensuring that they too to look stunningly but naturally bronze on their big day!

Heavy dress = great shoulder workout!