[HEALTH & WELLNESS] Is it time for a GUT check?

IMG_5436Is your gut in balance? As we continue to research about the skin and proper skin care, we came across the term “leaky gut syndrome”. We found significant correlations between gut health and various skin and overall health conditions.

What is leaky gut syndrome? It’s when the lining of the intestinal walls are damaged, allowing undigested food and toxins to seep into the bloodstream, and the body begins to attack the foreign entities that invade it. Symptoms of this condition could include inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Celiac disease, food allergies, ulcers, Thyroid conditions, eczema, and other health and skin-related issues. This condition can be brought on by poor diet, medications, stress, and genetic predisposition.

Eating a balanced and healthy diet of mostly colorful fruits and vegetables, drinking sufficient amounts of water to flush toxins from our bodies, and making sure the flora (the microbiome – the community of microorganisms) in our gut is in balance are crucial. Proper gut health is critical in allowing our bodies to digest and absorb the nutrients and minerals necessary to maintain a healthy body and could alleviate some of the ailments that affect it.

So, how can we balance our gut microbiota? Including more probiotic foods into our diet such as miso, apple cider vinegar, fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, Kombucha, and yogurt can help. Reducing and limiting the intake of alcohol, processed foods and sugars are also critical. If your immune system is compromised, it’s best to choose organic produce to limit exposure to harmful chemicals and pesticides.

Repairing the gut can take some time depending on how damaged it may be. Yet, healing and rebalancing the gut is important so that our bodies can remain healthy. Perhaps it’s time for a gut check with your medical practitioner. Your body will thank you for it.

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We’re Popping Up at Williams Sonoma Home!

We’re topping off the month of June at Williams Sonoma Home in Chelsea! This weekend, we’re popping up at Williams-Sonoma Home (104 7th Avenue) from 12pm to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday. Come shop home decor and enjoy some of our cooling face and body mists…perfect for Summer! See you soon 😊!

Williams Sonoma Home

Fun in the Sun [BEAUTY TIPS]

Summer VacationSummer is around the corner! And, we often take this time to remind ourselves of how we can protect our skin from potentially damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays that can lead to premature aging and skin cancer.

Yet, Summertime isn’t the only time that our skin is exposed to potentially damaging UV rays. It’s year round during sunny and overcast days.

Here are some tips for when you’re heading outdoors for some fun in the sun and during those cloudy days too.

  • Don that wide-brimmed hat to provide some shade up top because sunburn on your forehead, ears, and scalp are not pleasant. Yes, we’ve been there! Spending more time under shady trees and umbrellas are also helpful.
  • Slather on sunscreen with an SPF (sun screen factor) of 30 or higher. Look for sunscreen products that offer broad spectrum coverage to protect from UVA and UVB rays. Products that include titanium dioxide or zinc oxide could provide more natural protection and avoid artificial chemicals such as oxybenzone, petrochemicals, PABA, parabens, phthalates, and artificial fragrances.
  • Wear breathable, light-colored clothing that offer more coverage and keep you cooler at the same time. Staying indoors during the hottest times during the day is also a great way to protect your body.
  • Shield your eyes. Wear the right sunglasses to protect your eyes from glare and damaging UV rays.

So, have a wonderful time enjoying the great outdoors and remember to be kind to your body by protecting it!

[MOMPRENEUR SERIES] Featuring Block Printer Neena Litton

This Mother’s Day, we’re taking the opportunity to recognize some Mompreneurs that we’ve met along our journey. Somehow, they find a way to balance their entrepreneurial workload while being full-time Moms. We’ll be introducing them to you throughout this Mother’s Day weekend and we asked them to share some tips for fellow Mompreneurs.

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We got to know Neena through her business first as we noticed the precision and detail that is required to carve an intricate pattern into a soft block for blockprinting. It takes discipline and patience. This same patient approach we see evident in Neena’s parenting style by including her kids in her daily activities which is wonderful since we know that a family that works and plays together forms an everlasting bond.


kaibelle family.jpgIntroducing:
 Neena of Kaibelle

Q: Please describe your business.

A:  I blockprint onto responsibly-sourced stationery, bags, and home wares. Basically, I come up with a design, hand-carve it into a soft block, and then print each item by hand.

Q: How long have you been running your business?

A: Three years

Q: What inspired you to start your business?

A: My daughter! When she was six months old, I realized that I wanted to continue staying home with her, but it was clear that I also needed to do something that was entirely my own in order to feel more balanced. Starting a creative business had always been a quiet dream of mine, and I knew that blockprinting was a medium I wanted to explore after taking a class at Brooklyn Brainery. Ultimately, it was the need to find my own balance in motherhood, and wanting to show my daughter by example that she should follow her passions, that inspired me to take those first steps.

Q: How do you balance the responsibilities of being a Mom and running your business?

A: Well, now that I have two little ones, I’m trying to figure it out all over again! Just when I had established a workable rhythm and balance with my daughter, I became pregnant with my son.

When it was just the two of us at home during the day, I tried to make kaibelle “ours” as much as possible. If I needed to sketch, we each drew in our respective notebooks. When she was learning colors, she helped me pull the colors of ink I needed for each printing session. And when it was time to ship orders, she would get so giddy for our stroller walks to our old Brooklyn post office. Since we had our second child last year and moved to Montclair, I am grateful to have a reliable postal carrier who picks up packages from our doorstep.

Truth be told, it’s a major juggling act. On a good day, I hustle to get organized when they are happily playing in the morning, so that I can print while they are napping in the afternoon. When I have any surplus of energy in the evenings after the kids are in bed, I’ll work on sketching a design or carving a block. Other days, I may let go of the things I wanted to accomplish so I can be present with my family. After all, being home with them while they are young was one of my primary reasons for building a business where I can be flexible with my time and focus.

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Q: For current and future Mompreneurs, what advice would you give them?

A. Get creative and include your kids whenever possible! Sure, things may take twice as long, but your tasks will still get done and you’ll gain some cherished time together. I’ve found that the more I trust my kids, the more they surprise me with what they can handle and accomplish. And of course, do all of the harder things while they sleep!

It’s also incredibly important to allow yourself a little grace. We live in a day and age where it’s easy to become hypercritical of ourselves, juggling too many responsibilities but feeling like we’re not handling any of them particularly well. Just keep working in whatever ways you can, and trust that momentum will build over time.

Q: What’s your secret to staying healthy and beautiful?

A: I don’t have any secrets, per se, but what works for me is often whatever is simplest! I’m a believer of “pay the farmer now or pay the doctor later” — I make an effort to eat a lot of good, whole foods that are in season, sustainably-sourced, and grown by local farmers. I’ve also found that living in walkable towns and cities for over 20 years has contributed to my overall health and wellbeing. As far as any products that will go onto my skin or my kids’ skin, I prefer to support smaller businesses that use natural ingredients.

Learn more about Neena and her work by following her at:

Special thanks to Neena! We’re grateful that you’re part of our journey! 

[MOMPRENEUR SERIES] Featuring Igicom, LLC Co-Founder Serena Reisner

This Mother’s Day, we’re taking the opportunity to recognize some Mompreneurs that we’ve met along our journey. Somehow, they find a way to balance their entrepreneurial workload while being full-time Moms. We’ll be introducing them to you throughout this Mother’s Day weekend and we asked them to share some tips for fellow Mompreneurs.

********************************************************************************** We’ve known Serena for years and we’ve always admired Serena for her dedication to her businesses and to her children. Serena’s calm and humble nature lends well to her ability to manage her busy schedule, her daughter’s modeling career, and her son’s booming career as a chef. We see the same kindness and sincerity in her children as we do in Serena, so we know she’s doing some thing right.

serena_with_the_kidsIntroducing: Serena of Igicom, LLC.

Q: Please describe your business.

A: I run an Internet applications design and development company.

Q: How long have you been running your business?

A: 22 years

Q: What inspired you to start your business?

A: I initially started freelancing and the business expanded.

Q: How do you balance the responsibilities of being a Mom and running your business?

A: I run my business with my husband and the teamwork allows me the flexibility for being a Mom–working from home, scheduling meetings and conference calls, attending school events and cooking with my kids. I’ve been involved on my kids’ school PTAs for a few years and also have the flexibility to schedule meetings at work that generally can be while the kids are in school.

Q: For current and future Mompreneurs, what advice would you give them?

A. I think running your own business can often allow you to set your own schedule. Even if you have to take your work with you (either on vacation or to the playground), it still allows you time to be a Mom and balance both. Fortunately, the kids grew up understanding this, and we’re still able to travel and spend time together. Now that the kids are in their tweens/teens, their schedules are becoming busier but we always have dinner together.

Q: What’s your secret to staying healthy and beautiful?

A: It’s important to stay healthy. I try to eat a balanced diet and work out with a personal trainer three times a week during the work day, so that I can have more time with my family in the evenings and weekends.

Learn more about Serena and her work by following her at:

Special thanks to Serena! We’re grateful that you’re part of our journey! 

[MOMPRENEUR SERIES] Featuring Video Producer Micki Pagano-Parente

This Mother’s Day, we’re taking the opportunity to recognize some Mompreneurs that we’ve met along our journey. Somehow, they find a way to balance their entrepreneurial workload while being full-time Moms. We’ll be introducing them to you throughout this Mother’s Day weekend and we asked them to share some tips for fellow Mompreneurs.

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It’s hard to believe that it’s been about eight years since we first met Micki! We’ve always admired Micki’s creativity and professionalism. And, working with national and local brands including The Culinary Institute of America, American Cancer Society, Rockefeller Group, and BR Guest Hospitality, Micki’s talent continues to be recognized, earning her 22 distinguished industry awards! She’s an inspiration. It has been amazing watching Micki grow her business with her family and we are so proud to be in her company.

Micki&Tony Parente 1Introducing: Micki of Branding Shorts

Q: Please describe your business.

A: I run a video production company.

Q: How long have you been running your business?

A: Ten years.

Q: What inspired you to start your business?

A: I’ve always loved filmmaking and made short films for fun. I was a Madison Ave creative director for many years, creating and shooting commercials around the world, but it was a very stressful and demanding lifestyle. Ready to flex my entrepreneurial muscle, I left a lucrative career to do my own thing and have more of a balanced life.  

In 2008, my husband (a marketing director) and I joined forces to start Branding Shorts as a way to leverage our big brand experience to help small businesses grow through the power of short branded videos. Since then, we’ve produced videos for local and national brands, as well as helped charities fundraise through video, across the country. We’re honored to be recipient of 22 industry awards.

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Q: How do you balance the responsibilities of being a Mom and running your business?

A: It certainly is a balancing act raising a child and running a business – and to make sure you have quality time for both. One of the benefits of being an entrepreneur is flexibility. Since my husband and I run the business together, we’re grateful to be able to make our own hours. We have an office, but work at home too, which allows us more time to spend with our three-year-old son, who is our number one priority, as well as our seven year old rescue pup, who’s also like a kid :).

Q: For current and future Mompreneurs, what advice would you give them?

A: I would say, get enough rest. Make a plan every morning for the day. I love making a check list and crossing things off – it gives a sense of accomplishment. Being a mom and an entrepreneur are similar in many ways – both require lots of nurturing, love, devotion and attention to grow. Motherhood and entrepreneurship give an opportunity to learn something new – and make an impact – every day. 

Q: What’s your secret to staying healthy and beautiful?

A: Staying healthy, feeling good and getting enough rest is important to both motherhood and entrepreneurship. I try to incorporate lots of fruits and veggies, a daily walk and do my best to keep it all-natural with our family meals and my beauty regiment too. For example, I like using coconut oil as a daily moisturizer and also like Naturally Susan’s Avocado Rose Salve. I even use natural lipsticks made without chemicals. Going natural and organic has become more important than ever, since becoming a mom. And companies like Naturally Susan’s are great to support the growing trend toward natural, non-toxic, skin care and a healthy lifestyle. 

Learn more about Micki and her work by following her at:

Special thanks to Micki! We’re grateful that you’re part of our journey! 

We’re here at Pottery Barn Broadway!

Come by and treat Mom to some good-for-the-body skin care products! We’re here (1965 Broadway & 67th Street) from 12pm to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday and we’re ready to share our love for all-natural beauty care. See you soon! Or, shop online at http://www.NaturallySusans.com

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