Using Essential Oils During the Holidays

Here is a useful piece I wrote for my Holiday 2016 Newsletter. Ask me for a printed copy in person, or download the full PDF here.

Nothing triggers happy memories as strongly as a delicious scent or flavor. Remember, you can always add more oil, but you can’t take it back out; so always start with just one drop and you can add more from there. If you buy quality essential oils, they are not diluted, so use them sparingly (they can be very strong). When using them topically, always dilute essential oils in carrier oils (such as almond or coconut oil). You can use many essential oils internally (more on that here) and best part is, they’re dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian. 


Try mixing your own holiday blend (think peppermint, cinnamon, clove, etc.), or buy doterra’s Holiday Blend oil, which is made with these warm, spicy, sweet flavors:

  • Wild orange
  • Siberian fir
  • Clove bud
  • Cinnamon bark
  • Cassia
  • Douglas fir
  • Nutmeg
  • Vanilla absolute

christmas cookies

  1. Add a couple drops of oil to your coat, scarf or wrists throughout the day (make sure you’ve diluted the oil first, if you’re putting it onto bare skin)
  2. Use your Holiday Blend in a diffuser
  3. Add 5-10 drops of oil to a spray bottle of water and mist your Christmas tree, your car, or your sheets
  4. Bring your bottle of Balance (doterra blend) with you to take a whiff of straight from the bottle in stressful situations
  5. Add a drop of oil to a bowl or vase of pinecones – DIY potpourri!
  6. Add a single drop of peppermint oil to your hot cocoa or mocha
  7. Add a drop of peppermint, cinnamon or clove oil to your Christmas-cookie batter
  8. Use essential oils instead of spices to make MULLED WINE: add 1 sliced / peeled orange and ½ cup sugar to 2 cups water in a pot. Bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes. Reduce heat & add 1 bottle red wine, 1-drop clove oil and 2-drops cinnamon oil. Slowly reheat but do not boil. Serve warm in mugs & garnish with cinnamon sticks. Serves 4-8.

christmas beverage mulled wine

HealthySkoop Powders

green smoothie bowl

I have been eating smoothie bowls almost daily all summer. One of my favorite add-ins I’ve found are powders by Healthy Skoop. My favorite for flavor (and to add a thicker consistency) is the Choco-lot Plant-based protein powder (16 grams of plant-based protein delivered with only 1 gram of coconut sugar per serving).

healthyskoop review

These delicious powders are

  • Gluten-Free
  • Soy-Free
  • Vegan / vegetarian (whey-free & dairy-free)
  • Non-GMO
  • QAI-Certified Organic (contains 80% organic ingredients)

healthyskoop green smoothie bowl

And if all that isn’t enough motivation to try this brand, how about this: they donate 3% of every purchase to Project Produce, a give-back initiative they co-founded to help kids eat more fruits and veggies.

green smoothie bowl

The greens blend (which pairs perfectly with sweet fruit to mask the most savory taste) naturally fights inflammation, boosts energy and powers your best, most resilient super-self. Smoothie bowls can be difficult to make since they consistency and thickness needs to be just right; powders are a huge help. Especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan, it can also be helpful to add some protein to your bowl, to ensure you’re properly fueled.


Click here to try a free HealthySkoop sample!

Cool Choice Nutritional Supplements

cool choice nutritional supplements

Although the efficacy of nutritional supplements is contested, I still sometimes find it helpful to supplement my diet with vitamins, minerals and herbs (especially if I am traveling, or if people around me are getting sick). 

cool choice nutritional supplements

I recently discovered Cool Choice, and true to its name, it’s cool because it lets you choose a blend of vitamins, minerals and herbs based on your desired result. You don’t have to actually pick the supplements; you just choose from the above list of benefits, then you are sent a supply of personalized packets containing your unique combination of supplements.

cool choice nutritional supplements

I was a little skeptical, because almost every supplement that I’ve tasted from one of these little packs either contains questionable ingredients, or tastes terrible, or both. Not Cool Choice, I’m happy to report!

cool choice nutritional supplements

Sure, it looks a little weird. It contains no sugar (or sugar alternative!) and contains fiber. A win-win!

cool choice nutritional supplements

I mixed it with water. It tastes like watered down lemonade; perfect for me, because I always water down my lemonade anyways. I have to say, it’s really delicious (even with zero sweetener, it tasted just slightly sweet to me). Especially if you don’t like drinking plain water, this is a great option. I chose, as my benefits: beauty, brain care, and eye care. I’m not sure if every combination results in the same flavor.

cool choice nutritional supplements

They’ll give you 10% if you follow them on social media, and reward you with free packets once you buy a certain amount (see details in the above photo). I’ll maybe try out a different combination of benefits next time.

The Beet Box Cafe {Haleiwa}


The Beet Box Cafe used to be a small counter where you could order food in the back of a health-food store, on the North Shore of Oahu (in the small, touristy town there called Haleiwa).

beet box cafe haleiwa

I ordered an iced tea for while we waited for our food (you order at the counter, but they bring the food to you at the table. You then have to bring your dishes to a bin, but sometimes they come get the dirty dishes for you. It’s pretty confusing). I love that they added frozen blueberries in with the ice; by the time I finished the beverage, the plump blueberries had absorbed some of the tea, and tasted even better than regular blueberries.


I hold a special place in my heart for restaurants that serve breakfast all day. The breakfast options here are so good that even Kiyo ordered off the breakfast menu (and he never does!). He got the Mexicali Blues: eggs scrambled with a crunchy, toasted, sprouted-corn tortilla and jalapeño jack cheese topped with homemade salsa, avocado, and sunflower sprouts, and served with brown rice and Brazilian black beans. He opted to add soyrizo (vegetarian chorizo).


On the recommendation of a friend, I ordered the Zen, a scramble (choice of tofu or egg) of broccoli, onion, carrots and zucchini “seasoned with curry and love,” served with a scoop of brown rice and black beans and topped with avocado and sunflower sprouts. I LOVED this; it’s the kind of plate of food that I will think about and start to crave. I would definitely brave the traffic of Haleiwa to get to this again.


Although it was a little pricey (more than $12 per plate) we were both very impressed and satisfied with our meal. We each finished our plate of goodness, and felt very full, but managed to avoid the food coma that comes from overeating food that isn’t nutritious.


We had to save our cinnamon sugar [vegan] donut for later, since we were so full. I wouldn’t choose to eat this again; it was much too moist to be a donut. There wasn’t anything terrible or disgusting about it, but if I’m going to treat myself to dessert, I want something that’s worth the sugar and calories.

The Beet Box Cafe

66-437 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

(808) 637-3000

Corn & Basil Chowder {Recipe}

Ok, one more summer recipe! This is from the AWESOME vegan cookbook Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a Fuck. It’s less than $15, includes so many helpful tips and tricks, and even my boyfriend (who is a meat-loving home cook) says that it’s his favorite cookbook. I will definitely post a full recap of this book soon; but for now, here’s a counterintuitive summer recipe: it’s soup. But corn is sweetest and cheapest at the height of summer, and basil makes the soup feel light, fresh and summery. Corn chowder is one of my favorite soups, so I was excited to try this lighter, vegan version. Here’s the recipe.

thug kitchen corn chowder with basil summer recipe cooking

Corn & Basil Chowder

  • 6 large ears corn, shucked
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 medium russet (baking) potato
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
  1. First you want to use a sharp knife to cut the corn off the cobs. It’s easier if you snap the cob in half, stand it on its end in the middle of a large bowl and cut the kernels off from top to bottom. When you’re all done, you should have about 4 cups of kernels. Don’t get lazy and use frozen corn here; that shit will not taste the same. Chop the onion, celery, bell pepper, and potato into bean-size pieces and mince the garlic. Prep work done.
  2. Now grab a large soup pot and heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it browns lightly, about 3 minutes. Add the celery, bell pepper, potato and garlic and cook for about 2 more minutes. Add the salt and then three-quarters of the corn kernels and stir. Add the broth and let that son of a bitch simmer until the potato pieces are soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. When the potato is soft, turn off the heat. Use an immersion blender and blend until that motherfucker looks nice and creamy and without a bunch of chunks. (You could also pour it into your blender and do it that way; up to you. Just return the blended soup to the pot.) Add the rest of the corn and the lemon juice, and bring it back to a simmer. Turn off the heat, add the basil, and then taste. Add more salt, more lemon juice, more basil, whatever. Serve right away with some more basil on top to make that shit look as legit as it tastes.


Summer Orange Salad {Recipe}

summer orange salad recipe

This vegan, gluten-free recipe is so simple and easy, it can barely even be called one. My best friend Zan’s mom made this for Kiyo and me when we visited St. Thomas, and we were both blown away by how such a simple dish could be so lovely.

Summer Orange Salad

Serves 2-4

  • 3 oranges
  • .25 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 1 tbsp. capers
  • fresh basil, sliced or chopped
  1. Cut the skin from the oranges, then slice each orange into desired thickness (about half an inch worked well for me)
  2. Top with olives, capers and basil
  3. Enjoy!

Mango Lassi {Recipe}

Summer in Hawaii means that everyone is currently overloaded with mangos. Sadly, I don’t have my own mango tree, but luckily I know so many people who do (my mom, my yoga students, etc.) that I also have an overabundance of the fruit. I regularly use Pinterest to find great recipes to try, and recently, I realized it was finally time to make this mango lassi I’d pinned months ago.

hawaii fruit mango lassi recipe

This ridiculously easy recipe called for 2 tbsp. of sugar, but I only used 2 tsp. Still, that was a little too much for me. I recommend using only 1 tsp. of sugar, at most; but of course, feel free to add more or less according to your personal taste.


Mango Lassi

Serves two

  • 1 cup fresh mango
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • .5 cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
  • 1 tsp. sugar

Blend and enjoy immediately!

Egg Shop {New York}


In May, I visited New York City for a yoga teacher training (more on that to come). After the training ended, I had a day to hang out with one of my best friends, who I was crashing with.


We started the leisurely day walking from her apartment to Egg Shop, in the Lower East Side, stopping at Mud for coffee on the way.


Mikayla and I both LOVE eggs, so we were destined to love Egg Shop. I mean, what food isn’t improved with an egg? Mik decided to be all healthy by ordering the appropriately named “Spandex.”


This beautiful bowl consisted of poached egg, miso quinoa, avocado, pickled carrot, farm greens and gluten-free tamari (tastes like soy sauce). IT WAS SO GOOD. I want to stock all the ingredients for this in my fridge and just make it all the time.

egg shop nyc

I had the”Pepper Boy:” soft scramble, gruyere, bell pepper, maple cured bacon , caramelized onion aioli, all in a bell pepper. This can also come served as a panini, but Mikayla had ordered healthily, so I went for my healthier option too. This was very delicious, but I kind of wish I’d had the panini in retrospect. Mostly because the aioli was lost in this pepper-vessel version, although it did add to the overall rich creaminess, of the eggs.


And because my friend and I are actually fatties at heart, we ordered this delectable biscuit with honey butter to share. Yes, it looks like fried chicken, and tasted like heaven. This is what you’re salty-sweet food fantasies are made of.


Egg Shop


(646) 666-0810

Mango Margaritas {Recipe}

mango margarita recipe

Here’s an immensely easy, fast and marvelous recipe for summer: Mango Margaritas! I’m lucky because my mom has a prolific mango tree. These are absolutely delicious and bonus: this drink is healthy compared to other cocktails. You can always use a salt or sugar rim and garnish with lime or mango.

Mango Margaritas

Serves two

  • 1 large mango
  • 1/2 cup silver tequila
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 6-10 ice cubes

Blend and enjoy!

Jugo Life’s 1-Day Juice Cleanse

Disclaimer: Always check with your Physician or family doctor before doing any type of cleanse or diet!


I’ve been a little lucky lately on Instagram; a couple months after winning $1,000, I won a 1-day juice cleanse for me plus two friends, from Hawaiian company Jugo Life!  If you’re interested in trying this out, it’s $45 for the 1-day cleanse.

jugo life 1-day juice cleanse

The 1-day cleanse includes 6 juices. The employee who was working when I picked these up told me to start with “Greatness,” but that the order didn’t really matter after that.

Jugo Life says of its cleanses:

Cleansing your body with freshly pressed, raw fruit, vegetable, and nut juice is the perfect way to slowly rework your innate nutrition needs, ingrained eating habits and jumpstart your metabolism.  The juices are designed to support the body’s daily functions by providing an abundance of water, carbohydrates, amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytochemicals, and antioxidants, while allowing the digestive system to rest and rejuvenate.  The juices easily assimilate into the bloodstream, decreasing the strain put on the digestive system during normal eating.  And unlike many other cleanses, you aren’t starving yourself!  Rather, you are decreasing your caloric consumption but still providing your body the basics to rev up toxic elimination.

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This first juice was probably the most forgettable of all 6 juices, so I am glad I started with it, since from then it just got better! There’s nothing at all wrong with this green juice, but there was just nothing that exciting about it either. It was pretty savory.

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I could drink this detoxifying drink daily! It tasted like watered-down lemonade (which is how I like it). I couldn’t even taste the cayenne, which is ok by me.

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All the green juices tasted similar, but I was surprised to enjoy even the juices with fennel, since I really dislike that flavor, usually.

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If you can’t tell from the ingredients, Happiness tastes amazing. I think it was the sweetest juice, but still not syrupy or too sweet. I think the fructose gave me energy, because I felt pretty normal all day, even without coffee (I did lay down for an hour in the afternoon between teaching yoga classes, but that was it).

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Love is also a favorite. Again, it’s sweet, but not overly so.  And again, the fennel didn’t bother me at all.

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This last juice was just a basic green juice. I have to say that after this 1-day cleanse, it seems so much more doable than I expected! I feel like this would be a great thing to do every once in awhile, especially after big eating occasions like holidays or vacation/trips. I had just come back from the East Coast with a stretched-out stomach from so much eating, and this got me back down to my regular eating. I didn’t even feel hungry during the cleanse until bedtime, which for me, is unheard of. The next morning I had another juice and finally ate solid food for lunch. I don’t own a scale, but one of the people who did the cleanse with me said she’d lost a pound when she weighed herself the next day.


Thank you Jugo Life!