Different types of non-dairy milk

How to transition a dairy-obsessed toddler away from cow’s milk

As part of Sasha’s journey toward building a stronger immune system, I knew we had to transition her away from her beloved cow’s milk. Now I realize there are varying opinions about dairy, and we’re certainly not a dairy free family. However as I’ve aged, I’ve become more sensitive to dairy products and I’ve given up milk, creamer, yogurt and many cheeses (although I can’t bring myself to completely let go of cheese). Additionally, based on my experiences with Eastern practitioners, I’m more aligned with the theory that our bodies were not meant to drink milk past breastfeeding age nor we were meant to process another species’ milk.

As someone who was still drinking at least three “babas” a day in sippy cups, I can’t describe how traumatic this was for Sasha. When I first raised the idea, she cried so hard I felt like she was going to nominate me for “worst mother of the year.” But two months after making the switch, she promptly told on my mom who had offered her cow’s milk for breakfast. Not only did she rat her out, but she also told my mom that cow’s milk was “not good for her body.”

Here’s what worked for us:

  • Start laying the foundation a few weeks before you make the big switch. Because Sasha tends to get sick on a frequent basis, I wasn’t short on opportunities to start explaining why cow’s milk wasn’t helping her little body fight off viruses and infections or poop regularly (constipation is also an ongoing struggle for Sasha and I’m sure she’s going to be thoroughly embarrassed when she reads this as a teenager). To reinforce my messages to her, I would also bring up the subject during our visits to various practitioners. Eventually she stopped balking less at the idea and started becoming more curious about the change.
  • Let your child choose his/her new “milk.” We planned a special date to our local Whole Foods just to pick out some new “milks” to try. As hard as it was not to grab some additional groceries while we were there, I wanted this trip to feel special and all about Sasha so we only shopped for “milk.” She picked out five different varieties/brands which certainly wasn’t cheap but was definitely worth the investment in her long-term physical and emotional well-being.
  • Throw a taste test party. Continuing to play up this moment as something positive and exciting, we had a taste test party when we got home from the store. The entire family gathered around our kitchen island and watched as Sasha poured and tasted each one of her new “milks.” We cheered her on as she tried almond, coconut, almond-coconut and cashew finally landing on coconut.
  • Reward progress with milestone treats. After the excitement of the taste test died down, we experienced a few more tears that evening (and the following few evenings) at bedtime when reality sunk in. It took her a few days to get used to her new coconut “babas” but I kept telling her how strong she was and how proud we were of her for making good choices. I also let her have a small glass of chocolate almond milk here and there to acknowledge her progress.

Since giving up milk combined with treatments from the craniosacral therapist, regular visits to the chiropractor and regular use of essential oils, we’ve seen a big difference in Sasha’s ability to fight off viruses and bacteria. In the short time we’ve been back at preschool, she’s already moved through three colds without them worsening and moving into her lungs. Certainly there’s a part of me that’s already worried about the heart of cold and flu season since this year was so rough. But I do feel like we’re better prepared this time around and have many more tools to help us pull through the season!

With love, lipstick and lavender,







Earlier this fall, my yoga studio launched a social campaign called #whyiyoga. Of course there were the answers you’d expect to see like to balance, cleanse, connect and strengthen. All true and inspiring. And then there were the Chelsea Handler’s of the group who wrote things like to drink beer, empty pie tins and eat more pizza. My kind of girls!

Admittedly, I never filled out a card to share on Instagram. Not because I didn’t want to but because I felt like whatever I said wouldn’t be unique enough. How’s that for irony?! What’s even more ironic is how I always tell people to speak their truth. So I’m going to take a piece of my own advice and speak my truth however normal and unexciting it might be!

Here’s #whyiyoga:

  • To stay strong for myself and most importantly my girls. I hope I’m always able to keep up with them and that one day we’ll be in class together. We do yoga at home but it’s not quite the same experience.
  • To clear my head. There’s a tremendous shift that takes place in my body from the opening sun salutation to the closing savasana. It’s almost as if I can physically feel the clearing and cleansing running through my veins. I always feel lighter, more free and more centered when I step off the mat.
  • To spiritually connect. Because yoga is an active meditation, some of the best information and messages come to me during class. There’s a reason why the “word” flow is so prominent in yoga. When we’re in the flow, we’re completely open to receiving whatever information needs to come our way.
  • And last but certainly not least, to be able to have an extra glass of red wine without feeling guilty! There. I said it.

With love, lipstick and lavender,


Banana smoothie and fresh banana on wooden background.

Chocolate, peanut butter, banana, oh my!

I love smoothies and fresh juices but let me be honest: I don’t take the time to make them as much as I should.

For one, I’m often overwhelmed by the amount of concoctions available to explore and find myself spending double at the grocery store for produce and fruit that might not get used in the way I had originally planned for. And two, because smoothies and juices are trendy right now, there are multiple juice bars within five minutes of my house that are relatively the same price as making one at home.

Excuses aside, there is one recipe that is my go-to that I make at least 3-4 times per week. I don’t start off my day with it because I prefer savory foods in the morning so it usually ends up being my lunch and my girls’ afternoon snack. Additionally, it’s easy to make because I always have the ingredients on hand and can easily swamp things in or out depending on what’s in my fridge and fruit bowl.

1 cup almond milk

1 frozen banana

1 tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter. I love Justin’s peanut butter.

1 scoop chocolate organic plant protein powder. I use Garden of Life’s smooth chocolate.

Usually this has a nice consistency with just the frozen banana but sometimes I will throw in a few ice cubes as well. To mix up the recipe, I’ll switch out the chocolate protein powder for Garden of Life’s smooth vanilla. And if I’m feeling crazy, I’ll eliminate the peanut butter and add in other seasonal fruits and sometimes spinach although my girls are too smart for that version these days.

While I know this recipe isn’t innovative or unique by any means, it’s simple and that’s what the middle ground is all about!

With love, lipstick and lavender,




Sasha’s story: Exploring Eastern Medicine

In the past three years, my youngest daughter Sasha has had more than her fair share of illnesses: chronic ear infections, RSV, two bouts of pneumonia back-to-back and a mono-like virus that sent us to the ER two days in a row with 106 degree fever.

The mono-like virus was straw that broke my already unnerved back. Aside from the incredibly scary fever, Sasha’s tonsils looked as big as golf balls and they were covered in white pus (sorry for the graphic details) plus she was wheezing every time she coughed. After our pediatrician told us there was nothing she could do for her other than busting out her albuterol inhaler, I immediately went home and researched essential oil recipes for fighting viruses. I made two blends with fractioned coconut oil and started alternating them on the bottom of Sasha’s feet four times a day. Mix one: tea tree, lemon and thyme, and mix two: thieves and oregano. Additionally, I applied tea tree to the outside of her glands. Within 24 hours her fever stopped and within three days her tonsils were back to normal and her cough was gone.

About a month after the “mono,” Sasha came down with another virus followed by an ear infection and a nasty cough that seemed to go straight to her lungs.  As I sat in her pediatrician’s office for what felt like the hundredth time, I went from feeling empowered to helpless once again. Like clockwork, she wrote out a prescription for antibiotics, made sure we had enough  albuterol and layered on a steroid called Qvar as a preventive measure. Knowing what a dairy lover Sasha is, I asked the doctor if she thought certain foods such as cow’s milk were contributing to her frequent illnesses. She shrugged her shoulders, shook her head no and told us to check back with her in a month.

Now before I go any further with this story, it’s important to note that I believe Western medicine serves an important purpose and I’m grateful for it. If you haven’t read my introductory post, I vaccinate my kids and give them the flu shot. However, I don’t believe that Western medicine looks at the body holistically. In my experience, there’s never been an investigation into the root cause of Sasha’s illnesses (or any of mine for that matter). To me, it feels like Western medicine begins and ends with treating just the symptoms and it’s hard not to think the drug companies have something to do with that limited approach.

On our way back home from the doctor, I thought about a recent conversation with my friend Brooke who recommended Sasha see a craniosacral therapist. Not even knowing what that meant, I picked up the phone and made an appointment. Unfortunately, there was a two-month wait to get in but I figured that meant this woman must be a miracle worker and hoped for a cancellation! In the meantime, we took the antibiotics, used the albuterol as needed, skipped the Qvar, did our daily essential oil regime and waited patiently.

With love, lipstick and lavender,


To read about Sasha’s journey with the craniosacral therapist, click here.









Starting Your Spiritual Journey

When I meet people who are interested in exploring spirituality, the first question I get asked is “where should I start?”

Over the past 10 years, I’ve come across so many amazing resources it’s hard for me to refrain from spewing out a laundry list of my favorite things. For those of you who know me personally, I could talk about this stuff ALL. DAY. LONG.

While I try to tailor my recommendations based on what little I might know about each individual’s interests and needs, I always find myself coming back to one of the first resources I was turned on to—a book called Spirited by Rebecca Rosen.

Rebecca is a psychic medium who is a modern gal just like me. In the first paragraph of her book, she says: “I’m not your stereotypical woo-woo. No flowing robes, no lingering scent of patchouli. I look and talk just like many of my ‘normal’ clients.” (For the record, I couldn’t stand the smell of patchouli until I started using Young Living. In its purest form, patchouli smells completely different than what you’d find in the products sold at hippie boutiques and is one of the key ingredients in my favorite roller).

While I haven’t had the opportunity to meet or work with Rebecca, I can’t tell you how central this book has been to developing my understanding of spirituality, and learning how to tap into my own intuition. As Rebecca says, “Spirited is all about you learning to find the answers within and around yourself.”

To this day, Spirited still has its place on my nightstand and I recently started re-reading it with two girlfriends who are just starting to dip their toes into the world of spirituality. We’re meeting soon to discuss it, and I can’t wait to report back on their experience!

With love, lipstick and lavender,


White soft angel's wings and paper heart pinned on wooden light turquoise background.

Building a self-love tool box: Angel wings

As the mother of two young girls, I’m already bracing myself for those oh-so-fun “transformative” teenage years. You know, the ones where hormones take over their bodies and they repeatedly test your vow to love them unconditionally? Yeah, those ones.

Little did I know I’d start getting doses of those hormones at the ripe age of seven. Instead of testing my love, those sweet little emotions broke my heart.

Similar to me, my eldest daughter is a very sensitive soul and easily wounded by the world around her. Perhaps I was being naïve in thinking that she would be sheltered from how challenging this journey called “life” can be until at least the fourth or fifth grade. But unfortunately, she’s already started experiencing what I would describe as the early stages of bullying.

How do I explain to a seven year-old that the world is set-up this way? That it’s one big training ground for all of us to evolve and grow, mean people included?

Since I don’t know the answer to that question yet, I decided to start with what I do know and what I know she can understand—angels.

Before we left the Bay area to move to San Diego, I gave each of my best girlfriends an angel wing necklace with the following inscription: “Angels help us rise above all that tries to hold us down.”

When my daughter’s tears started flowing, I promptly took off my angel wings and gave them to her as a reminder that she can rise above anyone or anything that tries to hold her down. Of course being the essential oil lover that I am, I also rubbed a blend of joy, orange and fractionated coconut oil on her wrists and neck.

It’s been a few months since she started wearing her angel wings and she seems to be less bothered by the daily trials and tribulations of life in elementary school. That’s not to say we don’t experience doses of those emotions, but at least we have some tools in place to help her work through them.

Continue to rise above my little one, rise above.

With love, lipstick and lavender,



Listening to your inner guidance

The past few days have been funky. Nothing is “wrong” per se. In fact, if I could stop judging every aspect of my life and look at it from a 1,000 ft. spiritual perspective, I’d say everything is moving right along as planned. But it’s true that my energy has been off, my to-do list has been growing and my mind feels murky.

Eager to get my day started as early as possible this morning, I dove right into work at 8:05 a.m. At 11:37 a.m., I realized I was still in my pajamas. I felt uncomfortable as if I was crawling out of my skin, and I found myself second-guessing my decision to become an entrepreneur. Instead of letting myself go down the rabbit hole as I so often do when my mind feels murky, I took a deep breath and followed my instinct to get out of the house.

To help ground myself, I slathered my new ‘Magnify Your Purpose‘ oil all over my wrists and headed down to the beach, which is usually a guaranteed sweet spot for clearing my mind and reconnecting. However, about five minutes into my walk, I still felt uncomfortable so I went back to the car and started driving. I didn’t know where I was going but I saw two sevens (my soul number!) along the way so I knew I was pointed in the right direction.

With my computer and notebook in hand, I ended up at my favorite café where I proceeded to ask for my food to go. As I was waiting for my food, I changed my mind and sat down to eat there. When my food came, I changed seats again. At this point in time, I thought I was losing my you-know-what until I tuned into the conversation next to me and overheard the following:

“I just keep BREATHING and praying…”
“I feel really UNCOMFORTABLE right now…”
“I know I just need to be with this experience and keep pushing FORWARD…”
“I’m a holistic life coach, author and speaker…I’m in the MASSIVE CROSSOVER space where all things health, wellness and spirituality connect…”

Talk about a direct message from the Universe! I literally wanted to jump up and hug this man. He was my mirror, a reflection of everything I had felt that morning, a reminder that I was on the right path.

It turns out these two strangers were both entrepreneurs in the health and wellness space who had met just minutes before I changed seats. As they said goodbye, my mirror hugged his new friend and said, “there are no accidents.”

While I know it’s cliché, the phrase couldn’t have been more poignant in that moment. It wasn’t an accident that I was there. I was meant to hear that conversation but I never would have heard it if I wasn’t listening to my intuition.

Are you listening?

With love, lipstick and lavender,



Welcome to my Middle Ground

If you’re reading this, we’re probably more alike than you think. Are you someone who starts her day off by sweating out the toxins in a hot yoga class and then proceeds to replace all of those toxins with a glass of pinot (or two!) that same evening? Have you taken a shot of kimchi to promote gut health and then washed it down with a slab of blue cheese and crackers? When your kids are having trouble sleeping for the bazillionth time, have you tried rubbing lavender on their feet and then given up and busted out the benadryl? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, we’re well on our way to becoming fast friends! Here’s the deal: I’m not a free spirited, crunchy-munchy, earth mama. I believe Western medicine serves an important purpose, and I’m a foodie that can’t seem to find my “off button” with certain bad-for-my-gut goodies like cheese (clearly there’s a theme here!).  At the same time, I’m super invested and passionate about the mind, body, spirit connection. I believe that Western medicine could learn more than a thing or two from Eastern medicine. I stalk spiritual gurus on Instagram, make regular visits to my acupuncturist to unblock all the work I’ve done to block my chi and practice hot, stinky yoga. Simply put, I fall into what I like to call the “middle ground”–a space where lipstick meets lavender.

The “middle ground” is exactly why I founded this site. I believe there are many like-minded, modern women out there like me who are curious about exploring different elements of holistic living but who find it intimidating or unattainable within their current lifestyles. My goal is to show you there can be an easy middle ground based on what that middle ground looks like for me.

As someone who has been exploring the mind, body, spirit connection for ten years, I have a lot to share with you that falls under the “umbrella” of holistic living—everything from face readers, intuitives and numerologists, to meditations, blogs, books, cleanses, retreats and essential oils. The list is endless and there are many funny stories to go along with it.

So buckle up my friends…let’s get this journey started!

With love, lipstick and lavender,