Saturday, March 12, 2016

My Skin Care Routine + Story

This post is LONG overdue and I have had a lot of people ask about my skin care routine, so I thought I would share my routine with everyone + my skin story:

I had always had very nice skin just like my parents, but occasionally I would break out on my forehead when I was stressed out.
I graduated high school in 2007 and during that summer I was preparing to go to college at Weber State University in Ogden, UT.
Besides stressing out about that big life change, I also was stressed out because I was going to be one of WSU's cross country/track athletes.
I was running, cross training, packing and going crazy with everything going on!
Long story short, I was breaking out on my forehead. Again, the only area I EVER broke out at.

Before I made the big move to Utah, my mom had set up my very first GYN appointment for a pap.
While I was at the appointment the midwife asked if I wanted to take birth control to clear up the breakout I had on my forehead.
I was naive and I said, "Uh, sure." 

That was a big mistake.
A month later and after my move to go to school, I started to break out more and this time it was showing up on my cheeks!
I even noticed a 10 pound weight gain even while working out/running more vigorously.
And, no, it was not muscle mass.
As the next couple months went on the acne became cystic acne and I was so depressed.
But, again being naive, I didn't realize it was from the birth control pills.

After hiding my face in makeup and literally running from the bathroom to my dorm room to prevent anyone from seeing my makeup free face, I went to a dermatologist.
They put me on accutane, and I finally stopped the birth control after realizing that it was the issue.

After a very long and painful 6 months of accutane, my acne cleared up and I had minimal scarring.
I was SO happy to be able to go without makeup and not cry whenever I saw my face!
And all of the awful side effects eventually went away.
I was free!

Then in the summer of 2012 I was planning my August wedding.
I went back to the GYN and told them I needed some type of birth control, but explained my side effects from the first time I had been on it.
"Oh, okay, well we can put you on a low-dose hormone birth control!"

That was the second mistake.
I broke out AGAIN. 
Like, on my wedding day I started to notice a few spots!
Luckily, you can't really tell in my pictures...
Although not as horrific as the first time, this round of acne was still bad and after it cleared up it left deeper, more noticeable scars on my cheeks.
{Go HERE to see how I cleared up my cystic acne.}
Yes, it's still embarrassing, but I own my scars and put on a smile!
And, in a way, it has brought me to where I am today: helping people transform their lives.
It's the scars that make us stronger and better people, if we allow it.

My skincare routine:

I was lucky enough to meet a fabulous esthetician in NYC.
Since she was a teenager, she has been putting food on her face and other natural concoctions to find what makes skin beautiful!
Her knowledge and expertise is incredible.
She has helped so many people, including ME!

Her name is Cecilia Wong, founder of Cecilia Wong Skincare.
If you are ever in NYC you have to stop by to get one of her oxygen facials! 
They are incredible and make your skin glow!
I have been using her skincare products for 3 years now, ever since I had that second bout of acne.
It really keeps my skin clear, smooth and glowing!
Below is my daily and nightly routine in order from left to right...

First, I wash my face with Cecilia's Vitamin C Cleanser.
Only a one small pump will do the trick {about the size of a dime}.
Lather with water and gently massage your face.
Your face will feel squeaky clean afterwards!
Be sure to pat dry and not rub.

 Secondly, I use the Chamomile Toner Mist while my face is still damp.
This locks in the moisture!
Spritz it all over your face {about 3-4 times}.
This toner fights off bacteria and keeps your skin clean.
I keep a bottle in my purse and spritz on my face a couple times a day, especially during the humid summers, to keep my face clean!

Okay, next is by far my favorite Cecilia Wong product.
The Black Currant Serum.
Just one small pump again into your palm and massage into your whole face!
Again, I put this on while my face is still kind of damp {from the toner} to lock in everything.
This is like Cecilia's number one amazing product that everyone love's! There is just something magical about black currant that keeps your skin young and healthy!
It's very light on your face {like all the other products} and soaks in nicely.

Lastly, I lock everything in with the Face Moisturizer.
I use sensitive during the dry, winter months and oily during the humid, summer months.
This is also very light and I just lightly dab one finger into the jar and that's all I use to lather on!

Not pictured, but once a week I use Cecilia's Blemish Peel Mask.
I either dab it onto a blemish and let it sit overnight {it's usually gone or gone down by the next day!}
or I do a facemark using about a quarter size of this product.
I rub all over my face and let sit for 20min and then wash off well.
{Followed by my daily/nightly skincare routine.}
Sometimes, I will let it sit on my face overnight and then do my daily skincare routine in the morning.
My face is always glowing the next day!
Just to let you know, it WILL tingle and get red because it's like a chemical peel.

Lastly, when my skin gets dry in the winter, I use coconut oil as a moisturizer which does wonders!

If you would like to try these products, use code "briana" for 10% off of your purchase at or click the image on the side of my blog :)

Bison + Egg Baked Bell Pepper

Isn't this so lovely?! 
Throwing food IN food and not cluttering up other dishes is genius.
And the little baking dish that this bell pepper fits snugly into holds it up right as it bakes in the oven!

Ingredients: {2 servings}
  • 1/2 cup ground bison meat or beef
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • salt and pepper
Turn oven on to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Get 2 small baking dishes out {the width of a bell pepper} or one medium sized baking dish to fit both halves of bell pepper into. Cook meat in a frying pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil until browned. Set aside. Wash and slice a whole bell pepper in half leaving the stem in place. Clean out the seeds. Fit bell peppers into the baking dish(es) and ensure they sit upright {so eggs don't spill over while baking}. Crack 2 eggs into each half of bell pepper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add as much meat on top of bell pepper {or put in the bottom of bell pepper before eggs in order to see eggs set easily} before eggs spill over. Place baking dishes in oven and bake for 18 minutes or until eggs have set. Remove from oven and let cool. Sprinkle with more seasoning! 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Sausage + Kale Soup

Can you tell that I'm on a sausage + kale hype right now?!
hee hee hee :)

This was a pretty simple soup to make. 
Just a lot of chopping and a lot of dumping into the pot!

And, between you and me, this is a delicious leftover dish for the day after its made ;)

Ingredients: {5+ servings}
  • 1 lb paleo approved sausage {I used 1/2 lb Applegate hotdogs + 1/2 lb Irish banger sausages}
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp whole fennel seeds {best if toasted prior to using in dry pan for a couple of minutes}
  • couple pinches of sea salt and cracks of black pepper
  • 1 bunch of leeks, sliced 1/4 inches thick
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and diced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 1/2 cups celery, diced 1/4 inches thick
  • 2 cups chicken broth or other type of broth {if store bought, read labels-no sugar/additives/etc}
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 big handfuls of kale, chopped and most of the stems removed
Heat up olive oil in large pot over medium high heat on stove. Add onions, garlic, fennel seeds, salt and pepper and stir constantly for a few minutes until onions become translucent. Then add sausage and sauté until browned. Once sausage is browned, add all vegetables except kale and cook for about 15 minutes or until vegetables start to get tender. Add broth and bay leaf and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until vegetables are completely tender. Turn off heat, add kale and stir for a few minutes until it starts to wilt. Add more sea salt and pepper to taste. Serve!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Pan Fried Sausage and Greens

Okay, so I have always been a sausage/hotdog loving gal and I know not everyone likes them, so if you are one of those people...keep scrolling!
I even remember growing up one of my little sisters would only eat the outside cornbread from her corndog and then I would finish the hotdog for her :) 
It was quite the perfect plan which satisfied both of us! hahaha!

Now that I am older and wiser, I no longer eat other peoples food ;) AND I eat healthier sausage/hotdog choices because we all know how processed and full of garbage they can be.
They also can have tons of sugar in them, so it is important to read those labels!
What is my favorite brand, you ask?
In fact, in this recipe I used Applegate brand uncured beef hotdogs.
It's nitrite/nitrate free, no antibiotics, no sugar and tasty :)

Add some green veggies and you have yourself a complete meal!
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did.
And you can't beat this simplicity!

Ingredients: {2-3 servings}
  • 3 hotdog or sausage links, sliced diagonaly
  • 1/4 cup white onion, sliced 
  • handful of kale
  • handful of spinach
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or kerry gold butter
  • sea salt and pepper
Heat up oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add onions and sauté for a couple minutes until translucent. Add hotdog/sausage slices and cook through until they start to brown. Add spinach, kale and season with sea salt/pepper. Cook for about 2 more minutes until greens start to wilt and then take off heat. Serve and season with more sea salt and pepper if needed!

Scrambled Eggs with Basil

This is just as easy as it sounds, but I wanted to share a very flavorful combination that our family loves to make to break up the monotony of your eggy breakfasts'!

Basil makes this dish fresh and fun!
The first time we had eggs and basil I said out loud, "Why did we never think of this before?!"

Ingredients: {1-2 servings}
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh basil, sliced thinly 
  • 1 Tbsp kerry gold butter
  • sea salt and pepper
Over a medium skillet, heat up butter until all melted and bubbly. Crack in eggs and immediately start to scramble them with spatula. Once they are almost set, add basil, salt and pepper to taste and cook for a minute longer all while continuously stirring. Take off heat and serve!

Roasted Cauliflower with Whole Grain Mustard

Cauliflower is not only delicious, but extremely healthy for your body and your skin!
There are so many ways to incorporate cauliflower into your diet in a delectable way:
cauliflower rice, mashed cauliflower {like potatoes!}, cauliflower crust pizza, baked or boiled cauliflower...

But our family favorite is roasted cauliflower!
I made this yesterday and my husband said, "Briana, this is really good!"
I know that to most of you this doesn't sound like much, but if ANYONE knows my husband then they know that this is saying a lot! He doesn't just compliment anyone on their food unless he means it because he is an incredible cook and he is all about making outstanding dishes.
{Have I mentioned how lucky I am to have a husband that enjoys to cook?!}

Let's see if you also agree with my husband...

Ingredients: {2 servings}
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets 
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp whole grain mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Turn oven on to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. In a bowl, combine all ingredients and sprinkle with sea salt/pepper. Toss to coat evenly with hands. Place cauliflower on the lined baking sheet ensuring cauliflower is evenly spread out. Place in oven and roast for about 25 minutes. Toss cauliflower halfway through cooking and drizzle on more olive oil if needed. Cauliflower will be tender and will start to blacken when finished. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Egg Frittata

I love eating frittatas just as much as I love saying "FRITTATA!"
These literally consist of just eggs, spinach, bacon and whatever other vegetable you need to use up.

It's a great smorgasbord dish!

And I bet you can guess what I'm going to say next....
frittatas are easy to make!

Try for yourself :)

Ingredients: {servings 2-4}
  • 4 eggs
  • handful of spinach
  • 2 slices of bacon, chopped {nitrite/nitrate/antibiotic/sugar free}
  • 2 Tbsp butter {kerry gold}
  • sea salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • you may also add other chopped vegetables of your choice 
Set oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. In a small saucepan or cast iron pan melt butter over medium heat. Crack eggs into a small bowl, sprinkle salt and pepper, and then whisk mixture well with a fork. Once the butter is melted and pan is hot, add the egg mixture to pan. Then sprinkle in the spinach, bacon and any other vegetables you choose to add on top of the egg mixture. Season again with salt and pepper. Cook until the sides easily come away from the pan and hold together {the middle will still be runny}. Put  the pan in the oven and bake until the middle is cooked through {about 25 minutes}. Take out and let cook for a few minutes. Enjoy!