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“As if you were on fire within, the moon lives in the lining of your skin.”

One of my favorite poets, Pablo Neruda, penned that line in Ode to a Beautiful Nude.

How appropriate for this post!  How can you feed your skin from within so you have that inner luminosity that no amount of expensive serum, sleep, or sex can create, and that poets write about?

In my experience, clean living and clean eating is the cheapest and most effective way – there’s no magic in it, just a lot of attention to detail (and Pinterest posts and reading the beautiful people’s blogs for recipes) and cooking.  Which means cleaning up too, because your dude just eats it and falls asleep.  Mainly because you didn’t train him right from the very beginning.  But back to clean eating – we all strive for that, and should be doing it ALL THE TIME.  But as usual, I have come up with a way to get around it if you happen to slip up once or twice.  Or five times, or all year.  It happens, because we have lives we have to live.  We need solutions!  That’s why I’m here.  I understand you, AND your needs.

As you know, skin suffers from poor nutrition, lack of proper cleansing (inside and out), dry winter air, alcohol, sleepless nights, working too hard…basically, LIVING is bad for your skin.  I’m going to focus on what you can do for your skin nutritionally that really works.  This list serves as an addition – the “extras” – to a high-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement containing at least 10,000 units of Vitamin A, a good spectrum of B-vitamins, and adequate Zinc.  This is your base.  There are several out there that may fit your lifestyle, be it one-a-day, 6 a day, including digestive enzymes to prevent that vitamin burp, or containing supplemental herbs for women’s health.  Pick a great one!

Number 1 on my list is a good MULTI:


What makes skin beautiful?  The structural proteins of skin (collagen, elastin, and keratin) give it firmness and elasticity.  You want the kind of skin that snaps back like a baby’s cheek.  Collagen is the main structural protein of the connective tissue in the body created by epithelial cells and fibroblasts.  The various collagens and the structures they form all serve the same purpose: to help tissues withstand stretching and GRAVITY.

The surface layers of the skin are supported from below by columns of fibers made up mostly of collagen and elastin. This network of fibers forms the molecular sponge known as connective tissue.  The spaces within this sponge are filled with a composition of water, protein complexes, and hyaluronic acid. This jelly-like complex transports essential nutrients from the bloodstream, via the capillaries in your skin. Hyaluronic acid attracts and holds water, which is what plumps your skin so that wrinkles and lines are less visible.

To make collagen, the fibroblasts need amino acids (building blocks of protein) like proline, glycine, and lysine.  They also need certain co-factors including ascorbic acid, or vitamin C.  The thing about vitamin C is that we burn through it really quickly in the stressful world we live in today, and it’s water-soluble, which means what isn’t used in a few hours is excreted in your urine, NOT stored for later use.  Fortunately, it’s easy to get in food and supplement form, and there’s a timed-release option available.  BINGO.

So, Number 2 on my list is Timed-release Vitamin C:

Next is protein.  Amino acids are found in all sources of protein.  Some are more easily digested and absorbed than others, which increases the bioavailability.  In general, animal proteins have a more complete amino acid profile, and plant proteins need to be combined.  Collagen protein is 20 times higher in glycine and proline than other sources (remember the fibroblasts and their needs) and is very well-absorbed, which makes it ideal for boosting collagen production in the body.  It’s derived from gelatin, which as we all know, makes your hair and nails grow.  Take this stuff, 2 Tbsp a day, and you will be amazed.  I am not kidding!  It’s virtually tasteless.  I mix it in my coffee, tea, soup, smoothies, and sometimes in the interest of just gettin’ it done, in some plain hot water.  Two choices, both excellent.

Number 3 on my list is Collagen Peptides:

Since collagen is a very cross-linked molecule with a lot of bonds to make it strong, you need sulfur to help make it.  A good source of sulfur with several other health benefits is MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane. MSM helps make the skin cells more permeable, and therefore more absorbent and receptive to plumping and hydration. The sulfur provided by MSM produces generous quantities of collagen and keratin, both of which are vital for healthy hair, skin and nails. In fact, MSM is often referred to as the ‘beauty mineral’ owing to its ability to add to enhance the thickness and strength of nails as well as hair in a very short span of time.

Number 4 on my list is MSM:

We’ve all heard that Biotin helps your hair and nails grow.  It’s true, but it also helps your skin glow.  Your body needs Biotin to metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and amino acids, the building blocks of protein, which as you know, is integral for building your infrastructure – keratin, collagen, and elastin.  Biotin deficiency is rare because, in general, intestinal bacteria produce biotin in excess of the body’s daily requirements.  However, we all know that the average person’s microbiome may be compromised.  Supplementing with Biotin is safe as long as you avoid daily doses above 5000 mcg (5 mg).  Some people report acne with too much biotin.
Number 5 is Biotin:
Next are the GOOD FATS.  Fat has made it off the black list and is now considered a beauty nutrient.  Good fats are Omega-3’s, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed organic butter or ghee, fatty fish like sardines and wild-caught salmon, and raw organic nuts and seeds.  Personally, I love getting this through diet alone.  If you don’t feel you can, take a high-quality fish or Krill oil or try Udo’s 3-6-9 Blend for a balanced 2:1:1 approach.
Number 6:  Omega-3 and Good Fats
Avofish  Udo

Hyaluronic Acid is a viscous fluid carbohydrate (not one to avoid!!!) that attracts and holds water.  Roughly 50% of the Hyaluronic Acid (HA) in our body is found in the skin. HA and Collagen are vital to maintaining the skin’s layers and structure. It is the collagen that gives the skin its firmness but it is the HA that nourishes and hydrates the collagen.  HA is well absorbed orally when taken on an empty stomach.  As an aside, it is also excellent for joints.  Take 70-100 mg twice a day with other supplements that are absorbed best without food.

Number 7: Hyaluronic Acid


To wrap it up, if you had to pick one, it would be the Multi.  The second one I would get is the Collagen Peptides.  This is of utmost importance if you’re considering an aesthetic procedure or healing from one.  The rest are icing on the cake!

Yours in safe beauty,


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Post from FunctionalBeautyMD

Skin Care Ingredient Hype: It DOES Matter!

So, you’ve probably noticed there’s a lot in the media about the beauty industry lately regarding the toxicity of ingredients and lack of regulation. There are certain skin care ingredients you should learn to avoid. Should you pay attention?  YES.  Here’s why:

SkinYour skin is constantly regenerating from the basal layer.  As the cell layers mover closer to the surface and away from their blood supply, they become keratinized, metabolically inactive, and eventually slough off.  The outermost 25-30 layers of skin cells, called the stratum corneum, are dead and provide barrier protection:  they keep water in and chemicals and microorganisms out.  By nature, human skin has low permeability. TO PROTECT US.  But what do we do?

We mess with nature.  Using SCIENCE.

Science has allowed us to enhance the skin’s permeability with additives and chemicals, both natural and man-made, to allow for penetration through these protective layers moving substances deep into the biologically active layers of the skin.  Penetration enhancers (also called sorption promoters or accelerants) work by disrupting the “glue” that holds skin cells tightly together, dissolving the keratin, or otherwise “punching holes” in the layers.  Some examples are polyethylene glycol (PEG), PEG-amine, carboxylic acid, urea, propylene glycol, DMSO, liposomes, nanoparticles…  This is good when the molecule that’s getting through is one we want.  But what happens when harmful molecules that exist in the same product get through with it?  And, why are the harmful ones in there, anyway?  Isn’t someone supposed to monitor that?

moleculeGood molecules, or “actives” nourish and promote the health and youthful appearance of your skin.  These are things like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, ferulic acid, niacinamide, copper peptides, and hyaluronic acid, just to name a few.  We want those to get in and do the job!

Then there are the bad guys – parabens, phthalates, bisphenol-A, ethanolamines...the list is looooong.  They are put in to improve the smell, texture, or performance of a product. Poison Some are proven to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm or birth defects.  Others are simply irritating or cause eczema, acne or rosacea.  These molecules hitch a ride on the penetration enhancers along with the good guys and WRECK your good intentions.  Did anyone get the photo?  It’s Poison.

Why are these companies allowed to put potentially harmful or PROVEN harmful ingredients in our products?  Because it’s legal in the US.  The European Union bans over 1300 hazardous ingredients from use in cosmetics.  United States?  11.  Yes, I said eleven, y’all.  Until there is better oversight, we have to protect ourselves, and that means arming yourself with knowledge!

Download the EWG Skin Deep app on your phone and use it when shopping:

Our “stratum corneum” does an amazing job of protecting us. If we are going to mess with that, let’s make sure we are doing so carefully, critically, and thoughtfully.  Here’s some help with the data – and don’t forget to take your reading glasses to the store!!!

More reading:

List of acceptable ingredients generally deemed as safe:

The NEVER List:

Whole Foods’ Never List:


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Style A to Z: Holiday Decorating Tips

The Holiday season is upon us, whether we are ready for it or not!


Here are some of my tips for last-minute decorating on a budget, to ensure that your life and home are ready for every family gathering and elegant dinner party!

1. Don’t overlook IKEA- IKEA is a fabulous one-stop-shop destination for all of your holiday decor needs. Introduce some seasonal inspired furnishings to your dining and living spaces, pick up some cozy faux-fur throws, or browse the wide selection of textured and fabulous area rugs to add warmth and holiday charm to your home. With unbeatable prices and wide selections, you are bound to find some pieces you will love!


2. Pull out the Sterling- Nothing says winter like sterling silver! Shimmering and sleek, sterling instantly adds seasonal flare to any space. Be it sconces, candle holders, flatware or otherwise, you shouldn’t underestimate the decorative value of a sturdy sterling piece!

3. Browse the local Dollar Store- It may seem counter intuitive, but you will be pleasantly surprised at the level of quality and selection of decorative items available at the dollar store! You can find awesome glass jars that when filled with decorative Christmas balls, become instant center pieces!

4. Deck the Halls!- Garnish your stair case and mantle with traditional pine boughs for a festive and inexpensive look! Save your own tree-trimmings and check the Pinterest boards for inspiration and techniques for getting the most out of the tinsel!

5. Get Creative!- The Holiday season is just as much about family and friends as it is about expressing yourself! Let your home be an extension of yourself. Deck the halls with all of pieces that make you happy. Consignment shops, antique stores and craft stores can give you inspiration to let your creative side show and can offer some really unique and affordable ways to spice up your winter decor!

Kiss of Couture,
Amy xoxo

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When are people most Happy?

I came across a Huffington Post story the other day that talked about what ages and life stages people felt most happy.

Do you feel that the older you get, the less you are held back by the little negativities in life? I know I certainly do. True- I am firmly planted in my forties- but I feel a newfound confidence creeping in! Now don’t get me wrong, aging isn’t an easy thing to do gracefully (or is it? I am too busy fighting it tooth and nail!) Perhaps it’s because I take on things that would have held me back earlier in my life… and I am not afraid to jump in and work on areas of my body and health that made my feel bad about myself in my thirties. Wrinkles? See ya! Creases in my forehead? Good bye! Age spots from too much sun at the beach? Well my dear that’s what the lovely south beach laser treatment is all about- get rid of what makes you self-conscious and get on with all that life has to offer!

There is something about work, home and social life that takes on the sort of ease nowadays that was missing in the crazy years of having my kids in middle school while I was busy outside the house climbing the ‘career ladder’. I think I am beginning to understand that happiness is a choice- and I am so very grateful for health, opportunity and of course all of my family and friends.

Do you appreciate all that you are and all that you have a little bit more these days? Do you think age makes us more aware and grateful? I would love to hear what you think!

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Holidays stressing you out? Here’s your prescription!


Here we go againChristmas music is on the radio, the calendar is filling up, traffic is getting noticeably worse and it’s only November!  How are we going to get through another holiday season and maintain our serenity and unflappable grace?  If you’re like me, you want to book a 3 week trip to a remote island.  No, make that 5 weeks.  I’d leave the day after Thanksgiving, someone else would do the dishes, and I’d come back home all tan and relaxed (and skinny from NO HOLIDAY FOOD, because there aren’t any rum balls on remote islands) on New Year’s Day to a clean house and no sign of holiday decor, anywhere.

Now, back to reality.  Sigh.

Not that the holidays are all bad.  I begrudgingly agree that they can be fun, if you have a sane family and some rich friends that throw amazing parties.  Oh, I know, then there’s the whole joy of giving and fellowship and thankfulness part.  And some people even like shopping for gifts!  But for the rest of us, what can you do to minimize the stress?

#1 Take time for yourself:  Say no to at least one holiday party and get a massage or take a bath instead.

#2 Get enough rest:  Be a “sleep scrooge” and don’t let anyone disturb you.  You are insanely beautiful, and you need your beauty sleep.

#3 Eat well:  Not too much, and not “holiday food”, but real, living food that you have to wash in the sink and cut up.  Use the time it takes to meditate on how grateful you are to know how to take care of yourself.  And while you’re at it, drink some pure, filtered water.

#4 Supplement:  We can’t eat well ALL the time, and some well-chosen nutraceuticals can be an essential bio-hack.  I recommend Magnesium (citrate or glycinate) 200 mg twice daily for the calming effect.  Over 325 enzymatic processes in the body require magnesium, and the average person gets about half of what they need!  Leg cramps, anyone?  A powder form like Natural Vitality Natural Calm is a nice way to end the day mixed in warm water before bed.  Second, a high quality B-complex because stress (and coffee, and alcohol…) deplete your stores pretty quickly.  Thirdly, make sure you are not Vitamin D deficient.  It can wreck you!  Take 5000 units of vitamin D3 every day.

#5 Exercise:  Get some joyful movement into your day, whether it’s a yoga class, a walk with a friend, or turning up the music and cleaning house really really well.  I try to schedule my workouts like appointments, but that all goes to hell when I get too busy.  Forgive yourself, and then get busy being active again as soon as possible.  It’s your body, and no one’s gonna love it like you can.



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