Supplements and Simplements

If you sort of suspect you should take some supplements, but have no idea where to start, you're not alone.  Here are the important things:

1. The most important supplements are a trace mineral liquid (because our bodies make most of our own vitamins from minerals, but we cannot make minerals and soil depletion means our veggies don't have the mineral content we need), and B-vitamins (because we cannot make B vitamins on our own).

2. Don't buy cheap supplements.  This is an area where price does reflect quality, and poorly-made vitamins simply will not be absorbed and assimilated properly.  So you're just wasting money if you buy super cheap supplements.  A brand that tries to be as economical as possible while maintaining high quality and assimilability is Now, with an orange label.

3. Once you have the basics of minerals and B vitamins handled for at least a month, you will know better what additional supplements might be worthwhile--often, a ton of symptoms and fatigue become history once you are consistently taking minerals and Bs.  Vitamin C is always good.  If you drink, you should add milk thistle and turmeric.  Vitamin D is another we cannot make ourselves, and it can help with depression.  Fish oil rounds out your complete roster of supplements, as none of us eats enough fish to fulfill these omega needs.

4. The key question is always: "How well is it absorbed?"  The form is as important as the substance, so your minerals should be a colloidal liquid, and your B complex should be a liquid sublingual.  

5.  The herbs in Chrysalis Tea are high in minerals, so you can use the tea if you are in between bottles of trace minerals.  If you need digestive support during a low-carb diet, take a tablespoon of psyllium husk powder (not seed) with a huge glass of water in the morning.  It's like a street sweeper for the large intestine, but doesn't irritate the lining like senna.

6.  Let us know if you have specific questions!  

Chrysalis Cooks: Fish Story

Fish is sort of a perfect food--very low in fat, very high in nutrients and beneficial oils, pretty much all protein.  Yet I always find myself giving the side-eye when I'm near the seafood case.  I feel suspicious of any fish that doesn't hit my table within a few hours of being caught, both because it has such a short shelf life and because I'm afraid of cooties.  And it's pricy so you don't want to guess wrong.  I'm also spoiled, having lived on the beach and watched my lunch arrive in nets directly in front of me--I have literally been told that my meal would take an extra few minutes because the fish was still in the ocean.

Alas, when our seas become mere mud puddles and the green tapestry of the natural world is but a distant memory, we will need to adjust expectations and embrace the limited aquaculture we can sustain from our bunkers.  And you know who really rocks a bunker tank?  Tilapia.

Tilapia has a terrible reputation, but its failings are mostly myth born of farming practices that aren't actually widespread.  People say it has a "muddy" flavor, but experts give it a high rating for clean taste and flaky texture in a blind test, bested only by Red Snapper.  But because people mistakenly believe it's a crappy fish, you can get it for suuuuuper cheap!  And you should.  Honduran Tilapia is the best, but American is fine too.  It's even good after being flash frozen.

I routinely get a 3-person supply of Tilapia for a couple bucks.  I saute it with garlic, lemon, and olive oil, 4 minutes on each side, and it's absolutely delicious.  Perfect with some steamed broccoli.  If I need to crunch, I rinse and pat it dry (this is crucial), salt and pepper well, then dip in egg and then panko and fry.  I mean...yum.  Go nuts with the lemon and garlic; you can't go wrong.

While Tilapia doesn't have the omega levels of salmon or sardines, it does all the other stuff fish does, and it's about ten thousand times cheaper (rough estimate).  It also has the added benefit of NOT BEING A SARDINE.  It goes with everything, doesn't taste fishy, cooks in minutes, and fills you up for only a few calories.  Don't let Tilapia develop an inferiority complex--let it know you think it's great by feasting on its tender flesh today.  

Chrysalis Cooks: Trust the Chicken

As I mentally plan my apocalypse bunker, I find myself wondering how to eat nutritiously once currency has lost all value and I'm stuck far beneath the surface of a once-fertile earth.  In preparation for this exciting nuclear winter, I'm testing low-fat, low-carb, high protein recipes you can make on a *very* strict budget with simple ingredients.  Here's tonight's feast, which serves 2-3 for less than 5 bucks.  Really!

Braised Chicken Thighs with Carrot, Onion, and Garlic

Chicken thighs are the unsung heroes of the culinary bird world.  They are the most flavorful part of the chicken, but also the least expensive.  What's not to love?  You can pick up a pack of about 5 thighs for 3 dollars or less.  Then grab a few carrots, an onion, and a head of garlic.  You'll adapt the rest of the recipe from things you already have at home, like olive oil.  Remember to trust the chicken.

Salt and pepper your chicken thighs, skinless or skin-on, then sear with olive oil in a hot pan, about 2 minutes on each side.  Set aside.  Now saute lengthwise-cut carrot pieces, coarse-cut onion, and whole garlic cloves, about 5 minutes--amounts are up to you.  Return the thighs to the pan, reduce heat to medium, and add about 2 cups of liquid: this can be chicken broth, veggie broth, leftover chicken soup, water and 1/3 cup white wine, water and 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar, water and some beef bouillon, whatever.  Trust the chicken.  Add a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.  Add a tablespoon of soy sauce.  Add some paprika.  I have a thing for mustard so I throw in some Coleman's Dry Mustard too.  The point I hope I'm making is that you cannot screw this up unless you accidentally buy, like, paper towels instead of chicken.  

Cover and cook for about a half hour if your thighs still have the bone in, which is best for flavor and moistness, turning every so often.  Near the end, add any fresh herbs you have on hand like thyme, parsley, or oregano.  Squeeze some lemon or lime in if you have it.  You're done.

You can serve it over rice if you like, which is delicious, but if you are trying to stay away from carbs, you'll be perfectly happy with this simple, beautiful plate as it is.  Note that I have not included potatoes in the dish, but you could if you wanted some starch and wanted to keep it all in one pan.  My personal favorite way to eat this chicken is with warmed corn tortillas--it satisfies my love of bread without really being bread.  I'll sprinkle feta and more lime in my little tacos if I'm getting crazy.  Actual bread is a great accompaniment too, because you can soak up the amazing broth and smear the braised garlic on it.  If you feel you need a bed of some sort of grain-type thing to feel complete, but don't want rice, you could do red lentils (toss them into your broth when you have 15 minutes left to go--amazing).  

On fat: I don't shy away from good fats like olive oil, and neither should you.  I think of it as essential lubrication for the gears of the body.  There are basically no bad fats in this recipe, and nearly no carbs.  I think one of the best things we can do for our cooking is to understand that someone is always making it up as they go along, and that recipes are not carved in stone like commandments.  You will not ruin anything by making a sensible substitution or adapting to suit your needs and tastes.  Food *wants* to taste good; that's its whole deal.  Trust the chicken, and trust yourself.  

Food for Life

Hello travelers!  In keeping with the theme of pure, unadulterated ingredients that make Chrysalis products so effective, I have been experimenting with growing my own food and herbs.  As with pure organic plant oils, there is much more vitality and nutrient density when we get direct as possible and remove the "middle man": the carrier oils that dilute most skin care products, and the commercial growers who must compromise flavor and vitamins to manage the scale, distance, and expectations between the farm operation and you.

As an urban, "front step" gardener, I can't grow all my food and medicine--I don't have the space!  But I can mirror the principles of purity and localness and enjoy the benefits where possible.  Here are some easy, satisfying, delicious things I've done with just a few square feet of dirt:

1. Corn.  My grandmother used to grow corn, and the joy of eating it makes up for its relative lack of nutrient power.  Still, it is high in fiber and antioxidants, and is fun and easy to grow.  It needs very little in terms of care, but I found that it truly needs a lot of direct sun.  I grew heirloom blue corn, but the plants that didn't receive enough sun were unable to produce full ears.  The few ears that developed, however, were adorable.  I dried them and created a little wreath.

2. Microgreens.  Now here's a front step crop that's too easy to skip.  They come up quickly and are more delicious than any salad mix I've ever purchased.  Mine are producing, but I did not create a deep-enough well for their soil, so they are not going gangbusters.  Trial and error!  If you do dig at least a 6 inch-deep bed or channel for their soil medium, you'll have a great harvest.  The seeds need only be sprinkled on top of the soil and watered in.  Any lettuce will work well, and they like cool weather.  You can keep sowing every week for an ongoing salad harvest!

3.  Sugar Snap Peas.  My best experiment so far!  Peas are a cool weather crop, so I was able to sow pea seed in November in Los Angeles.  In most other zones, sow your pea seeds shortly before the anticipated last frost in Spring.  Work the medium or amend it with sand so that it drains properly, and stick your pea seeds about an inch beneath the soil, a few inches apart.  I had room for two short rows in a cement bed, with about 16 inches between rows.  But I don't think the Pea Gods will come after you if you need to plant your rows a little closer together--this plant wants to grow.  It even produces its own nitrogen and improves the soil for future crops [edit: peas *fix* nitrogen in the soil, essentially grabbing it from the air and enriching the earth; they don't actually produce it].

Your peas will germinate in a week or two.  Don't bother soaking before sowing; just water after you sow and make sure the soil is moist but not soggy--too much water will rot the seed.  Find some thin bamboo or long sticks to use as a trellis if you have vining peas, which I do.  Expect your peas to reach skyward to about 6 feet.  After they germinate, you'll have delicious peas in about 2 months.

Harvest all the time!  The more you harvest, the more is produced.  Take cuttings of the beautiful pea blossoms frequently, too.  And eat those veggies within a few hours if possible--the sugars turn to starch after that, which is why you'll never have a snap pea as good as the ones you grow yourself and crunch on right away.  Every minute after harvest is a minute when nutrients and sweetness are lost.

4.  Poblano Peppers.  These guys love sun, like corn and tomatoes.  They are the large, mild variety you'll find in Chile Rellenos, or called Ancho when they are dried, and make wonderful salsa, burger toppers, tortilla soup, and more.  Roast them!  I have been growing all my crops from seed, but I will tell you right now that next year, I might get seedlings instead of germinating my own.  Same with tomatoes.  The seeds are fragile and finicky and although I spent three weeks nurturing them with low heat in a turned-off gas oven while sponging their paper towel abode twice daily to keep them moist, a few-minute heat surge killed all but one seed. (I was preheating for some biscuits and forgot they were in there!  But only for five minutes!  Sigh, you see what I mean.)

However!  That one seed did sprout; I transplanted it to a pot, and it is now producing peppers.  It's an incredibly healthy-looking plant that required nothing but some decent soil and frequent water.  Without fertilizer or special conditions (it's chilly December right now and they prefer heat), the single plant currently has twelve peppers in production.  I staked it with some bamboo because there's no way this guy can carry that much fabulous weight.

Other cool weather crops include cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, and garlic.  I will be planting all these next year because my first year's experiments went so well.  The root veggies will need deeper soil for obvious reasons, and garlic shouldn't be planted with your peas, as it reduces their output.


 Nothing compares to the thrill of watching Nature do its thing, or to the reward of seeing the (literal) fruits of your creation.  And nothing compares to the nutrients, flavor, and purity you get from your own crops.  You *know* they're organic, because you grew them.  You *know* they weren't sprayed with anything weird to keep them bright and colorful.  And you get the incredibly beneficial treat of being able to munch when nutrient density is highest and taste is best!  Don't be daunted.  There's nothing to lose and much to gain.

Next post:  Recipes from the Chrysalis Cookbook, or, How to Survive an Apocalypse Winter

The Winter of Our Skin Lament

It's that time again, beautiful gods and goddesses!  Winter is the dry and cold season, and so Winter is for nourishing, restoring, and preparing for the revelation of Spring, just like a bear in hibernation.  You'll notice changes in skin texture and tone, and you'll need the most powerful medicine to stay nourished through the season.  There's no better way than to hydrate, moisturize, and heal than with the most powerful, nutritious serum available anywhere in Nature:  Chrysalis Oil Healing Elixir.

The Chrysalis is a symbolic space for transformation and renewal, and Winter is the best time for this kind of deep transformative work.  By Spring, your skin will be renewed and ready to shine.  Work your Detox Soaks too--Winter is prime time for the hot, healing Chrysalis Soak, which clears the pores, blood, kidneys, and liver, while also drawing the healing agents of the Chrysalis Oil deep within the dermis.  Chrysalis Oil nourishes the cells and then TEACHES them how to achieve moisture balance, so you will not have to keep applying remedies.  This remedy is retraining your skin to its healthiest, most responsive form.  And the tried-and-true combo will turn you into a new bird, as many attest!  Try it and allow Chrysalis to return Winter to its original purpose:  deep healing, nourishment, and renewal in preparation for the rest of the year.  Do it for yourself and keep on doing it:  you'll be astounded at the results.


How to Give Yourself a Facial

Have an hour of free time?  Let's do this.

1.  Cleanse your skin in a basic way.  Cetaphil is still a great cleanser.

2.  Steam to open pores.  Boil a pot of water and steam your face with a towel over your head.  10 minutes.

3. Apply a baking soda/water paste.  This will dissolve the sebum in your pores and loosen dead cells.

4. Cleanse in a serious way with the Clarisonic, or massage with your fingertips to release old matter, and rinse with warm water.

5.  You can extract blackheads at this point, or leave them to emerge and resolve naturally.  They will be easy to extract at this stage, but you must still take care not to injure your skin.  Be gentle, always.

6.  Choose your treatment mask.  See my previous post on DIY treatment masks for ideas.  Dry or rough skin should always choose a moisturizing mask with hyaluronic acid.  If preparing for a night out, use the aspirin/egg white mask for its tightening and tone-correcting effects.  Acneic skin can use a clay mask mixed with apple cider vinegar.  

7.  Re-establish acid balance.  Use witch hazel, Chrysalis Water, or diluted apple cider vinegar to reestablish the acid mantle.

8.  Moisturize.  No matter what kind of skin you have, moisturize it deeply with a pure plant oil or Chrysalis Oil.  Moisture doesn't cause blemishes--clogged pores cause blemishes, and you don't have clogged pores anymore.

Final thought:  your skin may be more than one thing at once, and you can adapt this outline to work with your unique needs.  I may do a clay-based drawing mask before I do a skin-plumping mask, for instance.  The options are designed to adapt to you.  Please feel free to ask questions!  I am here to help.



The Deal with Peels

When I first realized I was going to age--complete shocker--I researched a lot of non-invasive remedies for sagging skin and wrinkles.  I'm as vain as anyone--maybe even moreso than average: I never considered surgery because I'm too vain to let people know I'm vain--it had to be undetectable.  

So I tried some things.  I tried a series of Thermage-type stuff, some sort of painful zappy laser and, finally, a crazy-strong chemical peel that promised to stimulate collagen dramatically.  Both the laser and the chemical peel were super aggressive and made my skin fall off before it grew back.  My face looked like an army of little soldiers had put up flags all across a newly-conquered country, skin flaps just a-waving in the wind for days. Yes, that's supposed to happen.  But is it worth it?  

Short answer:  hell to the no.  At first, your skin looks and feels better--why shouldn't it, when you've ripped off the top layers and all we see is baby skin?  But in fact, we have stripped off the protective layers of the skin and thinned it--the exact thing that creates wrinkles in older people.

Those with thick, oilier skin age much better than those with dry skin, and those with more melanin age better as well--it's about the protection that the epidermis offers.  Hold that principle in mind whenever you are window shopping for facial treatments.  If those treatments peel the surface in order to make you look better temporarily, they are also setting you up for failure in the longterm by thinning the skin and removing your defense from the sun and elements.

I was set straight by a wonderful, older esthetician who implored me never to get a peel again.  She explained that thinning the skin was the single worst thing you can do to stave off the appearance of age, and told me to use the Clarisonic for exfoliation and spend the rest of my energy nourishing and moisturizing.  

Everything we do now will affect us later.  Don't be cruel; don't fight your face and attack it with angry machines.  Focus on nourishment, on plumping the cells, on vitamins, on moisture, on nurturing.  The skin is self-healing when given supportive tools like Chrysalis Oil, and aging is not a failure--but it can be done, beautifully.  Honor the skin's wisdom and treat it with gentle care.  The rewards will be coming for decades.

The Canvas and the Paint



We all want to look and feel our best.  Women (and more men every day) spend a ton on makeup--and even so, we never feel like we've finished searching for those newer, better solutions that will transform everything.  Maybe a 30-dollar highlighting pen will do it!  Maybe eyelid primer!  Maybe light-diffusing finishing powder with mica and resveratrol!  As long as we keep searching, they'll keep on inventing products to catch our hopes and turn them into money.  

But our dissatisfaction remains.  What's missing?  Answer: the purification and nourishment of the epidermis, which will create the best possible canvas for makeup, eliminating the need for too much spackling or too many products.  That's where Chrysalis comes in.

Your makeup shouldn't fight to cover for unhealthy skin--it doesn't do it very well.  Makeup should be an enhancement to your already-glowing face.  Focus first on cleansing and moisturization/vitamins, then see the difference in the way your makeup works and looks, and in how much you need to use after your skin is fully nourished.

Cleansing:  I have covered my personal recommendation for cleansing, the Clarisonic, in a previous post.  There are now several lower-priced options on the market that may work for you as well.  I love it because it's gentle and it clears the pores with incredible effectiveness, and polishes the skin so you don't need to exfoliate with either chemicals or grit.  It's a mini-version of the kind of cleansing you get during a professional facial.  Getting the skin that clean is Step 1.

Toning and Nourishment:  After cleansing, it's best to splash or spray a toner to reestablish the acid mantle (Ph) of the skin.  I suggest pure witch hazel or Chrysalis Water, which has a lot of witch hazel, sweet orange, and rose, and does triple duty as a freshener for hair and body anytime.  Then it's Moisture Time!!  In addition to drinking a lot of water, you should use a pure nourishing serum like Chrysalis Oil to completely feed your hungry skin.  Rough, dry skin will be healed overnight, and routine use each day will completely transform the texture of your skin (among many other regenerative benefits--but here we are talking about how to prepare your skin for makeup).  That's the canvas we want before we turn to makeup for the rest of the picture.

With moisturized, purified skin, you'll need fewer products and you'll use them in a more sparing way--a way that illuminates your healthy skin rather than trying to camouflage it.  You'll realize immediately that nothing much matters as long as skin is fresh-looking, and that nothing much can help if it's not.  You'll know right away that healthy skin is what actually shines on a pretty face--it's never the eye makeup and never the lipstick.  Here is my personal routine after complete cleansing and nourishment:

1. Primer.  May not be essential for younger skin, but creates a smooth surface on those with enlarged pores and minor irregularities in texture.  May also help with tone correction as a base before BB cream or foundation.

2. BB Cream or Foundation.  As you use Chrysalis Oil or a high-quality serum of your choice, you may stop needing heavy-duty coverage and will likely go down to a BB Cream.  Regardless of what you decide, you should be conservative in your application.  The best application method for any foundation is a "makeup sponge" or "beauty blender"--an updated version of the foam wedges we all know and hate, this time perfected into awesomeness.  To use these sponges, dab some foundation on the end and "bounce" the sponge on your skin, blending and bouncing until you get what you want.  Pretty.  Make sure to rinse your sponges.

3.  Concealer.  If you have any blemishes you want to cover, do so after foundation.  I recommend Shu Uemura Concealer Stick; it's strong, exacting, durable, and nonflaky.  And it lasts for years (I should probably throw mine out but it's still working so well, we're kind of attached!).  If you have emergent blemishes that you want to address, use Mario Badescu Drying Lotion at night--just make sure you follow the directions.  It's not to be mixed; you're to use a q-tip to dip through the layers exactly as they are.

4. Correct.  If you have darkness under the eyes, use a creamy concealer to brighten.  Use your bouncy blending sponge to get it right. 

5.  Highlight.  Continue the theme of brightening and youthfulness by applying a pink-pearl highlighter to the inner corners of your eyes, and possibly to your brow bone and high cheekbone.  Be conservative--we're not at a rave.  Pink-pearl is the appropriate color for all skin tones, white to black.  It picks up the honey and peach colors in all skin--don't use sparkles and don't use dark contour makeup like a Kardashian.  You are permitted two sweeps of a bronzer before you need to PUT THE BRUSH DOWN.

6.  Blush.  My personal most important step.  Young or exercised, healthy skin looks like roses are blooming on the cheeks, and blush still pulls off that effect with major flair.  It really makes a difference, and I prefer a cream blush that I blend with the bouncy sponges--I always prefer cream products, as dewy skin is what we want.  If in doubt, go with a rosy color--again, suitable for all skin tones.  

7.  Eyes.  Choose eyes or lips for your "big feature," but not both.  More is not better.  I very much like a white liner pen for the water line of the lower lid because of how it opens the eye without adding any heaviness, similar to how making the skin glow is the best makeup there is.  I use the white liner on the inner eyelid, and then I put black eyeliner below the lashline and on the upper lashline.  Nice framing.  Along with the highlighter in the corners and at the brow, I can be done now.  If I want something more dramatic, I sweep amber or grey/purple on the upper crease.  Hazel and green eyes should always go with a smoky purple or subdued violet, as these complimentary colors will bring out the eyes.  Mascara makes a huge difference, but I personally have never been able to make it work--I always get marks beneath my eyes.  I think my eyes are just wrong for mascara and it breaks my heart.  Mascara makes such a difference, though, that I get my eyelashes dyed as often as I can.

A note on fake lashes: As tempting as they are (and they ARE--see above), getting them repeatedly will kill your own lashes.  I'm very sorry.  Be smart and use a lash serum to encourage growth while using less caustic methods to enhance them (lash tint, mascara).  Getting lash extensions all the time now will make you very sad later.  Remember that time is a thing and that people get older (not me, not you, but some people will, I promise).  Chrysalis may be developing a lash and hair growth serum for those who want a secret weapon, and I'll keep everyone posted.

8.  Eyebrows.  This important feature frames the face, and giving it attention creates greater dividends than almost anything else we do besides making the skin glow.  It's the picture frame along with our hair.  If your brows are too light or sparse, I recommend Anastasia brow gel, in caramel for blondes and in granite or espresso for darker hair.  I don't recommend the "blonde" option for anyone--your brows need to be darker than your hair.  Never take beauty advice from a runway show.  You're not a teenaged alien sasquatch.

9.  Finish.  I do love a setting spritz.  It seems to bring all the parts together, and handle any minor moisturization issues that might've cropped up.  If you want a little something on the lip, condition it with a serum like C-Oil and add a rosy tint.  

This all may sound like a lot, but it's not--at least as compared to what a lot of us do to spackle over problems each day.  The last step of any makeup regimen is a good misting with a spray sunscreen--the sun remains our greatest enemy, and our greatest love.  Feel free to ask me any questions about your routine, or about how to implement the one I've suggested!  



The Most Powerful Pose

Polarity Therapy is an Ayurvedic-based healing system full of powerful principles and practices that support vitality in every area of life.  Try it out and see for yourself.

The Polarity Squat--possibly the most unattractive name for anything ever, but that's not really our concern.  This position/practice stands out because it is the most healthful position for the human body to be in.  All systems, circuits, organs, and energies flow best in this pose.  And it's easy to learn: you've been doing it since you were in the womb.

The Polarity Squat consists simply of squatting full on your feet--no tippytoes--with your butt near the ground and your head over your feet.  If you're flexible enough, you'll hang your head between your knees as you squat.  That's it!  It should be completely relaxed--no muscle effort.  Your feet are your foundation and you are perfectly balanced (and suddenly calm).  

The fetus doesn't choose this position because it's in style--every one of us naturally folded ourselves this way because it's how circulation, absorption, and evacuation of everything is optimal.  It's also comforting, as only a throwback to the womb can be!  It unkinks the intestines and soothes upset stomachs, resolves digestive distress, and calms the mind.  There's a reason many cultures design toilets for squatting--only we here in the West do silly things like sit bolt upright in a way that distorts our digestive tract.

It's also the position many women give birth in instinctively--clearly, there are some important benefits to the squat!  So here's how to incorporate it into your life for simple, immediate, profound benefits.

For any intestinal distress, either squat flatly on your feet or, if that's not comfortable yet, fold yourself forward as in Child's Pose in traditional yoga.  The important thing is that your knees are drawn up so that your intestines are not pinched, and that you are able to relax in position.

For mental distress, squat with your head between your knees and hook your thumbs into the inner upper corner of your eye sockets--you'll know it when you find it.  Your elbows should be hanging between your calves.  Let your head hang on your thumbs, stimulating the pressure points on your orbital sockets.  Squat that way for five minutes, and just breathe.

For general health, practice the P-Squat each morning for a few minutes.  It's quiet exercise that centers your mind and body and prepares it for the day.  And it's a pleasure.

In the bathroom:  We are so "civilized" that we ignore the body's needs and sit upright like silly aristocrats on the toilet.  That's quite unhealthy and will mess up your ability to evacuate your bowels efficiently--while unpleasant to talk about, digestive health is probably the most important factor in overall health.  In cultures that still adhere to basic principles of biology and healing, toilet use is done by squatting.  Western toilets are too high for this, so use a stool to raise your knees at least to hip height.  You may be astounded at the difference in ease of evacuation/constipation, etc.

There is a wonderful series of Polarity Yoga Poses I'll share, but I wanted to start simply, with something you could try and feel the results of right away.  Simplicity is power.  The power is yours.

Get Summer: Solutions for Gorgeous Skin

It's not too early to start getting your skin in shape for the season of wearing-very-little!  If you're anything like me, you love winter for its ability to hide all manner of neglect--I would show you my stubbly legs but then I'd have to kill you and you wouldn't be able to finish reading this awesome blog post.  So let's hold off on that for now and talk about what kind of nourishment your body wants in order to prepare for the big day.

The winter skin issues that we want to improve before we hit the beach are usually dryness, texture, tone, and consistency--firmness versus sagging and cellulite.  We'll take a two-pronged approach to reconditioning for the new season.

The first strategy is internal: we need to increase hydration so the cells plump up and all systemic detox processes are more efficient.  Giving your body the tools to take out the trash will provide major dividends right away.  Think also about following a diet with less refined, salty foods--think fresh, whole, juicy, summery.  It doesn't need to be complicated.

The second strategy involves treatments with pure, natural ingredients that nourish the body from outside in, and target the unique needs of winter skin.  Chrysalis Dry Body Oil will handle most of the nourishment, and you'll see tone and texture correction in about two applications.  Cellulite and firmness issues need to be addressed in a concerted way, so we recommend the Chrysalis Soak to heat the cells and stimulate renewal, then our Body Oil--rich in orange and grapefruit--to increase circulation.  The plant oils like jojoba and apricot will heal blemishes and tone issues, and none of the Chrysalis products contain any fillers at all, so you'll get the full impact of these healing concentrates.

Additionally, you may want to start a focused cellulite-reduction practice using leftover coffee grounds: caffeine is another excellent tool for stimulating the cells and resolving cellulite, and it's a great pairing with the citrus in the Body Oil.  Just scoop a handful of used coffee grounds and massage your thighs and other affected areas while you're in the shower.  Your DIY coffee scrub will also give you a subtle bronze glow--a slight tan on pale skin and a satiny luster on dark skin.

The exfoliation component of your Chrysalis Soak will remind you of this crucial practice and make its implementation a delight, so just keep scrubbing with every shower (using the reusable scrubby glove that comes with every Chrysalis Soak), and feeding your skin afterward with the Oil, until the big reveal!  Cellulite is extremely stubborn and extremely common--you don't have to be overweight and you don't have to do anything wrong to get it.  But there are a few things we can do to mitigate it, all focused around cellular stimulation, so let's go for it!  Remember also that beauty comes in all sizes, and Chrysalis is about bringing out the truth of what's already there: pure loveliness.  You are gorgeous in your form; Chrysalis just wants to show off your curves in the best light possible.


How to Mind Your Own Business

My customers sometimes tell me, "I tried to get my mother to do the Chrysalis Soak [or whatever], but she won't budge.  She has terrible arthritis and I've told her how amazing the Soak is for inflammation.  So frustrating."  And I agree it can be frustrating to know how to help someone feel better, yet remain powerless to make it happen.  But here's the worst part:  there's no solution for that.

I often say, "You can't tell anyone anything."  I don't mean it to sound so pessimistic, really--I mean that people must be "ready" to take advice and, most times, ask for it specifically before they will listen.  It is up to the advice-givers to honor that readiness or lack thereof without being judgmental or condescending ("Oh, they just aren't evolved enough yet").  Honoring the unique paths of others doesn't mean you've figured out more stuff than they have.  It means that you recognize that people do things in their own order, based on the distinct healing needs they have, in ways *you* aren't omniscient enough to understand fully.

To honor others' paths means to allow them the dignity of their journey and pace, the dignity of their uniqueness, and the dignity of their own mistakes and their own revelations.  We all know how much more powerful a realization is when we discover it experientially, for ourselves, because our own work has planted a seed that now blooms.

Now, this doesn't mean you should quit sharing your discoveries.  Be yourself!  When given with respect for others, you will never feel offended if people ignore your advice.  And a part of that respect is trust--that when and if the person does need the information you've shared, he will remember it and utilize it.

So give advice if you wish, and then give it away.  Give all expectations away.

I used to get really frustrated when people had health or healing issues, but would decline my suggestions and help--people that knew well that I am a natural therapeutic specialist, herbalist, and so on.  I started training in these fields over twenty years ago because I wanted to help people in the most effective way possible, period.  I always had a packed private practice, full of people seeing wonderful change, so I knew I could assist, and I really, really wanted to!  So I would feel depressed that healing was available but not accessed, and I would feel a little offended that they didn't seem to believe in my expertise.  I'm not giving advice for my health, I would think--I'm giving it for yours!!!  I wanted to save everybody.

But getting offended or judgmental means I'm making it about me.  And advice is not supposed to be about the person giving it, is it?  If advice is given truly and with integrity and genuine compassion for others, it is *only* about that other person.  And that person, being on her own journey, will need to make her own choices based on knowledge and experience only she has.

The beautiful part is that once you learn how to give advice and give it away, people start to listen to you more.  They sense that respectfulness in you, and the equanimity that comes from not *needing* to be acknowledged in order to be confident and compassionate.  

So as always, the healing--even of others--begins with ourselves.  Remember that the body heals itself--we as assistants don't hold the power, the timing, or the results. 

I still sometimes get weary when people aren't open to trying new things.  But it doesn't happen much anymore because I've learned how to mind my business and hold a Mona Lisa smile until the moment a person says, "What do you suggest?"  



Summer Recipes--Get Happy

It's that time!!!  Summer is the best for having fun with fresh, beautiful food.  Here are some of my favorite healing meals.

Lentil Stew Surprise:  Cook red lentils after sauteeing briefly in garlic and olive oil, add seared veggie chorizo at the end.  Serve with a dollop of yogurt and tortilla chips for a gluten-free dream.  We top it with a lime wedge and a sprinkle of paprika when entertaining.

Happy Salad:  Avocado, tomato, red onion, cilantro, and lime is a stand-alone star or a great topping on tacos and burgers.  Wonderful healing oils, vitamin C, and pure joy.

Portobello Perfection:  Fill portobello caps with pesto and feta for a rich, delicious treat.  Drizzle olive oil on the top and grill til fragrant.  It's a meal!!



Chrysalis Cures: How to Wash Your Face

Skincare begins with cleansing.  So what should we be doing?

Our goal in cleansing is to clear pores so that actives can penetrate and balance things from the dermis.  The more clear we keep the pores, the more efficient our treatments and the better our faces look.

I recommend the Clarisonic for the most basic step of skincare:  purifying and readying the skin for treatment.  This sonic vibration system releases old matter and thereby shrinks pores.  It's gentle and effective.  No harsh exfoliants should ever be used on the face--stop with your acids and lasers; they thin the skin and those wrinkly chickens WILL come home to roost.

I don't represent Clarisonic!  I just know that gentle + effective is the way to go, and I've had great results.  My pores have shrunk because they are not clogged with anything anymore.  My treatment oils penetrate so well.  And that's my rec, ya'll.  Save up; you'll be happy you invested.

DIY Delights: Treatment Face Masks

Learn to make a face mask for every need--from ingredients you probably already have on hand.  In many cases, you can create more potent and effective face treatments than anything you can buy in the store, because your homemade creations utilize only active materials, are always fresh and unadulterated, and are suited to your specific needs.

  • Issue:  Irritation and Dry Skin.  Mask:  Aloe-Banana Split

Indications:  Sunburn, insect bites, rashes, eczema, rosacea, inflammation, dry skin.

Ingredients:  Aloe, banana, avocado, yogurt, honey.

Instructions:  Mash all ingredients together.  Apply to clean skin and leave on for 5 minutes to a whole hour.  Rinse off, but do not soap.

Why Is It Amazing? All the ingredients here are extremely soothing and calming.  Banana, avocado, and aloe are all very moisturizing.  Avocado contains wonderful oils that nourish skin, and we all know aloe is a miracle for burns and irritation.  Banana is mucilaginous and full of vitamins, while yogurt is both calming and smoothing due to its mild acids.  Honey is the ingredient that ties this formula together and provides exceptional benefits of its own--honey is antibacterial, moisturizing, and nourishing.  Designed for dry or combination skin, this mask is suitable for all types, including acneic skin, because of the antibacterial/antimicrobial properties in the honey.  Moisturizing is always important for oily skin because one of the reasons the skin produces too much oil is that it believes it's too dry and must overproduce to catch up.  Help your oily skin out by supplying healthy moisturizing nutrition so that your oil-production can take a break.

This mask will deliver nutrition and moisture to the cells and plump them up, making it great for before a night out. 

Tips and Tricks:  Use fresh aloe squeezed from a plant like the one in the photo, alcohol-free aloe gel from a bottle, or aloe vera powder.  Use equal parts aloe, banana, avocado, and yogurt, approximately 2 T each, then add 1 T honey and mix well.  Toss any unused mask mix.


  • Issue:  Oily, Clogged, and Acneic Skin.  Mask:  Clay Smidgeons

Indications:  Oily skin, clogged pores, cystic acne, whiteheads, dull skin.

Ingredients:  Bentonite, green, French, OR white clay, apple cider vinegar.

Instructions:  Measure 2 T clay and mix with up to 1 T ACV to create a paste.  Apply to clean skin and rinse as soon as mask is dry, 5-10 minutes depending on thickness of application.

Why Is It Amazing?  Clay is a natural purifier with intense absorbent action--it draws oil, sebum, and pollution out of your skin, leaving it clear and soft.  Apple Cider Vinegar is another multi-purpose healing agent that establishes proper acid (Ph) balance in your skin, is gently astringent, and makes a potent drawing mask along with the clay.   Rich in minerals from the earth, gentle yet powerful, and delivering dramatic skin-tightening and pore-shrinking results, this mask is a cleansing miracle when you feel greasy or clogged.

Tips and Tricks:  Bentonite clay is the strongest, and should only be used on "tough" skin.  French or green clay is gentle and good for all skin types.  White clay is extremely gentle.  Use organic Apple Cider Vinegar "with the mother."  This means that the cultures are still alive and delivering the maximum benefit.


  • Issue:  Dull, Slack Skin, and Dark Spots.  Mask:  Egg on Your Face

Indications:  Rough skin, dull skin, tired skin, slack skin, dark spots and discoloration, and scars.  This is a buffing, tightening treatment that firms skin and makes it glow.  Great before a night out.

Ingredients:  Egg white, aspirin.

Instructions:  Crush 5 or more non-coated aspirin and mix with the white of one egg.  Apply to clean skin and let dry.  Rinse when ready.

Why Is It Amazing?  Egg whites have proteins that knit together and draw your skin tighter, and aspirin comes from the bark of the White WIllow and gives us salicylic acid.  The acid will resurface your skin and treat inflammation while the egg white makes your skin smooth and taut--without feeling stiff.

Tips and Tricks:  Again, make sure you use non-coated, non-buffered aspirin, and crush with the back of a spoon in a small bowl.  Separate one egg and mix the white with the aspirin.  Whip well and apply to the face--it will be a little runny, but you do not need to apply a thick coat.  I do not add any thickening agents to this mask because I do not want to interfere with the key action of the two stars.  If you want a thicker mask, let a layer dry slightly, then add more.  Over time, you can treat spots and discoloration with this mask.

New Year, New Leaf

The new year is a time we associate with renewal and change.  How can we best use the energy of the young year to catalyze transformation in our lives?


A lot of people make the mistake of trying to change too much at once.  Body and mind are creatures of habit, and each change you make deserves time and space to establish itself as one of those habits.  Trying to "fix" too much at one time can sabotage your ability to meet your goals and discourage you from sticking with any of them.

The spirit may be willing, but the flesh wants the familiar and comforting.  Persuade your body to "jump the ruts" and develop a new, healthier way of being by mixing enthusiasm with wisdom, and thereby setting yourself up for success.

1.  Give yourself a full month to implement one change.  Practice it each day.  After 30 days, you will have created a new, reliable routine.  At that point, you can incorporate another shift you'd like to make.

2.  Join forces with a friend.  Being accountable to someone else is incredibly effective when we seek to make real changes, and having a buddy just makes it a fun, shared project.  Support each other, check in daily, and consider creating a chart or tracking system to record your progress.

3.  Love yourself.  Setbacks will happen.  Nobody is perfect, and real change often requires more than one try.  That's okay!  Be patient.  Getting mad at yourself will do nothing more than convince you to give up entirely.  Don't do that--forgive yourself and start fresh in the morning.


Believe in your ability to change the things you want, and believe in yourself enough to know that if first you don't succeed, you'll try again.  Be gentle with yourself.  And remember:  if you make one small change this year that keeps, you will have changed your life for the better *and* created a foundation of success that will only make future changes easier.  Happy New Year.  <3



tree of life

Things That Grow

I was just admiring a sweet potato that has clearly given up on me and is now sprouting the loveliest leaves and tendrils.  I've put it on my patio and I'm calling it performance art.

But it reminded me of a trick I just learned about green onions, our little spry friends that never seem to have a purpose in life until suddenly you're like, "I need green onions.  STAT."

So, normally we buy green onions and use them.  We cut off the white ends, and a nice couple inches off the top, and go to town.  ("We" equals you, me, and everyone we know.)

And then when we've used them, we've used them, right?  WRONG.  Pop the root ends in a shallow dish of water and set it on a sill or outside.  Shield with a little mosquito netting if you are worried about dust or falling leaves, although those things don't matter.  Now wait a few days:  the green onions are happily--and swiftly--growing back!  YOU JUST MADE GREEN ONIONS.

You can basically have a perpetual green onion situation all year round, just by assigning a little corner to the "grow dish."  Leave them outside and they will handle themselves entirely.  Check back and harvest in a couple weeks!

I love this--little secrets.  Share your own little secrets here on Chrysalis Blog!


What's a Chrysalis Blog?

Glad you asked.  I'm going to use this space to share the tips, tricks, recipes, and healing wisdom I've accumulated over the years.  Natural Therapeutics or Naturopathy, like Ayurveda, is a whole-body, whole-life science.  It's not just about diet, or herbal remedies, or amazing detox soaks (wink).

It's a way of being.  It's a way of understanding Nature and thus, as we are a part of Nature, understanding our own bodies, our minds, and ourselves. 

Once we understand how Nature operates, and how its laws operate within our own skin, we can better support its intent, realize its wisdom, and cooperate with its work.  We become empowered to help ourselves and to trust the healing process.  And this will make all the difference.