Posts filed under Wellness

PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM THE SUN + SKIN CANCER

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Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the US. This is unfortunately a reality that hits close to home for me. Skin cancer runs in my family. My mom grew up in Belgium and France and recalls summer after summer lathering her skin in oils and laying out with zero protection. From an early age it has always been something that she ingrained in my sister and I - wear sunscreen! But why is it a topic only discussed in the summer? What about the rest of the year? About two months ago I found something that looked suspect on my back and realized I hadn’t gone for my annual skin check in years. I was so mad at myself! I immediately reached out to Dr. Sarah Dolder, a dermatologist with a practice in both Greenwich, CT and Manhattan, for help. Dr. Dolder was born and raised in Australia which basically makes her a sun expert! We originally met at an event through a mutual friend and I instantly loved her! Her calm and reassuring demeanor is exactly what I look for in a doctor.

Fast forward two weeks to my appointment. Dr. Dolder checked my entire body, including my scalp, for anything suspicious. It was fast and painless. Getting an annual check is a crucial part of skin cancer detection. Additionally, checking yourself throughout the year is equally as important. Below you’ll find the ABC’s that Dr. Dolder outlined for me. For most this is nothing new but if you’re like me, you probably could use a refresher. I’ve never discussed a topic like this on my blog before but its something I feel very strongly about and wanted to share.

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Coffee break with Dr. Sarah Dolder

Coffee break with Dr. Sarah Dolder

your monthly skin check


the abc’s

a - asymmetry

b - border

c - color

d - diameter

e - evolving lesion


The best way to detect skin cancer early is to be aware of any changes in your skin, abnormalities, or growths. Dr. Dolder advises that you do not check daily because you won’t be able to notice when there is a difference. Instead, check yourself monthly and have a friend or family member check hard to see places like your back.


the essentials


In Dr. Dolder’s office waiting for my skin check

In Dr. Dolder’s office waiting for my skin check

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I am not a doctor and this article is based on my own research and opinions. If you need medical advice please contact your physician

Posted on January 10, 2019 and filed under Wellness.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2019

Stephanie Trotta standing on Greenwich Ave wearing Theory

t w e n t y n i n e t e e n


Last year I wrote and created 152 blog posts for The Girl Guide. I was actually pretty surprised by this number and when I started counting I thought it was going to be much less. On this day last year I remember thinking, “This year is going to be IT, I’m going do it, I’m going to become a blogger.” I decided to put everything I had, EVERY single extra moment I had (and even the ones I didn’t have) into this blog. There were multiple reasons why. The biggest one was the fulfillment I got every single time I hit the “publish” button. This was MY space. it didn’t belong to my boss and it didn’t belong to my family. It was a place that I owned all on my own, a sacred space where I could share my dreams, my life, my aspirations, and most importantly a place for me to inspire. The second reason was the more practical one. I was tired of retail. I had worked in essentially the same job for 10 years and it was time for me to move on and to grow. At the beginning of 2018 I was committed to going off on my own because I felt there was no other option. It was make this work or live a life where I only saw my kids, my husband, and my friends on the weekends and we never shared the same schedule. There was only one problem. I was walking away from stability and into the unknown. It also meant taking a huge leap of faith in myself and my potential. The losses would be my own but so would the wins. I’m a dreamer by nature but over the years I’ve also become more practical ( I have my husband to thank for that!). So for the next 6 months I prepared for the next step.

July 1st was the first day of my new life. I’m going to do a blog post dedicated to the other non-blogger part of my business. Saying you’re a stylist can mean so many different things to different people. I get asked a lot about what it means and how it works, so look out for a post about that at the end of the month. For now I want to focus on this space. What I want to grow and what I want to stay the same in 2019. If I’m being honest, its tough out there! Its tough to know what you like and what you want to see more of especially on social media. I find judging my success on likes and comments on a post to be difficult and probably inaccurate. 2018 has mostly been a game of trial and error, going with my gut, and responding to direct message requests on Instagram. I can also be really tough on myself especially when it comes to photos of me. Some might say i’m in the wrong business! This year I want to focus on the small wins and not dwell on the misses. Here are a few focuses for 2019:


YouTube

I’m putting this at the top of my list because my number one dream” item on my list for the blog in 2019. That being said there are a few housekeeping items I’ll need to do first but my goal for the new year is to publish at least 4 style videos (one for each season).


Pinterest

Half way through last year I started to feel a little uninspired. I was constantly working and not taking anytime to recharge my mind. Before kids I used to flip through magazines and style sections but those days are gone. I rediscovered Pinterest and I love it! It has really helped me get the creative juices flowing when I feel like I’m in a rut. Its also a place where I organize my thoughts.


Fashion

This year I want to be more transparent about the clothes that I’m wearing. In the past year I have had to significantly change the way I look at my closet. In my pre-Instagram days I was the “investor”, still wearing pieces that I splurged on in High School and college. In Europe, clothes are so much more expensive. Every summer I would buy one or two pieces and wear them for years. Becoming a blogger changed everything. Again, I want to do a bigger post on this, but one of the ways bloggers make money is through affiliate links on our websites and through Instagram. If the clothing we’re wearing is old or no longer available you can’t sell it. This posed quite an issue for me as I wasn’t used to shopping SO much! I had to change my mindset (and my husband’s) and look at things differently. For 2019 my goal is to invest in fewer pieces at the beginning of the season and wear them longer and in more ways. Back to my roots you can say! Also there are three ways I get new clothing: purchase, gifted by a brand, or borrowed from a brand for a shoot. Look out for these mentions in every post moving forward!


Styling

As I mentioned above there will be a post on what being a stylist means to me and what I actually DO! I would like to show more of this world but it can be tough because the majority of my clients are private people. I would never betray their trust by putting their homes or lives on social media or on my blog. That being said I’m going to make it a point to ask more because I have recently had a few clients say they’d be open to it.


Lastly I want to thank you, my readers, from the bottom of my heart. Your messages, your likes, and your support means the world to me. I feel so lucky to have this space and that I get to call this my job. I love hearing from you and my mailbox is always open!

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boots, sunglasses my own // dress, scarf, handbag C/O Theory

the gift guide - the zen friend

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good vibes only

HEALTHY EATING AND WHY I CHANGED MY DIET

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Recently I reached out to my Instagram following via Stories and asked my followers to tell me what they wanted to hear more about on The Girl Guide. I received an overwhelming amount of responses asking about my diet. What gluten free/dairy free foods I loved and what a typical day looked like. Well I have to start by telling you...I didn't always eat like this.

The year after I graduated from college I started to notice my stomach bothering me more and more. I guess looking back on it now my stomach had always been an issue but we (my parents and I) always chocked it up to normal indigestion, car sickness, etc. It wasn't until Frank and I moved in together at the age of 21 (I know CRAZY!) that he said to me, this isn't normal, I think there is something wrong with your stomach. Well he was right. After 10ish years of suffering I booked an appointment with a gastroenterologist around the corner from our apartment. I told him everything. There wasn't much he could determine from our visit and suggested we move forward with an endoscopy. I was NOT excited about the thought of having a tube stuck down my throat and almost chickened out but with some coaxing from my family I did it. The result was an extremely inflamed stomach and esophagus. The Dr. said if I continued down this road we would be looking at ulcers or even more serious, cancer. I couldn't believe it. I walked out of the office with a prescription for Nexium and that was that. The topic of food was never discussed. I was a healthy eater, salads, fresh fish, little meat, yogurt and fruit for breakfast. I remember that morning grabbing a coffee (with milk) and an egg white sandwich (with cheese) on my home from the appt. It was on multigrain bread so it couldn't be bad for me right?

Fast forward one year and I wasn't getting better...it was actually worse. I was now working in corporate America, stressed, and taking about 4 Nexium a day mixed with other over the counter antacids. And then, a miracle....my Mom who for years has been practicing meditation as a way to relive chronic migraines, suggested I set up an appointment for me to see her guru. Neither of us ever mentioned any health issues to him other than stress. By the end of the session he said to me that he saw I had a blockage in my body and that I should stop eating dairy and gluten. He made a few other suggestions too, no raw nuts, eggs but only a whole egg, and nothing too acidic. I already wasn't eating tomato sauce but his prescription for no cheese meant no more white pizza which was one of my favorites. And so the rest is history...

NOW I will preface the below menu by stating that I am not 100% gluten free/dairy free BUT I have a found a balance that works for me. In terms of dairy I haven't had yogurt, milk, sour cream, or cheeses in the last 8 years. I can eat butter in small amounts and I've probably slipped up and had a piece of cake with one of those ingredients in it. What I believe now is that I have a dairy intolerance. I have also found that when I limit my gluten intake I feel even better and after eating such limited amounts of gluten, if I do have it I get a terrible headache and feel overall malaise. I'm a big believer in the idea that medicine is not always the answer. Don't get my wrong I'll pop a couple of Motrin for a bad headache but I also believe that what you eat plays a HUGE part in your overall health. The changes in my diet have drastically changed the way I feel. I can count on one hand the amount of times I've had reflux in the last 8 years (minus the third trimester of pregnancy which is almost unpreventable) and its all been pill free.  

My Monday-Friday Diet

Breakfast

Almond Milk Yogurt (Kite Hill) with Gluten Free Granola and Berries or Banana

Gluten Free Oatmeal with Apples and Dates

Chia Seed Pudding with Almond Milk and Cinnamon

Lunch

I eat a salad (like the one pictured above) almost every day for lunch. Sometimes I'll have an avocado toast on gluten free bread. If you're local I Organic Pharmer. They're also a great source for gluten free and dairy free options and they ship! I also on occasion get a super food smoothie for Lunch with protein but it doesn't really sustain me for long enough till dinner.

Dinner

Salmon with Coconut Brown Rice and a Steamed Vegetable (check this Salmon recipe)

Kale Fried Rice

Almond Milk Ravioli (Kite Hill) with Sautéed Spinach and Mushrooms

THIS Nicoise Salad

My favorite Gluten Free pasta right now

Recipe Resources - I almost exclusively get my recipes from Goop. I especially love their yearly cleanse recipes. Check out this one call the working girl detox. Although many of them require a variety of spices and condiments, once you stock up you're good to go! Also you can purchase some of the rarer ingredients on their website like this one which I use to make this when I have time!

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PS if you're wondering about the cookie in these pictures it represents my VERY BIG sweet tooth. Call it the Belgian blood running through my veins but I'm a dark chocolate addict...like I have to have a piece (or two) a day. I also can't resist a delicious (gluten free) cookie!

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Staying Healthy During The Winter

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If you were to ask my family they would all probably agree that I'm a borderline hypocondriac. There, I said it! When I was about seven years old and we were traveling home from the Caribbean I got really sick on the plane and I think it scarred me! Ever since I've been obsessed with trying not to get sick, washing my hands before meals (especially in the winter) and sanitizing (I only used natural based ones but more on that later). Pregnancy kicked my fear into overdrive but now with two boys and little time to obsess over it, I feel like I've developed a good routine. Some of you have asked me what I do to boost my immunity and for natural solutions to staying healthy during cold a flu season. The flu seems to be worse than ever this year and not even the flu shot is 100% effective but I've found that these things have helped me: 

I truly believe in the statement you are what you eat (drink) and that a good diet contributes to your immunity. During the winter I religiously drink a mixture of warm water, apple cider vinegar, ginger, lemon and honey. Alone, each one of these ingredients are beneficial but mixed together its a powerhouse immunity booster. Check out this article from GOOP and read more on the amazing benefits of ginger!

Sambucus I use this three times a day at the slightest sign of an itchy throat or runny nose. Also if I'm feeling rundown and more vulnerable. The rest of the year I take it once a day. They also make a syrup for kids as well as lozenges. 

Wash Hands This is obvious I know but don't underestimate the power of soap and water. My sister is a nurse practitioner and recommends washing your hands for a period of one "happy birthday" song or the ABC's - I have Luke sing them to himself and it works! If you don't have access to soap and water I love this sanitizer. The ingredients are all natural and its free of synthetic detergents and preservatives. PS washing my hands all the time makes them super dry. Loving this hand cream lately!

Sleep I am NOT a morning person. It sounds crazy to say, especially for moms with young kids, but I can't operate on less than 7 hours of sleep. We've been really lucky that our boys are good sleepers and consistently clock out for an average of 12 hours a night. I have so much admiration for moms whose children wake up at 5:15am and start their day...I couldn't do it! No magical advice here - but I try to plan two nights a 

Green Juices With a busy schedule it can be so tough to make sure I'm getting the right greens every day. I almost always have a salad for lunch but I need more and its not always guaranteed in my dinner. Drinking a green juice with ginger or lemon a couple times a week is so helpful. If you're local my go-to's are Green and Tonic in and Meli Melo.   

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Check out this article: What to Cook When You Have the Flu

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You must also not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional health care provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or any other professional healthcare provider. 

Posted on January 26, 2018 and filed under Outfits, Wellness.