Today’s What We’re Loving is brought to you by Lauren, Studio Manager/ Beauty and Style Editor:

Hello! I, Lauren, (or as my favorites call me, “Lolo,”) am jumping in to share with you some of my top favorite things or experiences I’m loving right now. These are the things that bring joy into my life right now OR just make my life plain easier. I think C.S. Lewis says it best, “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment.” So here you go, the last step in my enjoyment of these things, to share them with you. Enjoy!

  1. I have been obsessed with Matcha Green Tea lately. Sometimes I have up to three cups a day. Beep boop. I love that it gives me some caffeine but without the jitters! Here is my recipe, but be warned, you might not be able to control yourself with just one cup: 1 cup of water, 1.5 teaspoons of Matcha Green Tea, 3 tablespoons of Coconut Milk (make sure the can is shaken up before using it), and 10 drops of Monk Fruit. Use a milk frother to mix up, serve over ice, and enjoy!
  2. I have been a reluctant online dater off and on for about six years. I have always equated the anxieties of online dating with thinking it was not for me. In May (with the encouragement of my two co-workers, Brandi and Melissa, and my sister-in-law, Lyndsey), I hopped back into the intimidating world of online dating. While eharmony does feel a little cheesy and slightly outdated, there are some pros to it. The dating site does deep dives into the “personality and passions” portion of someone’s profile. You answer dozens of questions and once you are matched with someone, you receive a matching score. This system is definitely not fail-proof, but I did find that this in-depth form of online dating was an easier and faster way to see if my lifestyle aligned with someone else’s. Because you fill out so many detailed questions, the thoughtful answers of a certain man caught my attention. Just two weeks after giving eharmony another try, I met Bill and we have been dating ever since! 
  3. With so many distractions, like TV or social media, it’s easy to get into the rhythm of finding rest in front of a screen. Last year, I learned how to play gin rummy and fell in love with it! Over the last several months, playing cards with my friends and family has been a fun way to spend time with the ones I love. There is something so special about sitting around the table, talking about your day, or telling silly stories while playing a game of cards. Cards truly put play back into leisure time. My boyfriend recently taught me how to play hearts, and it is now one of our favorite things to do on double dates!
  4. Natural deodorant can be an overwhelming world. There seem to be so many options and they usually aren’t the cheapest things in the world to try on a regular basis. I’ve had success with both Beautycounter deodorant and Primally Pure in the past, but with my sensitive skin, both have made me break out here and there. I recently heard someone on Instagram talk about Humble Deodorant, so I thought I would give it a try. Like all natural deodorants, you do still sweat, but this brand neutralizes odor and does not make me break out!  Win-win! I even got my boyfriend the unscented version, and he loves it! 
  5. A few years ago, I started to notice how diet, sleep, and exercise greatly affected (in a good way) my mood, stress, and anxiety. Because I am a runner, I did a deep dive on the internet to find out what running was doing to my brain. In the midst of all the research, I found the book Running Is My Therapy. This book provides data and case studies on the topic of how running can help you manage negative emotions. While there are several ways to manage stress, anxiety, and depression, like medication and traditional therapy (which the book supports), running has personally been a game-changer for me. Running can be intimidating, but in this book, the author talks about the short- and long-term benefits of running just 20 minutes a day a few times a week. So, don’t be intimidated, and lace up those running shoes! 
  6. With the holidays just around the corner, I have been getting into the spirit by diffusing some of my favorite essential oils! It’s not always easy to find essential oils that aren’t too overpowering and that everyone likes. I diffuse 10 drops of Christmas Spirit at the Fed & Fit Studio Office, and it’s an office favorite! Another great holiday option is diffusing 7-8 drops of Christmas Spirit with 2-3 drops of Cinnamon Bark. It’s so festive!  
  7. Because I struggled with acne in high school and college, I have always been scared to use any type of oil-based cleanser, thinking it would contribute to my breakouts, however, I recently watched a training by Victoria Enriques, and she changed the way I think. She is a licensed Aesthetician of 24 years and in her training, she talked about the benefits of double-cleansing with an oil-based cleanser, especially for acne-prone skin. Here’s how it works. Double cleansing starts with washing your face first with an oil-based cleanser, (I love this Cleansing Balm), then using a water-based cleanser afterward. When you cleanse with an oil-based cleanser first, it acts as a magnet and grabs onto all of the oils, makeup, and sunscreen you have had on your face throughout the day. Once the oily products are removed, you then wash with a water-based cleanser. Because all of the oil and gunk is now removed (thanks to the oil cleanser), your water-based cleanser can actually work harder to give you a deeper clean, penetrating your pores more easily. I have loved using this method several times a week (or every night when I have time!). 
  8. Cassy found this non-toxic candle company on Etsy, and I have been loving them! Because average candles contain synthetic fragrances, which can negatively affect our hormones, I have slowly started to buy candles made with essential oils only. The brand Natural Sloth on Etsy makes lovely scents. I have purchased “Fall,” “Spooky,” and “Home!” They make amazing gifts and offer free shipping if you spend $75 or more. 
  9. While I have never been a die-hard soda drinker, I do love sparkling water and the occasional IZZE drink. These OLIPOPs have turned me into a soda drinker! I would have never been proud to call myself that in the past, but these “sodas” are something I feel good about drinking. With only 2-5 grams of sugar per can and 9 grams of fiber, they are sweetened with fruit juices and cassava root syrup (zero corn syrup). These tasty treats also contain gut-loving pre-biotics! My favorite flavors are Cream Soda and Ginger Lemon. 
  10. As you can imagine, we dirty a lot of dishes at the Fed & Fit Office studio. From recipe testing to photoshoot days, our pots and pans have seen some crazy stick-on food! I will never forget the day that Melissa, my Fed & Fit co-worker, introduced me to the Branch Basics Oxygen Boost. It was as if the dish angels dropped a treasure into my lap. If you have a sticky pan that won’t budge, you simply fill it with water, add a scoop of the Oxygen Boost, and let it sit for 15 minutes. The mess and grime will practically slide off the pan when it’s ready. I have NEVER been more in love with a cleaning product. You can also add it to your load of whites to brighten them and best of all, it’s fragrance and chemical free. I will forever be gifting this product to friends and family!

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Lauren Hill

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