Skin and Water

Michigan people never age. I mean it. I've lived in Colorado for 19 years and every summer I go back home to visit my family in Michigan where everyone's face stays frozen in time. I've seen it with my own two eyes, so it must be true:) Both of my grandmas lived into their nineties and even the last few times we visited I noticed how smooth their skin was, and virtually no sun spots - trust me, these ladies weren't wearing sunscreen, drinking bottled water, eating organic, or getting laser treatments at the spa. So what was their secret? 

Two things that I can think of that matter A TON in this process of aging, besides being extremely happy and stress-free: 1. The sun. In Michigan, the sun is mostly tucked behind a cloudy overcast sky. (I know these types of rays can still cause skin damage but do not begin to tell me these rays are more harmful than the bright, blasting, sunshiny days of Colorado). For example, the first summer I lived in Colorado I went rafting and was warned to sun-screen everything, which I did, but as a rookie I forgot to include my lips - that night, I woke up with fourteen cold sores that were so huge and swollen I was too embarrassed to leave my apartment for 2 days. True story. Now that never happened to me in all my Michigan summers! And 2. It's hella humid in Michigan. So much, that wet towels will take days to dry outside - mind as well just throw them in the dryer. 

This combination of cloudy and wet makes for one effective skin care advantage. Being from Michigan I love the humidity. I love it for my hair, my sinuses, my sleep, and just feeling a little plumper in general - like a grape vs. a raisin.   

So, long story short - keep your skin humidified if you live in a dry climate. It's just one more tool in your bag to help your skin look and feel its best for as long as you can.

The other day on goop I saw Gwyneth advertising a room humidifier for $119.  It's looks awesome. But, I also don't think many people can afford one.  So I wanted to share the one I use for $34.99 - and I love it.  And the best part is, I received two faulty machines that needed to be returned and their customer service is insanely good. I am happy to promote a company that stands by their word and actually answers the phone when you call them.  I've had the same Crane Cube for over a year now and it works like a dream.    

Never tried the Vitruvi on the left, but the Crane Cube on the right is an outstanding product. Sleep well, my friends. 

One Simple Thing You Need to STOP Doing

I’m not going to be cruel and make you wait until the end of the post to give you the meat of the article.  The best thing you can do for your pelvic floor, right now, is...


(It’s no wonder so many people have pelvic floor issues with how often I catch random people slouching in their chair). And just like that, this post has turned into a rundown of the correct way to sit - remember correct alignment in sitting, standing, walking, running, etc. is key for having a pain-free, injury free, fully functioning body. Do you know that being out of alignment is also cause for cellulite? If there's any other motivation for training your body to get in line then this would be the one to get your attention! (But more on the cellulite thing later).

 Here’s the deal with sitting:

When we “slouch” we are sitting on our tailbones because our pelvis is rolled up underneath us - which essentially means we are shortening the length of our pelvic floor between our tailbone and our pubic bone. Remember, your pelvic floor is attached to your pelvis at four different points: 2 sit-bones on either side, your pubic bone up front, and your tailbone in the back.  This constant “shortening” is training your muscles to do weird things, but mostly, you are weakening the fabric of the muscles that are designed to stay both taut and buoyant, much like the fabric on a trampoline.  Another tell-tale sign of slouching is a flat lower back because every time you slouch you are also teaching your lumbar spine to flatten - there goes that nice curve in your lumbar spine that is necessary to function properly and put you into correct alignment.  So the next time you catch yourself sitting on your tailbone in the car, on the couch, at your desk, etc. just picture what a trampoline looks like with a broken spring (a metaphor for your tailbone) - your whole pelvic floor balance will be off.  Here’s a quick rundown of the correct way to sit so your pelvic floor is most happy!

  1. Sit down and place your feet flat on the floor, hip width apart.

  2. Scoot up near the front of the chair so your hips are just slightly higher than your knees - remember, it’s much harder to slouch when you have your hips placed higher than your knees.  

  3. Just like in yoga class, find your sit-bones and then see if can roll your pelvis forward until you find your pubic bone resting on the chair. FYI, once you rock forward onto your pubic bone you automatically relieve pressure from your tailbone.

  4. Feel the bottom two ribs of your rib cage are lined up over the hips.

  5. Roll shoulders down and back so they are in line with your hips.

  6. Rest hands in your lap with palms facing up. This will trigger your shoulders to roll down and back if they haven’t already done so.

  7. Keep crown of your head tall to the ceiling by bringing your chin back until your head is properly lined up just over your pelvis - your head could literally sit in the bowl-shaped pelvis if you didn’t have an upper body separating the two. (Or, just make sure your ears are over your shoulders and shoulders are over hips). 

  8. Engage your core with a few BAB breaths which turns ON your transverse abdominus - Tutorial here:

  9. Here's the kicker: The most important thing to realize is that you are using your core to hold your body up - NOT, your neck and shoulders. By putting the work in your abs - this translates to less time you need to spend conditioning them at the gym - BONUS #1!

I know, I know. Sitting isn’t quite as relaxing as it used to be but you are training your body to do wonderful things! You are engaging your core properly and your pelvic floor is most happy here. This is just one more place in your life to bring awareness to your posture. Bonus #2: You will be amazed how quickly aches and pains in your back, neck and shoulders go away when you are using your core the way it was designed to be used. (Besides, you can always go to bed when sitting becomes too much work for you.  But you know me. Soon enough I will be posting tips on proper alignment even while sleeping).  Stay tuned.


Notice how natural and perfect this posture looks? Just kidding!

But take note: Nice curve in the lower lumbar spine, shoulders rolled down and back, head over shoulders, shoulders over hips. Ribs are down, not flaring out.

Core muscles are turned ON - which translates to functional movement (engaging muscles correctly while just living your life), and less time at the gym. You know the drill.  


Admittedly, this posture may look comfortable - but notice how the core is turned OFF in exchange for comfort - which translates to more time conditioning those muscles at the gym.

Plus, your alignment and pelvic floor will be pretty pissed off later if you continue to do this over the course of a lifetime! Bad, bad, bad. 

Best Exercises for your Postpartum Core

I am NOT a workout snob.  I love it all and will try anything at least once. Admittedly, I grew up playing a multitude of sports so my all-time favorite activities are done outside. But, that’s not to say I can’t appreciate the convenience of a gym (it’s called childcare!), or enjoy the energy of a group fitness class. Over many years, and many different activities, I’ve noticed that rarely is a workout all-encompassing.  I love certain workouts for certain reasons.  Here’s what I mean:

I love what Daily Method classes do for my alignment and flexibility.

I love what Tracy Anderson does for my arms.

I love what Pure Barre does for my bum.

I love a good Stroller Strides class for the camaraderie.

I love what yoga does for that whole tapping-into-the-universe and being-a-part-of-something -greater-than-ourselves thing.

I love that playing tennis for an hour and a half feels like ten minutes.  Don’t you love a workout that doesn’t feel anything like a workout?!

I love what running does for my mind.

I love what snowboarding does for my...everything?...ok, wait I found one. But even I can’t ignore that my jeans are tighter in the thighs after a full season of shredding on the mountain. Strong thighs are great but I don’t want to buy new pants.

But, notice anything missing from this list? My core, right? I don’t know how many times I have walked away from an exercise class or sport feeling exhilarated but wishing my postpartum core had been addressed more thoroughly. No one wants to go home and workout after they’ve just worked out, know what I mean?

The BAB program is proven to give you a strong, functional core again after pregnancy. This method works because it engages your postpartum core in a way that I found all other exercises were missing. I never liked (or thought much about) my core before pregnancy but it is always on my mind after pregnancy.  There is only so much that flowy tops can hide, know what I mean?   

The thing I’m most proud of in creating the Bodies After Baby (BAB) workout series is that every single movement radiates from your core. The program reconditions your postpartum core from the "inside out" by tapping into the deep abdominal wall (transverse abdominus), pelvic floor, and multifidus (muscles in the spinal column). Because of the focus on the BAB breath, you’ll be able to tap into these deep core muscles, hitting them from all angles, which helps you build an exceedingly strong core and a gorgeous, balanced body.   

I am so grateful my core is back, and stronger than before. Am I saying it’s perfect? Absolutely not.  I’ve had three kids and I’m 42 years old, for crying out loud.  BUT, my waistline is smaller. AND, my belly button is almost back to its original shape and size.  My diastasis recti is closed and my pelvic floor is in check. And mostly, I’m so thrilled to be pain-free, injury-free and leak-free that “perfect” is just an afterthought. Now, I can honestly say:

I love what the BAB workout does for my core!