Gluteny foods are delicious.

Not gonna lie.  There is nothing, nothing like real toast. The ambrosial aroma, the amazing alchemy that happens when a slice of simple bread is hit with high heat, turning brown and crunchy and divine.  It’s the best!


If I had to pick a cuisine to live on for the rest of my life (please, do not ever make me do this) it would be Italian, the most gluteny of all the cuisines.


I am one of those gluten-free types.  Not to be trendy, not to be cool, but because gluten makes me sick. Gross, uncomfortable, extremely yucky ways of sick. A skin condition called Dermatitis Herpetiformis is not lovely to look at.  It’s very ugly.  Let’s just say it’s not called “Herpe” for nothing.  Gross, right?  No, it’s actually grosser than that.

Cleanse your brain of any gnarly images with this:


I’m not only GF in my diet, I’ve also gone GF with my beauty products. There’s conflicting advise about this. Many experts will tell you that if you have to be GF there is no need to change the products that go on the outside of your body. But they’re WRONG! Gluten molecules can’t be absorbed through the skin, so this makes some sense. Most people making the change to a GF life know about swapping out their toothpaste and lip products, but why change anything else? My whole house is GF, including all the cat and dog food. You may say that sounds extreme, but it’s not.  Here’s why.

Ever get shampoo or face wash in your eyes?  Ever taste your hair conditioner when you’re rinsing? Ever notice how your powdery makeup products waft in the air as you do your daily maquillage? Ever think about what else you’re putting in your mouth along with chips and salsa?

In case you haven’t noticed, your eyes are directly connected to your mouth. Whatever gets into your eyes is getting into your mouth. Handcream on those lovely digits? If it’s not GF, enjoy some gluten with that popcorn. That powdery makeup floating around? It’s drifting right between your luscious lips into what should be your GF system.

If your products aren’t GF, and you really, truly need to be GF, then you’re not really GF.

Not going to lie, going gluten-free is hard.  It’s everywhere and in everything.  Hidden in plain sight, which makes things more challenging. I’m still learning, and I’ve been doing this for years.

Gluten can be hiding in these ubiquitous food ingredients:



Natural Flavor



Caramel Color

Hydrolyzed Protein

As for gluten hidden in cosmetics, if the label says any of these, beware:

Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour
Dextrin Palmitate
Hydrolyzed Malt Extract
Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
Hydrolyzed Wheat Flour
Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein/PVP Crosspolymer
Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch
Secale Cereale (Rye) Seed Flour
Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract
Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil
Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Gluten
Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Starch
Wheat Amino Acids
Wheat Germ Glycerides
Wheat Germamidopropalkonium Chloride
Wheat Protein
Wheatgermamidopropyl Ethyldimonium Ethosulfate
Yeast Extract

So, basically “hydrolyzed” anything is no bueno.

Fortunately, lots of companies are getting hipped to the need for GF beauty potions.  Harder to find at the beauty counter, but check your local source for health food.  It seems to me that smaller artisanal lines are the ones who really get it.

A few excellent online resources for truly GF beauty:

Good luck out there!



Puppy Love, Puppy Licks

by Mona on June 13, 2014

Spring is here, and I say halle-freaking-lujah to that, thankyouverymuch.  We become sun-starved in these parts, but now the sunny days are back, and happy days are here again.  What am I doing here, really? is what I ask myself round about February, but then May returns and I remember why.  This green lushness is why I stick around the PNW.  Roses bloom in February.  Seriously, it’s nuts, I love it.

So much busy since my last post.  I moved house and home, hosted a new workshop (more about that in a bit), and then one minute I’m picking up moving boxes from a friend of a friend, and this tiny creature comes hopping in the back door:


Big blue cast?  Cone of shame?  A ridiculously adorable puppy looking like a teddy bear/lamb/fox hybrid? You know when you just know? I knew. It was love, she was my dog.

Moving is always crazy-making for me.  Just when I think I’m organized and on track, I realize how not ready I am, then commence transformation into a manic stressball.  I know this well, because I’ve moved 8 times in the past 6 years.  Which is about 7 times too many.  But life, ya know?

Anyway, new place and puppy!  So good! I’ve wanted a dog for basically forever, but the time never felt quite right.  Then this house became available, and the time became now.  For years I’ve been fully convinced that I would adopt a sweet, super chill, older dog.  A good old, relaxed doggy pal that could roll with my random schedule and be happy to hang out while I’m at home banging away on my computer. Most important, it had to be a dog that would ignore my sweet older kitteh, because nobody is allowed to harass the Rosie.  Except me, to rub her belly, because it’s so fat and furry and soft and I must touch it.

photo 2
I mean, come on!

 I had to wait four long weeks to find out if I could adopt her.  Now, six weeks later, we’re a little family of 3, biped me, tripod Clementine, and quadruped Rosie kitty.  Something for everyone, I guess.

While all this was going on, I was planning a workshop that I’ve wanted to present forever.  When people find out I’m a makeup artist/health coach/stylist, I usually get at least 1 of 3 reactions*: 1. do you do makeup for TV or movies?, 2. “don’t look at me, my makeup is ______ (fill in the blank with synonym for ugly), and 3. what should I use on my skin?  My workshop – Exquisite Elixirs – was for the third question people.  Lately, I’ve been formulating my own whipped body butters.  I’m so excited by them that I’ve been walking up to friends and acquaintances and forcing them to feel how smooth and soft the skin on my arm is.  Exquisite Elixirs workshop was all about learning how easy it is to make amazing, nourishing whipped body butters and complexion serums at home, what ingredients to avoid, and how to feed your skin from within.  It was a wonderful experience.  We ate great food, and played with skincare; basically my idea of a perfect day.

Now, look at that little puppy tongue, because it’s the reason for this post.

photo 3 I will lick anything, including this pillow.

Would you eat your skincare products?  Me neither.  Not even the organic, gf/df, GMO/paraben/phthalate/etc.-free products that I use.  Guess who has no idea about any of that?  My puppy and my cat.  Miss puppy will happily lick anyone and anything within reach of her little pink tongue.  Pup is especially fond of a post shower lick attack on my ankles.  If I don’t want any toxic chemicals on my epidermis, I really don’t want them in my puppy’s tiny, post-amputation, still-developing system.  It’s bad enough she sneak snacks on compost, she doesn’t need any crappy skin stuff in her body too.  And remember, whatever gets on a cat, gets in a cat.  If you put hand cream on, then stroke your cat, your cat will be eating that cream at her next cat-bath.

Would you feel comfortable with a baby or a pet eating your skin products?  I really want you to think about this, because it’s important. If the answer is no, then it’s time to find products that do your body good, and are safe for you and all the small creatures in your life.

Next post: the recipe for my Exquisite Elixirs Whipped Body Butter. I’m not too modest to say that I made the best body butter I’ve ever used. You will love it!

*Answers: 1. No.  2. Please stop talking shit about yourself.  I’m off duty, and not judging your makeup, or lack of makeup. Unless your makeup is fabulous, in which case, I want to know your secrets. You want my professional assessment? Then hire me, we’ll talk. Until then, I truly do not care if you wear makeup, or how you wear it. 3. See answer 2.


Spring Fever of 101°

March 21, 2014

I’m on my second day in bed. Portland is sunshiny and Springy today. It’s a measure of how crappy I feel that on this first day of Spring I’m indoors, because here in Portland it’s a requirement that even the rumor of a sunbeam demands you go outside.  You know that thing when you’re sick […]

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Cheery Pits

March 14, 2014

A short, extremely incomplete list of things I find irksome: jerks who use cell phones at the movies, scratchy tags on clothes, sweaty armpits. Scissors works for the tags, and I only have to put up with those movie cell phone jerks for a couple hours, but sweaty pits have confounded me since I began my […]

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Bizarre Beauty Bazaar 1 – How To Be Truly Radiant

February 25, 2014

Beauty is a primal pursuit, and we are on an eternal quest to discover the secrets of attractiveness – whatever that means.  Beauty standards are fluctuating and fickle, but the essential compulsion to seek out beauty is constant.   Human beings, endlessly inventive, have come up with some weird, misguided, and mystifying solutions to the beauty quest.  […]

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This cat is killing me.

February 3, 2014

See this cat? This is my cat.  Her name is Rosie. Look at that face.  It will not be denied. Rosie is the sweetest, roundest, gentlest, cuddliest, cartooniest kitty; the living embodiment of those old instructional pictures on “how to draw a cat using only circles”.  I’m under her paw, just as any true cat […]

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Happy Holidays! Here’s your Hangover Helper

December 22, 2013

Been doing lots of celebrating? How’s your skin? Holidays for me mean getting to enjoy time with friends.  I’m way past the point in life where gifts are the point of the season.  What I really want is to be in the company of friends and family.  Finding time to share is the most welcome […]

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Cleaning Up

November 1, 2013

The other day I posted this picture of my very own jam-packed shower caddy: In case you can’t see it clearly, there are 4 facial cleansers there.  “You only have one face, why do you have so many cleansers?”, is what I decided you asked. 1.  My skin, and your skin probably, needs different things […]

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I’ll Show You Mine…

October 17, 2013

Lollygagging in the shower the other day as usual (why is it so hard to get out?), I took a real look at all the products in my shower caddy, and realized how different everything is compared to what I used even 5 years ago. I get asked all the time about what products I […]

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Eyelash Obsessing 3: Daredevil In The Details

September 13, 2013

Gunky lashes bug me.  Hairy spider leg looking things belong on hairy spiders, not surrounding my baby browns.  This is why I love my handy, dandy, scarily-pointy, gold-plated Tweezerman Folding Ilash Comb.  It’s the lash de-gunker to beat all lash de-gunkers.  I’ve tried every lash separator out there, from a clean mascara spoolie to a […]

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