Trying to Conceive a 3.5 Year Journey- Part 2 Courage in Action by Ryann Hanes


I have a 'non-working' tube on my right side that for 2.5 years after my ectopic, retained an VERRRRRYYY slow shrinking 5 cm "unidentified" mass in it after they performed the surgery to remove the pregnancy from it. This mass shrunk slowly over those 2 years- I like to think of it as an hourglass reflecting my healing, the more I let go of-the more I healed, the smaller the mass became.

It was December 2017, that after steadily receiving acupuncture for fertility that this mass actually DISAPPEARED- as in the ultrasound wand crammed up my vagina could no longer identify or find the mass on my right side. Yes, I do think it's a little bit of magic and a lot of CHINESE MEDICINE (more on that another time).  Infertility looks like a lot of things and for me, it looked like severely unbalanced hormones and a big mass in a non-working tube. 

I have linked items, studies and additional info throughout this post- just look for the underlined sentences or words!

There are 4 major things that I attribute my natural conception to:

1. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for obstructed tube and hormone balance

One of my favorite things about living in both Los Angeles and Austin is that these treatments are easily accessible because of the eastern medicine schools and programs. I really liked Yo-San in La and I go to AOMA in Austin- these schools have clinics where you can get treatments for around $30- don’t sleep on these opportunities if you live in a city that offers this- it is such a gift! If you don’t live in a city with these credentialed schools, it’s also worth it to plan an appointment if you end up taking a trip to a city with these budget friendly clinics. I have been going since my ectopic and even went religiously (Starting just 2 weeks) after I had Willa to assist with hormone recovery and nourishment after childbirth. Truly one of my favorite self-care practices.

2. Meditation + Therapy - addressing emotions and beliefs and working through them

I think thoughts create our reality and working with my thoughts helped me to create the reality I wanted. That’s not to say reality always has gone my way, but I have been able to manage my response when it doesn’t and this has helped me understand myself and where I hold myself back a lot more. Therapists are pretty personal selections- But I appreciate a therapist who has a background in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and I have also found Jungian Therapy helpful. Bottomline for me is someone who can help me work through my chatter and teach me tools to work with tough feelings/situations. I’ve had “counselors” who bring religion into our sessions and share opinions and I am not into that at all. If you haven’t found yourself a good therapist, keep looking. I think the entire world should be going to therapy at some point in their lives. It’s been a very valuable tool for me. I will touch on meditation just for a sec, as I think I talk about this a lot. But in general, awareness of my thoughts through a mindfulness practice has helped me to understand what is arising and when it arises.

3. REMOVING HORMONE DISRUPTERS- I took a critical look at the things I was consuming, putting on my body and exposing myself to in my environment that were disrupting my hormonal balance- yes, we are talking your shampoo, your candles, air fresheners- you’d be shocked. More on this below.

Whoa- for me this one is huge. and, I think it is likely the one that can send you down such a deep wormhole-

Look if you think you’re just drinking water when you fill up a cup from the tap- think again. There’s copper, lead, chlorine, atrazine (widely used as a herbicide on almost all corn crops in the US and used to kill weeds- and found, you guessed it, in our drinking water.) Atrazine has been found in studies to turn male frogs into female frogs. (cool! but wait, not cool.) It has been linked to breast tumors and in some studies, prostate cancer in humans among other things. High amounts of fluoride is commonly found in tap water (check out this study on fluoride and pregnancy here) and even arsenic- you’d be shocked at what is allowed in tap water. And by the way, your brita isn’t getting that stuff out. I use a Berkey Filter with add on filters that remove arsenic, fluoride and a host of other heavy metal ions. The Berkey can also make swamp water drinkable- so I feel like it’s a good investment for the end of the world (jk, kind of). You can find the Berkey we use, here.

Not to sound alarmist, but did you know that the products you are using on your body and in your home are likely filled with known endocrine disruptors? Anytime you see the word fragrance on a label, you can bet it is filled with Phthalates- studies have linked these to hormone changes, low sperm count, birth defects, thyroid irregularities (I could go on and on), Parabens and sulfates that mimic hormones in your makeup and shampoo, extra hormones in your meats! AHHHH! Ya’ll I can go on and on about this- Bottom line- I went nuts and threw away all makeup, skin care, house cleaning, fake scented anything and everything in our home. and trust, me, we are all doing just fine using natural products. We now use Oils for moisturizers, paraben, sulfate free etc, shampoo and conditioner - I am happy to give suggestions on product swaps, just DM me on instagram. We also purchase organic food products (because pesticides) and for meat, grass fed or raised organic fed animals. We have made the swap over to organic linens and a low chemical mattress as well as the years have gone on. I know all of this can be overwhelming and even seem intense, but once you realize what the government allows in products that you assume must be safe, you realize you don’t want to put your money into the hands of people making products that are making us sick. So the extra money it takes to buy something actually clean, feels good to me and is worth it. We def aren’t perfect and make compromises here and there, but I try really hard to be aware of what is out there. There’s a fantastic app called Detox Me that walks you through small changes you can make every day to lessen your toxic load. This podcast is also a great listen- How to Avoid the Chemicals That Are Making Us Sick

4. Dr. Nutt at The Wellness Institute of Dallas- Dr. Nutt ordered blood work to understand what was really going on inside my body and based on this blood work, he prescribed life changing vitamin supplements that supported my hormones in a integrative way- this 100% changed the way I felt in the most amazing way. I was pregnant in 2 months after starting his regimen- I CANNOT recommend him enough.

This certainly isn’t as in-depth as I could possibly go, but all in all, I would say my journey TTC ended up being a lot more of a self-discovery journey instead. I learned more about my body, my hormones and the things that influence them. I thought deeper about the things I consumed and this for me was healing. We are all different and all of our journeys do not look the same. I am grateful to have been able to conceive and my heart is with those of you who are trying.

Trying to Conceive a 3.5 Year Journey Part 1: The Fear | december 2017 | by Ryann Hanes

Forward: It has taken me 2 years to get to this but as promised, here it is! Please enjoy this story written when I found out I was Pregnant with Willa.

It's true, I have found myself pregnant with a real live human living and growing right inside my uterus and while many around me have taken this journey (many of you multiple times!) this for me is monumental and it's monumental in a way that has less to do with creating life and more to do with overcoming fear. 

I think it would be amiss to announce my pregnancy without highlighting the journey it has taken to land here in this moment. For me as an outsider, it has seemed like many around me were/are able to get pregnant with a relative amount of ease. And while I know that is surely not the case for so, so many of us- I wanted to touch on what it's like to find yourself in a place where pregnancy seems to be intangible and perhaps even impossible. I write this in the spirit of oversharing- because so many others have shared their infertility stories and this at times soothed my restless spirit.

Jake and I have been together nearly 12 years and for a hefty part of those years I steadily relied on birth control to keep my strong independent, child free, woman vibe going (and to also [inadvertently] keep my hormones wack AF-more on that another time). But, eventually my relationship with birth control more closely resembled a yo-yo like pattern, of hopping on and off of the pill depending on how annoying my periods were that month or how accessible planned parenthood was. This, had a huge impact on my hormonal balance (or lack thereof) and is what I believe led to my initial challenges with fertility. Eventually, I did get pregnant, but in my tube- which you may remember resulted in a near death experience, losing 1/2 of my blood and emergency surgery 3.5 years ago.

This was where a part of me died and fear was birthed in it's place. 

and fear is tricky like that, it sneaks into the cracks of self doubt, where it does it's best to expand within you- to push you further away from yourself until you're no longer connected to your spirit.

For me, fear came in many forms- in the form of disappointment, self-doubt, mis-trust in my body, questions of what I deserve, karmic debt, pain- both the physical pain in myself and the emotional pain felt by me and Jake-  in blame, in judgment and in shame. For a great deal of time, I housed these beliefs and emotions inside me and I think many of us struggling with fertility do. We often overlook what it FEELS like to struggle with fertility issues, we forget to acknowledge that the body physically responds to emotion. For me, acknowledging that these things were present was the first step toward restoring my spirit, my innate nature.

It's very important to note that physically, I have fertility limitations and no amount of acknowledging my emotions is going to wave a magic wand and make my right tube function. My fear of another ectopic was at times debilitating and to try to conceive felt like a free-fall into the unknown, into the out of control. This was an invitation into deep trust with my mind, with my body and with the unfolding of life as I know it. 

 Do I think that for me fertility = letting go of fear?

Well, I think it's the catalyst-  but letting go of fear looked like many things for me over these 3.5 years. And the truth is, letting go of fear is a constant process of re-committing to trust. In this moment, there are still 1 million things which could go wrong. But, sharing my news, my excitement, my vulnerability with the world is one of my steps in relinquishing fear in the form of shame if something does go wrong. Rather than choosing fear, I have chosen trust. I will talk more in upcoming entries about the collective of support that I built to heal my hormones and body physically and more about the process of overcoming the physical limitations of my fertility. But for now, I will leave you with a First Chakra Meditation and a Second Chakra Meditation that I have found healing.

Trust that life will take you where you need to be. That all is available to you on your journey. trust that everything is unfolding in its time.

Thank you for your sweet comments, texts, your encouragement and your well wishes and has been and will continue to be a journey of transformation for me as I lean deeper into trust.

To be continued...

How I Cleared My Adult Acne; Phase 2: Morning Routine by Ryann Hanes

First let me start out by disclosing that I am a self professed skincare product freak- I have probably tried over 57564320 products (which has undoubtedly slowed my acne clearing progress- since I like to try all the fun things that my skin doesn't like), but the products listed below are the one that stuck. There are some honorable mentions in the "Notes" section of each category, but all in all i tried to keep it pretty straight forward. As I mentioned in Phase 1, I have definitely had to modify the way I approach adding a new product into my ritual (ie: slowly and 1 product at a time,) but there have been some positives to trying all the things! I have found a variety of products that do work for my skin, so hopefully some of these may work for you too! I think that skincare can be a fundamental part of a nourishing self-care ritual and can serve as a foundation to feeling great about yourself- not because of the way you appear externally but because placing energy towards taking care of yourself and mindfully taking the time to check in can strengthen the relationship you keep with yourself and this mindfulness can trickle into other areas of your life too. With that being said, I love finding the most effective products that work for my skin and incorporating them into the ritual morning and evening. 

Before we get started, check out these disclaimers that I think will help you to find the most success on this journey- How I Cleared My Adult Acne; Phase 1: The Changes this post gives an in depth look on the lifestyle, diet and supplement modifications that helped set the stage for the products to do work. 

Whenever I searched through blogs about skincare, the main thing I wanted to see were pictures of people's skin. So I will try to post a skin picture each time I write a blog on this subject. This isn't a great picture to see skin texture, but it is in natural light and there's no filter or anything like that. Not sure if a reader who isn't me can tell how my skin has cleared but, but this was one of the first pictures I took where I noticed that my skin was *actually* getting better.  But now onto my morning routine!

MORNING TIME Step 1: Cleanse Skin

Product: Visage by Marie Claire's Exfoliating Cleanser

Price: $50

Lasts: I have had 1 bottle of this, and I use it morning and night and it has lasted me almost an entire year. 

Product Consistency: The texture is gel-like, it is clear and has light clean smell.

Use: I use a pencil eraser size amount and massage into wet skin for 30 or so seconds and then rinse- and PAT DRY WITH A PAPER TOWEL. (This is a v. important step.) See Phase 1. 

Notes: This is a Glycolic Acid Cleanser that works by exfoliating the top laters of skin- If you have not used acids in your skin regimen before, expect a purging period. Don't freak out! It is just your skin working through all of the build up in your pores. Typically people say that you may purge up to 4 weeks, but I really mean this when I say, I think my skin purged for 3 months. However, if you have switched to a mineral makeup, have eliminated primers and are taking other steps in Phase 1  then I hope it will be shorter for you. This is one of the most amazing products because it is gentle and still exfoliating without the abrasion of a scrub. Scrubbing my skin was one of the things that was making my skin 100 times worse. So I quit scrubbing all together- no washrag, no face cleaner brush, no really grainy face washes, just this awesome cleanser. One of the major keys to clear skin is exfoliation but with acne prone skin, you have to find a way to gently exfoliate so you don't irritate it- this product is great for that. I love this cleanser!

MORNING TIME Step 2: Tone Skin

Product: Porespective Soothing Toner

Price: $25

Lasts: 3ish Months

Product Consistency: This toner is super, duper watery. Very light, and has little to no smell. It leaves skin feeling smooth and also lessens redness. 

Use: After cleansing and patting my face dry with a paper towel, I pour a little of this in my hands and pat it into my skin. 

Notes: This toner is very gentle and features Aloe Vera and Allatoin which are very soothing. It is important to use a toner so that you can bring your skin's PH balance back after using the acid cleanser on it. I like this cleanser because it doesn't break me out and doesn't make my face feel oily or greasy. I also appreciate that there are no unnecessary fillers or chemicals in this and that they do focus on products for Acne Prone Skin. I am not crazy about the company itself, they have quite poor customer service and they are not flexible or helpful. Once my package got lost and they basically just told me to call the post office and try to find it- they refused to send me the missing product again (luckily I ended up finding it). But, I do think their products are great and for that reason alone, I continue to order from them until I find something else that works better. Note: I used to use the Stone Crop Hydrating Mist from Eminence and it worked well- it was a little more oily than I like, so I ended up switching to the Soothing Toner which literally just feels like a drink of water for my skin. I love Eminence though and use some of their products in my Evening Routine and as "Add Ins" which I will detail in my upcoming posts.

MORNING TIME Step 3: Light Therapy!!!!!!!!!!

Product: Conair True Glow Light Therapy

Price: around $50x 2

Lasts: IDK, a long while

Use: After I cleanse and tone my face, I use this blue light on my acne prone areas both morning and night. I hold the light to my skin for at least 5 minutes in each quadrant of my face. 

Notes: EDIT: After using these little handhelds for a few months (and feeling like it was taking up too much time) I bit the bullet and bought this 3 Panel Norlanya- It has saved me soo much time, 20 minutes in the morning and 20 in the evening  (max) and I am good to go! Love this thing- absolutely worth it! Also love the anti-aging red light!

IF THERE'S ANY STEP YOU ADD TO YOUR ROUTINE- ADD THIS! I know I am ecstatic about a lot of things but this light is seriously amazing. This is what really took my acne clearing to the next level. I often times found myself accidentally over drying my skin with "Acne spot treatments" when I would get a pimple, and now I use this directly on the spots and they go away much, much faster than topical pimple cream can get rid of a pimple. I literally cannot sing this product's praises enough. But you have to be willing to put the time in. I actually ended up buying two of these Conair lights because I wanted to cut down on the time I had to hold this thing to my face and now I can do both sides of my face at once. I specifically noted this brand and this light because I actually bought this Full Face Mask  and felt *so* Vanilla Sky -but I noticed after using the blue light in the face mask for about or week or so that I was getting more pimples than I was when I used the Conair Handheld one. So, I reverted back to the handheld blue light (x2) since it really works. Also, I think it's worth noting that you can purchase a Red LED light to promote collagen formation and Green Lights for sunspots. I am very into these lights and I have seen how awesome the blue light works. I have a red bulb that I bought but I just started using it, so I can't really tell if it does anything yet- but I will keep you posted!

Blue light kills the acne-causing bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes, or P acnes, which can cause inflammation. P acnes is sensitive to blue light. Using the blue light, eliminates the bacteria found in the oil glands in the skin. The added presence of infrared light (heat) in the home device causes the oil glands to shrink in size. The result is less oil in the skin and less bacteria, leading to the resolution of acne in the treated areas.

MORNING TIME Step 4: Serum

Product: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Acid Serum  


Price: Yes, it's expensive $163

Lasts: I use 1 drop every other morning- so I think it will last forever

Product Consistency: This is light brown and very potent. I haven't noticed a smell and it isn't greasy or sticky at all. It absorbs quickly. 

Use: 1 drop patted into skin about every other morning. 

Notes: Well, the thing is, is that I know how great Vitamin C is for your skin and how important it is to use this to protect your skin from free radicals and the sun (esp since I don't wear sunblock). I am definitely wanting to do those things, but most Vitamin C Serums break me out. I have used Marie Claire's Serums, I have used some Odacite serums and I have tried probably 10 other serums and they all have broken me out. For about 6 months, I used this Instanatural Skin Clearing Serum but something happened and all of the sudden it started to break me out- Instantural has lots of rave reviews about their products helping people get their acne under control+ anti-aging properties. The Skinsceuticals Serum is very potent, so I alternate the days that I use it. I have noticed that if I get excited and use it too many days in a row that my pores start to become congested. So every other day works for me. I also bought this in a package with a rich hydrating cream (which is an "add-in" that I will highlight later) from this brand and I got both the cream and the C Serum for the above listed price, so, sometimes you can find a deal. For me this is a necessary step because it helps with acne scarring, aging and sun protection. 

C E Ferulic features a synergistic antioxidant combination of 15% pure vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid), 1% vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), and 0.5% ferulic acid to enhance protection against environmental damage caused by free radicals that can contribute to atmospheric aging. This vitamin C serum helps neutralize free radicals induced by UVA/UVB, infrared radiation (IRA), and ozone pollution (O3), which may lead to visible signs of accelerated skin aging. In addition to antioxidant protective benefits, C E Ferulic improves signs of aging and photodamage, the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and the loss of firmness, while brightening skin’s complexion.

MORNING TIME Step 6: Facial Moisturizer

Product: Visage by Marie Claire Hydrating Soothing Moisturizer

Price: $40

Lasts: 1 bottle has lasted 6+ months

Product Consistency: This is an incredibly light weight, not greasy moisturizer. It is perfect for my acne prone skin. It is white in color and slightly gel like/watery. It isn't luxurious feeling or heavy at all and it doesn't leave your skin 'glowy' (I use Homeoplasmine for that see Step 7)- it just simply hydrates without clogging my pores which is exactly what I need it to do! 

Use: Morning and night after the steps above, I use a dime sized amount and pat it gently into my skin until it is completely absorbed.

Notes:  There is nothing fancy about this moisturizer besides that it hydrates without making my skin oily or shiny. It is Paraben and Sulfate free and it has no fragrance. It features B5 and Allatoin as its active ingredients . I have tried to switch out to other moisturizers and I always end back up with this product. It is so reliable and such a great base. I plan to keep it in my routine foreva! I also appreciate the customer service that Marie Claire provides. A+++ experience with her products! Note: I took a 3 month break from this product to try the Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer by Eminence- I determined that it was the cause of minor breakouts and switched back to Marie Claire's moisturizer. I do love the attention to detail in Eminence's products and have found some things that work which I will detail in my future posts. 

MORNING TIME STEP 6: Optional: Clearing Gel 2.8

Products: Porespective Clearing Gel 2.8

Price: $26

Lasts: 1 bottle has lasted 6+ months

Product Consistency: This is a milky white color and has a gel-like texture. The great thing about this product is that unlike most Benzoyl Peroxide products, this product doesn't leave a cakey or chalky residue after application. It soaks in rather than sitting on top of your skin.

Use: I use this on top of my moisturizer about 2-3 times a week. I take 1 pump and pat it into my lower cheeks and jawline since that's where I break out. I keep this away from my eyes and away from my mouth and laugh lines, since this skin dries out SO easy. It can be a bit drying, so I use it a lot more frequently in the summertime and on the days that I work out. I also use it more frequently around my period- when I break out more prominently. I also avoid applying this in the day time if I plan to be in the sunshine because I am 30 and I really don't want any extra wrinkles.

Notes:  This product is paraben free and alcohol free which I like. Benzoyl Peroxide in general is not very restorative for the skin, in fact it can damage your skin. It is effective at clearing P. Acnes Bacteria and for me, applying this in my routine at the beginning especially REALLY helped clear out those purge breakouts. I use a stronger version of this in the evening which I will detail in my Evening Routine post which will be posted next. For me, the positives of this product outweighed the negative and I hope to eventually phase it out completely. But on days where I know I am going to a really sweaty workout or breaking out from my period, this definitely helps with damage control. This product works and although BP isn't the cleanest product, I will keep it in my routine until I never have to think about acne again! Also, this might bleach your pillow or other things.

MORNING TIME Step 7: Eye Cream

Products: SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel + Homeoplasmine and/or Calendula Ointment


  • B5 Gel: The large bottle is $85, but I have been using the free little samples and haven't needed to buy it yet. But I probably will. 
  • Homeoplasmine: I bought this in an Italian Pharmacy and it was probably around $15
  • Boiron Calendula Ointment: I buy this at Whole Foods for around $12


  • The tiny B5 Gel has lasted me about 2 months so far.
  • The tubes of Calendula and Homeoplasmine have lasted me 6+ months.  

Product Consistency:

  • B5 Gel: this gel is oil free and incredibly lightweight. It soaks right into your skin and has a soft after feel.
  • I use the Homeoplasmine and the Calendula Ointment interchangeably. You can't get Homeoplasmine in the states but the Calendula Ointment is nearly identical ingredient wise to the Homeoplasmine. The consistency is like an ointment. Tacky and sticky and very occlusive. Leaves a hydrated sheen- so a little goes a long way. 
Calendula Ointment vs. Homeoplasmine in consistency. The Homeoplasmine is a little more opaque.

Calendula Ointment vs. Homeoplasmine in consistency. The Homeoplasmine is a little more opaque.

Use: I apply eye cream after my moisturizer since my moisturizer is so light and I also don't want to accidentally pat my eye cream all over my face. I use 1 drop or so of the B5 gel under my eyes and then seal it in by dotting/patting Homeoplasmine or the Calendula Ointment around my eyes. If you wear mascara, you will probably want to be v conservative because it will make your eye makeup melt off your eyes. But it works well with bare eyes! I also rub this on and around my lips as a lippy. 

Notes: I like the B5 because I can use it with eye makeup and it is soft and soaks in quickly, for most days though, I don't wear eye makeup and my primary need is something to make my eyes look hydrated and awake and I like a little bit of sheen at the tops of my cheekbones. A friend of mine always had amazing skin and she is the one who told me about Homeoplasmine- she used it as a makeup primer/eyecream/multipurpose salve. I definitely couldn't put this all over my face- but it works great around my eyes! Before I picked up Homeoplasmine on our travels, I was using the Calendula Ointment and I have to say they perform and feel about the same. The line carried by Wholefoods (it's all in the first aid area) by Boiron is amazing- they have a Calendula Gel and a cream which are equally awesome. My dad uses the cream as his facial moisturizer! Since these ointments are so occlusive I look at them as a sealer of whatever potent products I put on first (like the B5 gel). 

And there you have it, my basic morning routine complete with cleansing, toning, light beaming my face, seruming and moisturizing. It is an investment, but remember that ideally you are adding things in slowly so you can gently acquire the things that work for you- and they do last quite a while. You can start off with just the cleanser, toner and moisturizer for the AM [AND OF COURSE THE LIGHTBEAMS!!!!] and be set for a few months without needing to add anything in. The most important thing is finding a routine that works for you! After I post my Evening Routine, I plan to write a post that details all of my "Add-Ins", which are the products I add in both morning and evening including face masks, peels and intensive hydrators if there's a need. This Morning Routine acts as the foundation and I do add things in here and there depending on what my skin needs and I think those details are important to share as well- because although keeping my acne in check is a primary concern, I am also really interested in keeping my skin healthy and glowing and these extras really help with that!

My next post will detail my Evening Routine which I will link here when it's up. My Evening Routine incorporates a few different products that I think are very vital in keeping my acne at bay. This is a lot to digest, so I think breaking the posts up like this works the best. What do you guys think? Please share what has worked and hasn't worked for you! Have any of you used these brands and if so, what are your thoughts? I would love to open up the conversation!



How I Cleared My Adult Acne; Phase 1: The Changes by Ryann Hanes

I have been plagued with adult acne ever since (my skin was even a little unpredictable before this) my ectopic pregnancy 2.5 years ago- I am not sure exactly how this spawned it, but with the hormonal shift, my skin legit freaked out and I literally couldn't get it under control. In fact, it only intensified. Today on my blog, I am sharing the first steps I took to clear my acne. My next post will feature the products that changed my skin for the better. I hope that this helps even one person to find the clear skin they deserve. This post isn't sponsored and I am under no obligation to share any of this! This is truly just what worked for me!…/how-i-cleared-my-adult-acne-phas…

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remembering by Ryann Hanes

The street is pocked with potholes and cracks. On the roadway, kids scatter about

because the local high school has just let out. The kids are dodging traffic on green lights,

sauntering arm and arm with lovers and weaving their bicycles in and out of the cars that fill the


The curbsides are riddled with mom and pop car lots, one after the other; you pass them, as old

unwanted cars face you, smiling with their grills exposed- and the once perky balloons, float half-

heartedly above the sun burnt hoods of the cars, these balloons, maybe like the people who tied them here, are too tired to float high, instead they have shriveled up under the sun with nothing

but their sad strings anchoring them to the cars, holding them hostage, until they sink fully in the

afternoon heat. 

A few businesses down is my childhood street. A small convenience store sits on 

the corner; and above it, sits a hand painted sign that reads ”Bill’s Convenience”. I can 

remember walking here with my sister and sometimes my cousin, Trevor, on a hot late summer day after school. As a child, 

my mother would send me to Bill’s Convenience with a one hundred dollar bill and a 

mission. I would first check out the Laffy Taffy selection, if they had purple in stock, I 

usually got two sticks of that. I can remember the buckets filled with sour apple and 

grape gum. My sister and I would each scoop a handful out and sit it on the counter. 

Sometimes I would grab a bag of Cheetos and my sister usually got Funyons. To drink, 

we always got Yoo-Hoos. After we made our picks, I went up to the counter and said 

what they knew I was going to ask for. “And one pack of Marlboro light 100s, for my 

mother, please”. I do not know where I had the audacity to ask for a pack of cigarettes at 

the age of 13, perhaps, it was just naivety, but with that, they plucked the cigarette pack 

off the wall and threw it in the sack with the rest of our purchases. I dropped the eighty 

dollars worth of change into the plastic sack, and off we went down the street, chewing on Laffy

Taffy and chugging our Yoo-Hoos. 

On the opposite side of the street, there was a church park. Sometimes my sister, 

cousin and I would all go there and hang from the bars or swing. Some houses on my 

street were nice, sometimes the neighbors would wave hello if they were in their garden, 

or out grabbing the mail. There was one house that seemed abandoned to me. The grass 

was over grown and the paint on the gutter was flecking off, and there was nearly no sign 

of life except for a few cats that lay swooshing their tails in the grass. My house sat a 

little further from the middle of the street. It was a dark brown two-story house that had a 

small window in the staircase that looked out into the street. This was where my mother 

and stepfather lived. My stepfather, Steve moved into this house after both of his parents, Peggy 

and Gene (who lived in the house for decades) died. While his parents were alive, they 

were our neighbors, because, before my parents divorced, my mother, father, sister and I lived

next door. 

Before my parents divorced and before we moved next door, I can remember our neighbors having large Saint Bernards, and learning to ride my brand new pink bike down our driveway with my father.

I can remember when my mom took pictures of my sister and I in our school uniforms in the front

yard on the first day of school. I can remember looking for Santa Claus on our front porch with my 

dad because I thought he had fallen off of the roof.

I remember when the Saint Bernards died, and then a few years later when Gene died. I remember then, when Peggy got sick and died and I remember when their son, Steve, moved in.


My parents got divorced, and my dad moved out.

My dad told me they were getting divorced in the mall, at my favorite store, Limited Too.

I remember leaving the store, the fluorescent glow of the mall lights reflecting

off of the shiny mall floor. It was bright and dim at once in the mall and the shrieks and laughs

and rustle of people echoed off of the escalator and glass store fronts. I don't remember how I

felt, I only remember how it sounded.

I don't remember moving from one house to the other one next door. I don't know how that transition happened. It seems like, just one day, we were living next to the house we once occupied- and there were new people in our old house, filling it with life and planting trees and flowers and making it theirs. I guess that's how change happens. It happens slowly, but really all at once. 




In this series, I will share the paths of women who are doing their thing and doing it well. 

I am inspired by women who get out there and make things happen- particularly in the health and wellness field. It can be really intimidating and confusing when trying to forge a path in industries that often don't have a clear path to success. This takes courage, grit, dedication and of course, a clear vision. I have asked several women who inspire me to share their story and their path. Introducing the BadAss ♀ Series that focuses on women who are kicking ass and making things happen in their fields. 

This week's BadAss Female is Hayley Roy- Skin Expert and Green Facialist. First- Hayley has this gorgeous glowy skin that obviously indicates she knows what's up in skin care land. She has vast amounts of knowledge on all of the natural skincare products out there in the world and has such a calm gentle energy about her. Here's Hayley's insight into the green land of beauty!




Tell us about your path to holistic wellness, what brought you to this moment? 

My journey started when I was really young. I was consistently at home sick, needing to leave school for emergency doctor/hospital visits, throwing up at every birthday party or holiday outing and struggled with cystic acne starting at age 10. I became obsessed with figuring out what was wrong with me as it never seemed like other kids my age struggled as much as I did. This experience led me to esthetic school at 18 years old the summer after my freshman year of college and that's when the path to recovery really started to unfold. My interactions with everyone during this journey from my teachers, classmates, clients to other professionals all helped me start putting the pieces of my puzzle together. I've learned so much about everything from nutrition, herbalism, supplements, spirituality and obviously skincare throughout the last decade. I constantly strive to stay as educated as possible so I can live my best life and provide some of my personal insight to help others. 


I provide a holistic insight in my skin care practice. I have been a practicing esthetician since 2006 and have slowly focused down to providing efficacious, green facials over the last year or so. I had moved to LA back in 2012 and hoped to find a great place to work which provided the same care/ethics that I believe is essential towards making a change with someone and their skin. I worked everywhere from small boutiques spas, corporate hotel spas, and plastic surgeons offices until I realized that I needed to create this place I was seeking so much. With the support of The Detox Market, the best green beauty store in LA, I manage my time between personally assisting people with their skin care regimen online and providing a safe and approachable space in my home for customized facials. I use organic or wild crafted products that are toxin free in addition to using a LED lights, high frequency, microdermabrasion, plant based peels, ultrasonic exfoliation and cold therapy. No treatment is the same. I truly feel like everyone needs to be catered to on an individual basis, which has always created an immediate trust and calm for my clients. Each one of my clients calls me a skin coach because I'm here to listen and make them feel like we can get through their skin concerns together. A lot of what is going on can be internal, and that can be very vulnerable. I want to make sure each person feels supported and not alone. 

What are 3 things you cannot live without and why? 

  • My iPhone: I love to be in constant contact with my loved ones. Sending silly emojis and I love you's periodically throughout the day almost makes me smile. Luckily, I can still disconnect easily.
  • My BKR Water Bottle:  I don't drink out of plastic and it's so adorable I am constantly reminded to drink water.
  • Zinc Based Sunscreen: I love Josh Rosebrook's Nutrient Day Cream and Suntegrity's Daily Facial SPF. Zinc is so healing to any inflammation and is a natural physical block against the sun. It's necessary for my pale complexion!

How do you nourish yourself daily?

My skin care routine. I am diligent about my routine because it makes me feel beautiful and it forces me to slow down. It's good for my soul and I never skip it. 

What is your go-to favorite meal? 

Every morning I make a quick smoothie and salad so I'm at least set up for 2 meals of the day. My smoothie usually has Maca, Protein Powder, Spinach or Kale, Blueberries, Coconut Milk and Moon Juice's Spirit Dust. Salad is a half cucumber, half avocado, mixed greens, whatever other produce I have on hand! For a dressing, I make a Turmeric, Himaylian Pink Salt, Fresh Cracked Black Pepper and Olive Oil. It takes me about 10 minutes every morning and sets me up just right.

What is your personal/professional philosophy? 

To say yes to myself and others. I know when to say no but I just started saying yes to myself. It's rare that I say no to a client, as I know it can take a lot to ask for help so I try to always be present for when someone needs it. Also, never be the smartest person in the room. I need to constantly learn and grow so I am open to it at all times.

Where do you draw your inspiration for your life’s work? 

Every day conversations with different people. We all deal with struggle in our lives and you can never assume what someone is going through. For me, mothers are very inspiring to me because I think of them as superhuman.

How do you measure success?

Success is helping others. If I can help someone realize their worth that is my measurement of success. 

How do you work to elevate women around you?

I'm constantly complimenting people. Genuinely. I love telling someone that they have a beautiful smile or their energy is fantastic- because hopefully it will help them spread that joy. It's infectious to be kind. Women need a lot of kindness and we deserve to honor each other. 

Closing wisdom or inspiring quote you would like to share?

The background on my phone says "Don't just be good to others. be good to yourself too." It's simple but we all need a reminder. I throw compliments out and promote self care all day long. The truth is that it's easy to get into a routine where we give and give and give but we must remember to always give to ourselves, too. That is when the most magical moments happen.


I’ve partnered up with my friend Tara Curran to host a series of talks called SKINFOOD. We are hosting several events throughout the next few months. Announcements of the events will be posted on Instagram- so make sure to follow us (@therapeuticskincoach and @taracurran_). You can learn more about my work here: -My website is a great way to connect- Whether you want to book a session with me in my home skin care practice, connect on how to obtain their skin care goals or just read about my insights on everyday topics, this website will be the embodiment of all of that!

I SHOULD VS. I WANT by Ryann Hanes

If you know me, you have probably heard me say: "I would rather be at home taking a bath and hugging my cats". 

I use this phrase when I am uninspired by someone or something. It's my compass and filter that I use to determine what's worth my time and what isn't. 

So often in life we can be pulled forwards and backwards and side to side. Spending our time out to dinner with people we don't particularly like and working for companies and people that don't light us up inside simply because it's what's come up or because we feel like it's what we "should" do. 

A short time after we moved to LA, I made the conscious decision to step away from the hustle of trying to get into a desirable studio- I was tired of playing the game- of taking class at studios, making relationships and *hoping* I would get an audition for a regular class on the schedule. I wanted to know why someone couldn't just see the value in what I did- why they couldn't just determine my skills based off of- ahem- my SKILLS and not who I know and where I have been and how many followers I have on instagram. I totally get plugging into a community and I definitely wanted to do that- but not in a rushed, try 1 million studios a month manner. I just wanted it all to feel natural and not forced. I started to really listen into my inner dialogue to observe when my thoughts shifted from "I want to ____" to "I should ____".

This was an ah-ha! Moment. Anytime should presents itself- either in your own dialogue towards yourself or others or in someone's dialogue towards you- THERE IS JUDGEMENT.

Let me repeat that: Anytime you use the word SHOULD- you are judging yourself or others. In my opinion, noticing this in your life is the first step towards internal and external contentment and ease. 

So, I set a deal with myself- no more shoulds. I wasn't going to seek out relationships with anyone that I didn't genuinely want to hear what they had to say. I wasn't going to go out of my way to prove anything- I was just going to continue doing good work, teaching any opportunity that presented itself that I wanted to do and work to create a world and a life that was based on ease rather than proving worth. 

This has been such a great journey- Throughout the process of stepping away from this hustle- I have had really enjoyed seeing what presents itself. As it turns out, when you do the things you like- you enjoy yourself and end up around people you like which makes you more successful at what you do. I have connected and attracted good humans that I genuinely like and can honestly say most everything I do now is equivalent to the happiness I get from taking a bath and hugging my cats- although not simultaneously. 

That's why I wanted to share this with you! Because isn't ease what we all want in life? Don't we want to feel that soft flux between work and play between responsibility and fun. 

Of course there's the balance between making a living/making things happen and waiting for things to happen to you- that's not what I am talking about here- I am talking about removing the expectation of being a certain way and doing certain things and listening in to what you truly, really want to be doing with your energy, resources and time. 

We all have this dichotomy- of what we should do and what we want to do. Not just in our careers but life in general. As we begin to craft the life that we want and a life that we love, noticing our "shoulds"  is the first step. 

Make today full of what you WANT. 





In this series, I will share the paths of women who are doing their thing and doing it well. 

I am inspired by women who get out there and make things happen- particularly in the health and wellness field. It can be really intimidating and confusing when trying to forge a path in industries that often don't have a clear path to success. This takes courage, grit, dedication and of course, a clear vision. I have asked several women who inspire me to share their story and their path. Introducing the BadAss ♀ Series that focuses on women who are kicking ass and making things happen in their fields. 

I couldn't think of a better person to kick this series off than Stephanie Goldfinger. She is a mover and a maker and has an excitement for what she does that is contagious. 


 Vegetarian Comfort Food Maker + Teacher | Venice, CA


Tell us about your path to holistic wellness, what brought you to this moment?

It’s been a long and winding road, with a seemingly random collection of career twists.  I started off with a degree in psychology from the University of Michigan. Then I moved to LA and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life so started folding clothes at an eponymous boutique, and was soon thereafter tasked with creating and running their e-commerce department. After 4 years there and at another spot, I went out on my own and started my own web design company. I have always loved design and art, and this was a surprising way to express my creativity. But after a few years of endless all-nighter projects and nightmare clients, I was burned out.

Even though I was good at my job and it afforded my rent, I didn’t have any passion for what I was doing. I found myself taking longer and longer breaks in the middle of these massive code-a-thons to cook elaborate meals for friends or spending hours wandering the farmers market. In those moments, I felt alive, I felt peace, and I felt real-deal-you’ve-found-the-one kind of love.  The more I cooked and entertained and taught my friends how to whip up a fabulous meal, the more people saw the light inside me turn on, and the more they tried to hire me to cater dinner parties and teach them how to cook. And one day, I woke up and decided that I would not spend one more moment of my life doing something that didn’t make me feel exactly that kind of joy. So I created my company, Cooking for Luv, where I set out to share my love of hearty, soul-nourishing, plant-based food that warms the heart and pleases even the most carnivorous of appetites. I was terrified. Everything I’ve ever done in my career has been self- taught and I’ve always leaped before I looked, and this was no exception. I never went to culinary school and had no idea how to run a food-based company - but I did it anyway because it just felt right. I was lucky enough to grow up in a family where the kitchen was king and where family meals were the moments where we really connected. I learned from my Southern and British grandmas and my parents how to make heart-warming comfort food, and that the love you put into creating a meal shows itself times infinity on the plate.  So I just committed to taking that type of food and concept of injecting love into every plate to my clients, and doing it with my whole being. And go figure, once I started living what I love, life started to fall into place. I’ve appeared on the Food Network, worked with national brands, taught at companies like Hulu and YouTube, cooked for celebrities - and it all feels incredibly surreal. It’s so strange to me to not feel the universe’s resistance along my path anymore, and often wish I would have been cooking all along, but I know I never would be where I am today if I hadn’t gone through the years of wandering and struggle to get to this beautiful and true place.

 What are 3 things you cannot live without and why?

  • My Little Shih-tzu Bug: she brings me an unending supply of love and cuddles, calms me when I am stressed, and reminds me through her joy that there is something new and awesome in every blade of grass and ray of sunshine.
  • Beach Volleyball: it is my physical outlet and a place to work on taming my overly-competitive side, it’s my meditation practice, and my much needed time in the sun after being inside the kitchen all week. 
  • My Benriner Mandolin: nothing makes a more wildly-even slice faster than my trusty mandolin. It saves me a ton of time in the kitchen and makes my food look super fancy.

How do you nourish yourself daily?

I cook. It’s so strange to me after all these years to have my work be the same as my happy place, but it’s so true.  It combines all of the things I love into one nourishing experience.

What is your go-to favorite meal?

I absolutely love tacos. There are endless possibilities for fillings and sauces and toppings and they’re a quick and comforting go-to when I’m tired from a long day of cooking for other people or hours of playing volleyball on the beach.

What is your personal/professional philosophy?

Be authentic, vulnerable, and do unto others as you would want done to you.  It never fails to amaze me the connections you can make with others and the affect you have on people when you are open, honest, loving, and give without expectation of anything in return.

Where do you draw your inspiration for your life’s work?

The simple beauty of the produce in the farmers markets, restaurants where I am blown away by unexpected combinations or old flavor profiles turned new, and food memories from childhood.

How do you measure success?

When I feel in balance between work and play, when I feel like I am moving in the flow of the universe rather than fighting it, when I feel like all my struggles and hard work along this journey start to make sense as a larger more complete picture, and when I feel the people around me happy and nourished. 

How do you work to elevate women around you?

I work as a mentor with EmpowHer, a program for middle school girls in underserved communities in LA, helping them grow into strong women that will beat the odds to graduate high school and go on to be inspiring women in their communities.

I also run a little brain-trust group for fellow “girl bosses” where we work together to support each other in our personal and professional lives- where we all live by the adage that it takes a village. I had a hard time in high school with “mean girls”, and it has affected me greatly throughout life. I never want others to go through what I did, as kids or adults, so I preach and practice wholeheartedly the concept of community over competition. I feel strongly that helping other women can only bring more light to my world- there is room for all of us to be massive successes in love and work if we lift each other up instead of tear each other down.

Closing wisdom or inspiring quote you would like to share?

“What is done in love is done well.” –Vincent van Gogh

What’s coming up for you, how can we connect with you?

I’m beyond excited for the next chapter of my career, where all of my seemingly unconnected twists and turns in my life are coming together into one dream world. 

I just opened a culinary-focused community where the makers and tasters of Los Angeles can come together to create, collaborate, and connect all under one roof. Part co-working community for bloggers, chefs, and artisans; part studio kitchens for budding YouTube stars and culinary instructors; part members-only food-focused social club with events like pop-up dinners, chefs battles, and tastings; and part large event space for anything from launch parties to weddings. 

Check it out at and sign up for a membership to join the ecosystem.

I also have a web series  for the amazing vegan brand Follow Your Heart, where you can see me teaching some fun, healthy recipes (and being a total goof) on-screen. You can find my class schedule and recipes at and stay connected with me on Instagram @cookingforluv and Facebook.   To book a class or have me cook for you, email me at

Mindfulness Series; Part 1 by Ryann Hanes


It is so easy to get swept up in the chatter of our day, our routine, the people around us and probably most notably: the chatter of our own minds. Mindfulness separates our being, spirit and Self from this chatter.

Paying attention to the present moment that you are sitting in right now with awareness of where you are in space and time. 

For me, mindfulness is becoming aware of all emotions, uprising feelings and thoughts but with a distance of understanding that I am not those thoughts and that they are just transmuting through my airwaves. 

My spirit exists independently of my thoughts, my brain, learned intelligence, physical functions of my body etc. Our bodies are a capsule that hold all of the ecosystems together.  It's like our existence is a snow globe. The body is the actual structure of the snow globe that keeps the water and snow floating inside. Our spirit and sense of Self is the water- it fills the snow globe and is only housed there for that time because the globe encapsulates it. Everything else- the thoughts about what's for dinner, anxiety, the obsessive ideas about what you should and shouldn't do, the 1 million thoughts you have in a day sometimes judging yourself or even praising yourself, everything that your feel like you can't control- these are all little flutters of snow. Sometimes it is endless snow going on up in our minds and it seems like it will never settle. 

You settle the flurry of thoughts by stilling the water. 

You can calm the water at any point with a mindfulness practice. 

How to Practice Mindfulness:

  • Pause what your are doing
  • Take a breath
  • Notice your Self in the moment. (notice your feet on ground, notice the breeze, notice the sounds around you, observe any emotions that you feel, observe your current thought in your mind.)
  • Acknowledge that this is all occurring externally of your spirit and higher Self.
  • Proceed with this heightened awareness. 

Once you realize you can settle the thoughts with these steps then you can begin to curate how you feel. This is hugely empowering because you cannot be tossed by the turbulence of everyone around you without deciding to take on those emotions. 

This practice can be applied to every area of your life. Try these steps and let me know how it works for you! <3





Dead Sea Bath Salt Soak

Dead Sea Bath Salt Soak

Baths are literally one of my favorite things add Dead Sea Salts to the mix and its literally the best thing ever. This self-care ritual has many benefits beyond just enhancing a relaxing bath. Dead Sea mineral salts contain high levels of magnesium, potassium, calcium chloride, sodium and bromide ( These minerals soak into your body through the bath. This is especially beneficial if you've lost minerals through exercising or sweating, stress or travel. When I'm experiencing dehydration, this is the first thing I do! It's one of my favorite ways to revive my system.

This soak also helps aid the detoxification process through the skin, helps lessen muscle soreness and helps to mitigate skin conditions and also improves sleep. Perfect for a night time bath.

Pick your favorite Dead Sea Salt Soak, pour a few tablespoons in your hot bath and soak for at least 30 minutes. 


Dry Brushing

Dry Brushing

Dry Brushing is an Ayurvedic technique that I cannot live without. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and is also responsible for excreting 1/3 of all toxins. Dry brushing provides major lymphatic support by stimulating the circulation of lymph throughout your body. This stimulation helps the body to naturally detoxify, aids in digestion + circulation and helps to relieve water retention. Dry brushing makes skin smooth, helps to clear pores and helps to exfoliate dead skin, leaving a natural glow.

Before taking a bath, take a firm, natural bristled brush and brush your skin in a circular pattern or long strokes towards your heart, beginning at your feet. 


Gratitude Centering

This image kicks off my series of "Wellness Rituals That Will Change Your Day". I wanted to share some of my rituals that I attribute to my wellness in life. Check back here, or on Instagram (@Ryannyoga) to find the latest posts.  

Gratitude Centering

I like to start each morning with a few moments of reflection on the things that I am grateful for. When you change your ritual and focus on what you love, you can create more of that in your life. So go ahead, list three things each morning that bring you peace, make you happy and/or make you feel loved. 

According to Robert Emmons, the world's leading scientific expert on gratitude, this practice of reflecting on gratitude, can have a profound effect on your your psychological and physical well being. "Grateful people are more stress resistant, they are able to stay in the present and they have higher levels of positive emotion." You can learn more at