Featured / Glistener of the Month

November 2018 – Glisteners of the Month – Our Hubbies! (AKA the Glisten Guys)


This one’s for the men that help make the magic happen in our lives. The ones that believe in our dreams and push us to be our very best selves. Their mission is our happiness and they support anything that contributes to it.

They are also the ones that give us cuddles when we are sick. They bring us chocolate when we need it most. They are the ones that give us great, big hugs that can dry up any tears. They will give up watching an important baseball or basketball game to spend time adventuring with us. They will always love us more than any “like” on our Instagram page.

This one’s for our Glisten Guys.

While we may be taking photos of foods we eat, coffees we drink, and creations we whip up in our kitchens, they are more than patient. Sometimes, they even do the photo taking themselves while we pose in front of the pretty sunset or cute café we found exploring a new area. They are sometimes our editors, our idea spinners, and our taste testers. They are just as part of this as we are.

So, here they are, our husbands – the Glisten Guys!

Meet Josh and Matt:

Josh is…

  • The biggest Yankees Baseball fan you will ever meet. For our wedding, I had a grooms cake made for him shaped as a Yankees baseball hat.

  • A true car fanatic – everything from old El Caminos to supped up Jeep Wranglers to super-fast Ferrarri’s. We go to “Cars & Coffee” almost every weekend and I hear “this is my next car” that changes weekly.

  • Fitness fan – he loves a good chest lifting workout and can do more pushups than I can ever imagine doing. He’s promised to be my running buddy since our first week dating (he’s still warming up to the idea of running half marathons with me). Recently, I’ve gotten him to sign up for a few OTF classes with me! I’m thinking… #MauiMarathon2020
  • A big foodie – He loves things like bacon, smoking meat on our little smoker in the backyard, craft beer and ice cream. But he is also always up for trying the “healthy” things I make and exploring new restaurants with me. We are still working on kale, but he won’t turn down some freshly roasted brussels sprouts!

What is something you’d like to see featured on SU&G? More information on how to’s on food, exercising, and living a healthy lifestyle

What is your favorite foodie thing that Breah makes? Banana muffins

Why are you a #GlistenGuy? Because I like to workout and live a healthy lifestyle while still enjoying life at the same time.

Matt is…

  • The biggest Golden State Warriors Basketball fan you will ever meet. I never watched basketball before I met him. I mostly love watching him watch because he loves it so much!
  • An amazing guitar player– Matt can listen to a song and then play it which amazes me because I have exactly zero musical talents. In college, he won a radio contest for playing a Joe Satriani song. For our wedding, I had an ice sculpture made for him that included his love for the Warriors and his passion for playing guitar.

  • The smartest person I know. If he sets his mind to something, he achieves it. He’s currently teaching himself how to code. So, who knows, maybe there will be a Glisten Girl App in our future 😉 Oh, and he’s great at following directions which makes him my favorite IKEA furniture-building partner.
  • The best travel buddy. I love traveling with Matt because he researches for months before we go on vacation and he makes detailed spreadsheets so we never get lost and we’re always on time. I would be so lost with out him! And he’s even nice enough to be an “Instagram Husband” sometimes. But not all the time which is good because it keeps me in the moment.

  • A super-taster which means flavors are more pronounced for him than the average person. For this reason, he’s a bit of a picky eater. He’s still not a big veggie fan but he does eat a larger variety of foods since meeting me. He’s great for when I can’t pinpoint a flavor. He can usually tell me what is is in one taste!

What is something you’d like to see featured on SU&G? 
I’d like to see dinner party tutorials.

What is your favorite foodie thing that Sam makes? I like Sam’s chocolate avocado pudding and her risotto.

What is a healthy habit that you live by? I walk at least 4 miles a day and I drink lots of water.

Now that Josh & Matt are officially part of our Glistener community, hopefully they won’t be strangers. You may just see them as featured guests in future posts or Instagram stories. They are super good sports and we love them to pieces. Thank you Joshy & Matt, you two really are the very best! We hope to plan an adventure all together soon! <3

Breakfast/Brunch / Food / Snacks

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread


Since my early teens I have struggled with health issues. After being diagnosed with Celiac Disease and Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism at about 15 years old, I realized that I would have to put in more work than the average person to maintain my health and mental clarity.

As I’ve grown, I have continued learning about my body and what I need to eat, how I need to exercise and what tools work for managing my stress. Even though I work hard to lead a healthy lifestyle complete with organic vegetables, cardio and meditation, I still struggle with symptoms such as bloating, mood swings, occasional rashes and inexplicable headaches.

So, I have chosen to devote this year to understanding why I’m still dealing with these issues. To accomplish this, I started working with a Naturopathic doctor which has helped immensely. She ran the tests I needed to finally understand what’s really going on in my body.

First, she tested my microbiome. We found out that I don’t have any good gut bacteria. She explained that some people are not able to colonize easily – I’m a non-colonizer lol! So, she put me on a super powerful probiotic called Mega Spore. So far, I’ve noticed less bloating and my nails seem stronger – I’ll take it!

After that, she tested my hormones. For this test, I had to provide a saliva sample. It was so hard to collect the amount of saliva that was required. I had to think of sooo many sour lemons!  The test results showed that my estrogen and progesterone were a little bit low. I was shocked! I actually thought she would say my estrogen was too high because I am sooo emotional sometimes. She suggested some herbs to help get my levels up. I take Gaia’s Women’s Balance every day and I supplement with an additional 250 mg of VItex (chaste tree berry) per day 5 days before my period or day 23 on until my period begins. She also suggests that I consume 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed per day since it’s an estrogenic food.

Next, she ran a blood test to see if I have a mutation on my MTHFR gene. It turns out that I have one mutation on each gene. It’s a little difficult to explain but it basically means that I don’t methylate B vitamins as efficiently as I should and I’m not able to detox my body very well. For this, I take a methylated B-vitamin complex and I take Liposomal Glutathione to promote healthy detoxing.  If you’re a woman of child-bearing age I definitely recommend getting tested!

The last but perhaps most helpful test that she ran was a General Food Panel: IgA/IgG test. This was a blood test that tested my antibodies to show which foods I’m reacting to as well as how severely I react. I discovered that I have a high sensitivity to eggs, almonds and coffee! Okay, when I saw coffee I cried for a couple days and I’m not even joking one bit. However, I’m happy to report that I have been coffee-free for one full month now and I no longer crave it. I’m now addicted to matcha, yay me! I also have a moderate reaction to sesame, blueberries, cranberries and sugar cane. She said once I cut these foods out of my diet, I should be able to heal my gut and all of my symptoms should eventually decrease as well. I’m pretty sure I have a long road until I’m completely healed but I do feel like my bloating has decreased and I haven’t had any headaches or rashes recently (knock on wood).

Okay so that was a very long winded way to tell you why I made Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread! I’m sorry but I just felt you should know the reason I had to search and search for a bread recipe that didn’t call for eggs. Actually, thinking of breakfast options has been difficult for me now that I know I cannot eat eggs. Most of my mornings consisted of scrambled eggs on gluten-free toast (that also contained eggs) and coffee with almond milk (aka 3 of my 7 sensitivities….anyone else wondering how I am still alive??)

I know what you’re thinking, “But you could just use egg replacer.” Well, that is true but have you tried egg replacer with gluten-free flour before? It creates a yucky gummy texture that I just CANNOT handle. Believe me when I tell you that this recipe is far superior to any recipe that originally called for eggs that were then replaced with fake eggs. I PROMISE!

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Lucious, moderately spiced, maple sweetened pumpkin bread, full of toasty pecans and chewy dried figs is what this recipe delivers. A slice of this bread is perfect for breakfast with a warm cup of coffee or tea.
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 1 loaf
  • 1½ cups Pamela's Gluten-free all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ cup diced dried figs
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup light olive oil
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup cooked pureed pumpkin
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-by-4 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, figs, and pecans.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, water, pumpkin, maple syrup, molasses, and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture, stirring gently just until the dry ingredients are moistened.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake until loaf is golden and springs back when touched, 40-45 minutes.
  7. Let the bread cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to continue cooling.
  8. Serve warm or room temperature.

I think the pictures are worth a thousand words. This bread is so delicious and it has allowed me to actually enjoy breakfast again….even without eggs or coffee! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. If you have any questions about the tests I had done please don’t hesitate to reach out.

XO, Sam


I am a Strawberry


I am a strawberry. And with that, often comes blue eyes, fair skin, and freckles. I must have hit the lottery, because I got them all.

Since I was little, I have memories of my mom lathering me in sunscreen every time I ventured outside – from soccer games, swim parties, beach trips, bike rides, you name it. It was like clockwork. Every 45 minutes, as much as I would moan, I’d get a new white, greasy layer spread on top of my pale skin. And if I didn’t, I would, no doubt, quickly become a fried tomato.

Then came high school, and I turned into the “mom” of the group, chasing my friends at cross-country meets and pool parties, sharing my sunscreen, so I could help protect others. Thinking back, I would have been great on sunscreen infomercials, as I was always promoting my favorite brands to my friends; even if they could care less.

In high school I started seeing a dermatologist. At first it was primarily for acne, but then it became an annual visit to see Dr. Rubakovic. She would examine all my new freckles and moles using some glasses that looked like a contraption out of a Sci-Fi movie.  She would even take photos of the concerning ones that she wanted to revisit the next time I’d see her.

I got my first biopsy on a mole on my back when I was 15, and luckily it turned out to be benign, like 99.9% of the moles on my body.

Around when I graduated college and moved to Orange County, I found a new dermatologist that was more accessible than taking trips to the desert once a year. It was a routine – I would come in, strip down, get examined mole by mole, everything would be fine, and I’d be back in another year. When this 25th year came around, not so much.

There was a mole on my forehead by my scalp line that I had noticed was acting a little funny (sign #1). It scabbed over a couple of times, even though I didn’t scratch it (sign #2). Up until my appointment, I would just cover it in makeup daily and continue on. At my appointment the dermatologist insisted in taking a biopsy because it seemed to have irregular edges (sign #3) and it didn’t look like the rest of my moles on my body (sign #4). So, at that appointment, she took a biopsy and I was left with a scab and a band-aid on my forehead. I got a call back a week later and they told me it was a basal-cell carcinoma and I needed to schedule a Mohs Surgical procedure to remove the cancerous tissue.

Even though it is very common skin cancer, I was still a bit shocked. Fear followed and then paranoia that after this every mole on my body was going to turn cancerous. I thought to myself, “but wait – how did this happen to me after all these years of being so careful? What did I do wrong?” The answer is nothing. I had done all the right things.

At the Mohs appointment, they made sure I was very comfortable. They complete everything under localized anesthesia, so you really don’t feel a thing. They prep the area around the mole, then they remove a layer around the cancerous tissue area. After that, they test it under a microscope. They repeat this process until all of the cancerous tissue is gone. It really wasn’t as scary or awful as I had built it up in my mind to be. Luckily for me, they only had to do it twice, since it wasn’t very deep. Then, they patch you up. I had 6-7 blue stitches that came out the next week, which turned into a pink scar line that has faded over time to become almost unnoticeable.

Day 1 (sorry, a little graphic)
6 Months Later







I really can’t advocate for skin health and wellness enough – and that includes skin cancer prevention.

Sure, I am a particularly fair-skinned, blue-eyed, strawberry blonde girl, and yes, that increases the likelihood of me being prone to various skin cancers. However, that does NOT mean that everyone that is darker skinned than I am shouldn’t be careful. They definitely SHOULD. YOU should.

I’ve learned that every day you need to be careful, because the sun is stronger than ever before. And truthfully, I am grateful that my mom always smothered me in sunscreen when I was young and that I have learned how important it is to continue that for the rest of my life. (And for my kids someday too!)

May just happens to be skin cancer awareness month. So what does that mean for you?

  • Find yourself a dermatologist to see once a year, even if you don’t think you need to. It’s never too early to start and you should find someone who you trust.
  • Invest in a good sunscreen. One for everyday – maybe it’s in your foundation or moisturizer (spf 30 at least!). And if you’re going to be out and about, be prepared to reapply.
    • Look for Zinc Oxide & Titanium Dioxide as the main ingredients
  • Love the sun, but love your hat more – your face is precious. (Wear some sunnies to protect those lovely eyes of yours too!)
  • You can make a difference – be your own advocate for skin health and wellness. If you believe it, others around you will too!
    • Be brave – share your story – #MostCommonCancer
    • Visit SkinCancer.org for more info

I love the sunshine. And sometimes it loves me a little too much. So taking steps to protect my skin is key, so we can continue to love each other, hot summer days and all! And you can too – love your skin.