In January of 2017, I had a miscarriage. It happened on a flight going over the Atlantic Ocean traveling from New York to Zurich. It was a route I had taken many times before when I had visited my husband Henry’s family at their home in Switzerland. But this trip was very unusual.

I’ll rewind and tell you the full story.

She's in the Glow Pregnancy AnnouncementI was back in New York hosting a baby shower at my apartment for my best friend Caitlin. Two weeks prior I had moved from New York to Switzerland with Henry and therefore this week was to be used very productively: I scheduled all the necessary appointments, my dentist, doctor and, of course, my facialist Dangene. I saw my doctor the Thursday before the shower and asked her to give me a pregnancy test. I didn’t actually think I was pregnant, but I had lost track of my cycle (you know — flying, stress, moving to a new continent) and just wanted to make sure I could booze over the weekend. There were moments of light bleeding before I arrived in New York, but I didn’t think anything of it. I brought this up to my doctor and she said it could be implantation bleeding, something that occurs when your egg actually gets fertilized. This obviously caught my attention, but I quickly dismissed the idea while leaving her office. She promised me the results by the following day.

For the next day and a half I ran around the city getting ready for the party and tying up all my loose ends. I also greeted one of my best friends Taylor who was visiting from Charleston. She was staying with me and I was thrilled! On Friday evening, a little before 6pm, I got a text from my doctor that read, “Annie. You are pregnant.” My heart dropped. I couldn’t believe the words I was reading and my body collapsed into the wall. Without speaking, I walked over to Taylor and showed her my phone. I was stunned.

The weekend flew by and before I knew it I was getting ready to leave New York. I had already shared the news with my friend Caitlin and my sister but the person I really needed to tell was Henry.

Henry wasn’t in Switzerland. He was on an annual trip with some of his friends in Georgia and completely out of reach. I wanted to tell him SO badly, but the thought of telling him on the phone and then having the call drop wasn’t the romantic story that I had dreamed up. I decided that I would wait until he arrived back in Zurich to tell him in person. I knew he would be beyond ecstatic (and that he would probably cry) and it would be beautiful and perfect and there was just no way I would want to miss that moment. The last thing I did before leaving was call my doctor to ask if it was okay to fly. She said yes, so off I went.

What went down on the plane is something that I wouldn’t wish for anyone. I woke up from a long sleep and went to the bathroom to find a tiny bit blood where there shouldn’t have been. While this was my first pregnancy, I still had some idea of what was happening. Of course, my mind jumped to the worst case. Was this a miscarriage?

I was alone and unable to use my cell phone to anxiously Google (“What does bleeding mean at 5 weeks pregnant?” “What does a miscarriage feel like?”). I was totally frozen. For the next 5 hours, I lay awake, staring at the blank TV screen in front of me. I just couldn’t be having a miscarriage, right? The plane eventually landed, but the bleeding had not stopped.

I’ll never forget the snowstorm that welcomed me home that day. I waited until it was past 9am New York time before calling my doctor to confirm with her what I had feared most and what I should do. She calmly told me that I had probably suffered from a miscarriage, and that I should go to the hospital just to be sure. I held onto the word “probably” with my dear life. Maybe there was a chance it didn’t really happen?

I had to find a hospital. At this point, I barely knew where the grocery store was, let alone the hospital and I didn’t even have a doctor. On top of that, there was the snowstorm escalating outside. And, let’s just say, my driving skills were rusty. The world was caving in on me.

I sat on my couch in a living room full of boxes and sent Henry a message that he needed to call me immediately. He did. It was heartbreaking telling him the news and my words were covered in tears. After the call, Henry sent me the address of a clinic that was just a few minutes from our house, so I dragged myself into my car and drove there slowly. Luckily, I didn’t have a wait more than a minute or two to see a doctor who spoke perfect English. Lucky me. After taking a quick look, she confirmed that I had suffered from a miscarriage, but because I was only five weeks pregnant, she assured me that this was very normal and I shouldn’t expect any other side effects. I asked her why this happened to me. Was it the flight? Was it my diet? Did I have too much to drink over the past few weeks? Was it the move? Is it stress? Is there something wrong with me? Why, why, why, why? Sometimes there is just no explanation.

Over the next 9 months we tried to have another baby. I tried everything: acupuncture, lymphatic massage, yoga, meditation, hypnotherapy, a fertility diet, ovulation sticks, long walks, I gave up coffee, I gave up Matcha, I used essential oils, I drank bone broth, I met regularly with a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor, we bought a dog. Everything, but still nothing. I cried every month after unsuccessful pursuits. Henry and I went in for all kinds of testing and there was nothing they could find that could be preventing us from becoming pregnant. Unexplained pregnancy. As a consolidation I would often hear, “for many women it can often take one year to get pregnant.” Dude – this doesn’t help.

In August, my doctor asked me what I thought about in vitro fertilization (IVF). I hadn’t really considered it. It felt like such a last resort, like the end of the line. But it wasn’t the first time I’d heard of it. Many of my close friends in Europe and back in the states have used IVF both with successful and unsuccessful outcomes, and many were struggling with infertility, so I was of course very familiar with the concept. I knew that my impatience was getting the best of me and without a second thought we said let’s do it. So we did. And it worked. (More on my IVF experience to come. It was an experience in and of itself.)

Today marks my 15th week of pregnancy and I am so beyond thankful. My family, friends, the doctors, nurses, fertility specialists, acupuncturists (Esther Denz, you’re an angel)… I am so grateful for all your support and humility. Getting pregnant is a really funny thing. For some, it comes so easily, and for others, it takes patience, a lot of tears, even more work and an incredibly supportive partner. There were so many nights, too many to count, that I’d cry myself to sleep wondering what I could have done differently.

What I took away from this year-long experience is that sharing my story helps. Miscarriage, IVF and problems conceiving shouldn’t be so concealed. We shouldn’t be afraid or embarrassed to tell the not-so-bright side of our story. My bond grew tighter with old friends through shared stories and I was able to make new friends by talking over our parallel experiences. So here I am opening up to all of you. I hope that my story will inspire you to never give up on what you want, to never feel ashamed, to find patience, and to find the happiness, even when you feel like there is nothing left. Because there always is. If you are going through something similar, I encourage you to be open and talk to people you trust. This is what really nurtured my soul.

My weakness? Dior. Lip. Glow. Ever since Annie introduced me to the soft, pout-plumping formula, I have been absolutely hooked. It’s the ideal balance of lipstick and lipgloss – not too dry, not too moist and leaves the most delicate trace of color. The only problem is, it’s not exactly clean.

I know, beauty routines are never perfect. 100% nontoxic is tough to achieve, especially if you wear makeup. But when it comes to something you’re applying to your lips all day long, it’s wise to go organic. Just think about it – what’s on your lips normally ends up in your stomach. Would you want to eat regular lipstick? I don’t think so.

Since I’m a big believer in having your cake and eating it too, I set out on a mission to find the healthy DLG. (I know that metaphor didn’t exactly work there, but let’s just go with it). I can’t lie. It wasn’t easy. I spent weeks scouring the shelves of clean beauty havens in NYC. Most things I tried just didn’t cut it. They were either too dry or too creamy, two characteristics that just won’t do for this kind of lip essential.

I was about to give up my search, until I found Henne Organics while browsing a CAP Beauty in the West Village. CAP is one of my favorite beauty stops. They always have the latest and greatest in gross-free beauty, plus the vibe is just so good. In other words: I should have known they’d have what I was looking for.

So, back to Henne. Here’s what’s up in a nutshell… It’s an American-made, female-run brand inspired by the minimalism of Scandinavia. The line of lip tints comes in 4 colors (and they are all conveniently sold online at Amazon right here): Intrigue (dark red), Bare (nude), Azalea (pink) and Coral (self-explanatory, no?). I am partial to the Coral, since it most closely resembles the orangey-pink of my beloved DLG.  It’s not an exact copy, of course, but it sure does make me feel a little less bad when I go to apply it 10+ times a day. Do you have a favorite all-natural lip go-to? Let us know in the comments! 

Story by Lexi Tollefsen.

This seasonal, heart-warming recipe was adapted from this recipe by the Queen herself, Ina Garten. I just love her recipes (who doesn’t) because they are ALWAYS delicious and quite easy to follow. But because I really don’t do dairy or gluten and I try to avoid excess amounts of sugar, I always have to replace Ina’s love for butter and sugar with something else. Ina loves her sugar. I actually followed her recipe pretty closely the first time I made this recipe (cutting out butter though) and it was just a bit to sweet, even for me. I think you will really love my version. It’s super creamy, filling and oh so good for you.

It’s fall in Switzerland, and it’s actually my first fall since moving to Europe in January. The leaves here turn bright orange and yellow and the air is super crisp. It reminds me of New England fall, but just grander. One Sunday afternoon, I whipped up this simple, delicious and nutritious purred soup for Henry and I, and we have been making it ever since. Like literally once a week. I will make it over the weekend and it will last me throughout the whole week for lunch or easy dinners. I like this recipe because it uses ingredients that are seasonal. I bought everything from the bio stand a the farmers market, so I know that nothing has been effected with chemicals. Butternut squash is so awesome – its low in fat and is full of fiber. It also has lots of potassium and Vitamin B6 which is essential for the proper function of the nervous and immune systems.

Ingredients

4 tablespoons good olive oil
4 cups chopped yellow (or white) onions (3 large)
3 cloves garlic
5 pounds butternut squash (2 large)
1 1/2 pounds sweet apples (4 apples)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups water
2 Tbs vegetable bouillon
Hefty splash of white wine

Directions

Warm the olive oil and onions in a large stockpot uncovered over low heat for 10-15 minutes, until the onions are tender. Stir often, scraping the bottom of the pot. Peel the squash, cut in half, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into chunks. Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut into chunks. Add the squash, apples, pepper, water, vegetable bouillon and the white wine to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash and apples are very soft. Remove from the heat and puree the soup (in intervals) using a heavy-duty blender or Vitamix. Pour the soup back into the pot. Check the salt and pepper and serve hot, or let it cook and store it in your fridge for the rest of the week. If the soup is too thick, add in water to change the consistency.

When the seasons change, I always take a second look at my skincare routine. With years of practice, I’ve gotten pretty good at adjusting my line-up depending on the climate and what’s been up in my life. But when I need a little extra help, I call up the experts. I recently checked in with my go-to facialist here in Zurich (Beauty Care for those of you who are interested), as well as my dermatologist. They helped set me back on track for the fall season ahead.

While embarking on this little reset, I figured I would share the details with all of you – both what I’ve learned over the years and how the pros have guided me. Finding a routine is actually pretty easy once you master the fundamentals. In 5 steps, you can create a stellar skin-changing routine. Seriously. Here’s what you need to know…

Step 1: Cleanser

In a nutshell – get all the gross stuff off your face

Cleansing isn’t optional, especially at the end of the day. Clean skin = clear skin. I’d say that out of the whole routine, the washing part is probably my least favorite, which is why I look for cleansers that quickly get the job done and leave my skin feeling sparkling and plump. You’ve got to find one that feels the best to you. Here are a few all-stars by texture:

Lotion – Even thought I’m personally not a lotion girl, I do really like Pai’s Gentle 2-in-1 Cleanser and Eye Makeup Remover. It’s great if you have red or sensitive skin and the packaging makes it perfect for travel.

Oil ­– My favorite oil cleanser is by One Love Organics. It’s a really like oil and it smells like pineapples and it dissolves everything. Tatcha’s one step Camellia Cleansing Oil is the runner up in the oil-cleansing department.

Sudsy – I love Indie Lee’s Brightening Cleanser because it creates a rich lather to wash away the day. It’s packed with antioxidants and rose hip (one of my favorite ingredients), so it leaves your face super tight after.

Double Cleanse – If you feel like you still have a bit of makeup from the day, I HIGHLY suggest Erno Laszlo’s tried and true Light Controlling Lotion. It gently exfoliates and tightens pores. I am obsessed with the smell. It reminds me of my childhood. It was the first skincare line I ever used, as introduced by my mom.

 

Step 2: Serum

In a nutshell – a concentrated potion aimed at treating your specific problem areas.

Serums are the key to retaining that youthful glow as long as possible. There are all different kinds of serums geared towards a host of issues: anti-aging, acne, dullness, fine lines, age-spots…You get the point, right? Here are my favorites by type:

For Hydration – You will love Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyluronic Acid Serum. This plumps skin and gives you a dewy finish.

For Targeting Redness & Acne – Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Calming Serum is also amazing. It’s good for just about anyone dealing with redness, uneven skin tone, acne. It does what it says and calms the skin right down. It’s a miracle product.

For Plumping – Tata Harper’s Concentrated Brightening Serum is still one of my favorites, because it makes my skin feel really tight and leaves a flowing finish. Also, you can’t not mention serum these days without mentioning Vintner’s Daughter. It’s won dozens of awards and is coveted by just about every beauty editor.

For Glowing – Odacite makes amazing serums. My favorites are the Wild Carrot Seed and the Rosehip Ylang Ylang.

 

Step 3: Moisturizer/ Cream

In a nutshell – lock-in hydration to keep your skin plump

Right now I am using Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Face Cream. It’s pretty no nonsense. It sinks right into the skin and leaves my skin looking hydrated and gets rid of the general redness. I’d say the holy grail of moisturizers is Blue Cocoon by May Lindstrom. It’s one of my all time favorites and it ails almost any kind of skin issue. Some claim it’s a miracle product and the smell and texture is so luxurious. From the French pharmacy comes Avene and it’s Skin Recovery Cream. I really love their creams, and this one in particular, for hypersensitive skin. And last but not least, Pai’s Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream is ideal for redness-prone skin. The gentle formula calms flair-ups of redness and irritation while hydrating delicate skin.

 

Step 4: Eye Cream

In a nutshell – keep your eyes bright and youthful

Yes, you need one morning and evening. Use your ring fingers to dab it into the delicate area around the eyes. I love Dr. Sturm’s Eye Cream the best. Followed by One Love Organics Eye Balm, which is so light. Royal Fern I actually just started using and it’s meant to reduce the effects of genetic aging. I feel like after only a few days, I can totally see a difference!

 

Stop 5: SPF

In a nutshell – protect your skin against harmful UV rays

I don’t like to use lotions that are made with SPF, I like to mix it in my day cream. It stays longer and doesn’t leave a weird residue. Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Sun Drops are intended for this exact purpose and make using sunscreen really easy. Avene’s SPF  is also very clean and mixes into my lotions really nicely. Goldfaden MD Sun Visor SPF30 is also super cool. It’s hypoallergenic and dries with a clear, matte finish. It’s made from organic, natural ingredients, free from mineral oil, alcohol, parabens and gluten and blends so easily into the skin. Also – make sure to use SPF that is oxybenzone-free. This is just the worst ingredient. Seriously, it’s pure poison. Oh, Susanne Kaufmann relaunched her SPF and it’s incredible. All the ingredients are harvested and cultivated organically from Austria’s Bregenzer Forest – I’ve been there and you can read my interview with Susanne here.

It’s been a while, to say the least, since I’ve shared my Glow Guide. In case you’re a new reader, my Glow Guide series is a curated monthly roundup of my favorite beauty products. The focus changes month to month, depending on the season and what’s trending. In the spirit of back to school, I figured I start it up again just in time for the fall.

I am still feeling skincare over makeup, and can slap on my daytime makeup in less than 5 minutes. I am addicted to essential oils and keep little bottles of them on me at all times. I have just switched to Dr. Barbara Sturm cream just in time for the cold and am using her super-rich body cream as well.

I discovered a new cheek and lip tint in the most perfect (and totally universal) tone and I am really into a red eye shadow situation for evenings when I want to look a little vampy. What else… Oh, perfumes and candles! Fall is all about finding your scent and creating a warm, cozy place to come home to. Read on for the full September beauty edit of the best products to try for the season ahead.

Ellis Brooklyn SciFi EDP

Raaw in a Jar Blue Beauty Drops


CAP Beauty Matcha Match Stick Box

Glass Dharma Glass Straw

001 Skincare London Pure Active Peel

Byredo Rose Of No Man’s Land Roll-On EDP

RMS Beauty Garden Rose Eye Shadow 19

 Charlotte Tilbury Matte Lipstick Amazing Grace

 Pursoma Earth Bound Body Mask

 Susanne Kaufmann Nourishing Herbal Whey Bath

Dr. Barbara Sturm Anti-Aging Body Cream

Living Libations Rose Glow Complexion Mist

 Olio E Osso No. 2 Balm in French Melon

 Rituel de Fille Ash and Ember Eye Shoot in Viscera

True Botanicals Antioxidant Booster