Interview with Carrie Rubin: Physician, Author, and Public Health Advocate

Carrie Rubin, M.D.

Like with so many wonderful people out there, I met Carrie Rubin, M.D. on Twitter. I was fascinated by her witty repartee, thoughtful responses, and overall sweet demeanor. I’m happy to bring with you an exclusive interview with her today on the Wonderland Organics blog!

Wonderland Organics: Hi Carrie! Tell the readers about your background.

Carrie Rubin, M.D.: I’m one of those people who believes every experience is worthwhile even if our paths deviate from where we started.

After high school graduation, I spent a year as an au pair girl in Paris, France. I was young, broke, and homesick, but ahhh, I was in Paris, so none of that mattered. Upon returning home, I got a degree in French and Natural Science and then went on to med school, followed by a pediatrics residency.

Clinical pediatrics kept me busy for fifteen years, during which time I pursued a master’s degree in public health. Off and on during those years I wrote fiction, and during a transition from clinical to nonclinical medicine a few years ago, I switched to writing full-time. I keep up to date with all my medical and public health requirements—we never know what tomorrow holds—but for now I’m enjoying the life of a medical thriller author.

Wonderland Organics: I love your books! What made you want to become a pediatrician?

Carrie Rubin, M.D.: I loved the generally healthy nature of kids. Nothing compares to seeing a toddler ride a Big Wheel down the hospital corridor four days after having open-heart surgery. What adult can do that? Plus, I was drawn to the pediatric diseases—children are not just little adults; they have their own unique set of illnesses and challenges.

But mostly? I love kids. I love their smiles, their honesty, their wonder. We can learn a lot from them.

Wonderland Organics: Best of all, they’re our future. What are some baby steps that people can do to improve their health?

Carrie Rubin, M.D.: “Baby steps” is the perfect way to describe how we can improve our health. Humans are creatures of habit, and those habits are tough to break. A drastic change is doable (for example, cutting out all sugar at once or telling ourselves we’ll exercise at six am every morning), but we’re setting ourselves up for failure. On the other hand, we’re pretty good at handling small changes, things like:

  • Taking stairs instead of the elevator
  • Consuming one less soda a week, then two, then three, then switching completely to tea or carbonated water if we still crave those bubbles
  • Adding a fruit to our evening meal one week, an extra vegetable the next
  • Taking a ten minute walk every day until ten becomes fifteen becomes twenty becomes more vigorous exercise
  • Gradually reducing our take-out meals and switching to homemade ones instead
  • Cutting down red meat to twice a week, then once a week, and then not eating it at all
  • Phasing out the purchasing of processed food found in the center aisles of the grocery store
  • Going to bed fifteen minutes earlier, then thirty, and so on until eight hours becomes the norm

The list goes on and on, but the beauty of baby steps is, once we make a small change and feel the positivity that comes with our achievement, we start taking bigger and bigger steps toward a healthier lifestyle. Does that mean we have to cut out everything sinful? Of course not. But it does mean learning to enjoy these delights in moderation.

Wonderland Organics: I agree, it’s almost impossible to cut out junk food 100%– but it’s great to take small steps every day! Since it’s wintertime, do you have any tips on keeping away the cold and germs?

Carrie Rubin, M.D.: It’s easier to catch viruses in the winter because some viruses thrive in the cold and we tend to be closed in with the windows sealed, making it easier to breathe in pathogens. Also, there’s evidence cold weather suppresses our immune systems.

One of the best ways to stave off illness is through frequent handwashing. Our hands travel everywhere, including our faces. It’s easy to spread those germs. Taking that a step further, we (and those around us) should sneeze into the crook of our elbows, not our hands. Less risk of contamination that way.

We also want to make our immune systems as healthy as possible by eating nutritious food (particularly those high in antioxidants), exercising, getting adequate sleep, and limiting stress. All easier said than done, for sure.

Wonderland Organics: Yes, washing hands frequently with non-antibacterial soap is a good one. What are your recommendations for healthy lifestyles?

Carrie Rubin, M.D.: It all comes down to respecting our bodies and treating them well, from diet and exercise, to sleep and stress reduction. If it takes us baby steps to get there, so be it. We’re never too old to start.

Carrie Rubin: medical thriller author

Wonderland Organics: Although the younger that we start, the better shape our bodies will be in! What do you think about supplements? Do they truly help our diets?

Carrie Rubin, M.D.: Theoretically, a healthy diet should provide us with all the vitamins and minerals we need. But sometimes we fall short, particularly when it comes to calcium and vitamin D. Also, since animal foods are the main source of vitamin B12, vegans might have inadequate intake. As such, those are some vitamins and minerals we might need more of. But we have to be careful: we can overdo supplements and end up with side effects. Therefore, it’s best to get our vitamins and minerals from our diet and not a pill.

Wonderland Organics: Well put, Carrie! What are your top healthy foods picks?

Carrie Rubin, M.D.: We should all strive for well-balanced meals with whole grains, healthy fats, lots of fruits and veggies, and minimal red meat and added sugar.

A wide variety of fruits and vegetables tempt me: roasted vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, squash) with a bit of olive oil and garlic is an especially flavorful way to cash in on vitamins and minerals, and I love a bowl of yogurt and anti-oxidant-rich berries in the morning (but beware, some yogurts are high in sugar).

Hot tea is another good source of antioxidants, and if you’re a non-coffee drinker like me, it’s a nice way to get your caffeine fix without resorting to soda. And while we’re on the subject of antioxidants, count me in for dark chocolate!

I’m not a red-meat eater and could probably be a vegetarian were it not for raising two sons and wanting to make sure they got adequate protein. So I make a lot of meals with chicken breasts or ground turkey breast. My teenage sons joke that when they have meatloaf or spaghetti and meatballs at school, it’s with “real meat” (meaning red meat). To which I respond: “Your colons will thank me later.”

Wonderland Organics: Greek yogurt with no added sugar with fruit is usually my go-to breakfast! What’s your favorite Wonderland Organics product?

Carrie Rubin, M.D.: I’ve always been a frequent handwasher, especially working in health care, so a beautifully scented, pampering lotion is one of my favorite staples!

Thank you so much for having me on your site today, Alice. It was an honor to be here!

 Wonderland Organics: Thanks so much Carrie! Where can we stay in touch with you on social media?

Carrie Rubin, M.D.:


Twitter: @carrie_rubin




Green your Halloween Ideas

The time of delectable candy, inventive costumes, spooky decor, and pumpkins is back to haunt us once again! This year, why not create something healthy and nontoxic? Check out some of these wonderful ideas below.

These grinning ghoul bottles need just a few items: clear bottles with label removed, nontoxic orange paint, recycled black construction paper, glue, paper bags, and ribbon. Love the idea of re-purposing items for these spooky decorations.

Create these adorable organic grape skewers with chocolate chips and Greek yogurt! A sure winner for fans of deliciousness.

Use recycled black construction paper for this fun DIY!

Love this adorable pumpkin wreath! A classy Halloween decor.

These sour gummies from Trader Joe’s have been amazing: if you (or your little ones) like gummies to snack on, these are made with tapioca syrup and cane sugar, while the colors are derived from fruit and vegetable extracts. They are $1.99 at your local Trader Joe’s!

Green Halloween tips:

  • For costume ideas, try thrift stores instead of your Halloween Superstores: these tend to be of nicer quality, and you can reuse them year after year (generally lower prices as well).
  • For trick-or-treating, decorate an old bag or pillowcase instead of purchasing plastic jack-o-lanterns for those treats
  • Opt to walk around your neighborhood with your children: this reduces CO2 emissions and is eco-friendly
  • For candy that you are handing out to children, find organic or fair trade chocolate or gummies instead of Hershey’s or Tootsie Rolls.

What are your favorite ideas to green your Halloween? Let me know in the comments below!

Interview with Jena of Clean’s The New Black: Holistic RN & Healthy Living Blogger

Clean's The New Black

Clean’s The New Black

Recently, I discussed healthy living and green beauty inspiration with holistic RN Jena Halman-Kincaid of Clean’s The New Black! I initally discovered Jena’s gorgeous photos on Instagram, and loved her honest reviews on her blog. Continue reading for her healthy living insights!

Wonderland Organics: Hi Jena! How did Clean’s The New Black come about?

Jena Halman-Kincaid, RN: I started the blog after multiple suggestions from friends and family that I should. I was getting asked on a regular basis about health, and which skincare or household items were safe to use. After much thought I decided to go for it and almost two years later here I am, feeling incredibly blessed to be a part of this exploding industry.

Wonderland Organics: So glad that you started your informative blog! Tell us a bit about your background.

Jena Halman-Kincaid, RN: I was raised surrounded by the holistic health field: my father is a homeopath and both parents taught me the importance of health at a young age. Honestly, it wasn’t until I was on my own in college making my own food choices day in and day out that I started to really understand just how much food affects us. For the first three years I ate a pretty typical college diet of bagels, pasta from a box, and fast food burritos. And then I got acne for the first time and freaked out. This sent me down the rabbit hole of green beauty as well as turning back to my roots of eating more non-processed foods.

I’m also an ICU RN. Every day I see how people’s lifestyle choices make or break their later years in life. I also understand how Big Pharma has come to pollute the lives of millions for the sake of the dollar. When really, what most of us need is preventative education on how to maintain the health most of us are born with. My blog, Clean’s the New Black, is a way for me to help educate, those seeking, on essentially how to stay out of the hospital, pharmacy, and doctor’s office.

Wonderland Organics: It’s great learning more about health tips from a RN. Regarding skincare, are there any regimens or routines that you would recommend?

Jena, holistic RN and blogger of Clean's The New Black

Jena, holistic RN and blogger of Clean’s The New Black

Jena Halman-Kincaid, RN: I believe in letting my intuition guide my skincare (as well as food) routines. If we listen to our instincts our bodies will always know what to reach for. So, I always recommend to have multiple products from a few brands on hand so the routine can be varied day to day. Perhaps a light serum is all you will need for moisture one day and the next a more hydrating balm because of those few glasses of wine you had the night before. At least for me, I find my skin radiates more when a healthy dose of variation is thrown into the mix.

Wonderland Organics: Yes! Our skin is going to need different products depending on the seasons. What brands are you currently using for makeup? Are there any nail polish brands that you recommend?

Jena Halman-Kincaid, RN: My go to for makeup is always Erzulie Cosmetics, Rhonda the owner is an amazing person and makes wonderful natural makeup for very affordable prices. At least 75% of my makeup routine consists of Erzulie products. I love her foundation, highlighter sticks, concealer, and 2-in-1 color sticks. Two of my other best loved brands are Pacifica Beauty and Glory Boon.

Nail polish is a hard one, even tough there are 5 free and 7 free companies, which are a great step in the right direction, they all still have a good dose of chemicals. Because of this I choose to not polish my nails on a regular basis. However, when I do for those special occasions I love Lillian Eve 5 free polish. They have great colors and their formula is amazing at not chipping.

Wonderland Organics: Thanks for the suggestion! What are your favorite health remedies?

Jena Halman-Kincaid, RN: I could probably go on and on about this topic since health is so near to my heart. However, if I had to choose I would say number one is Arnica Gel for bruising. I bruise quite easily but hate the looks of battered up legs. My go-to remedy to help bruising disappear faster is the homeopathic remedy arnica. You can find it in a gel: this is the one I use. Apply it directly to the bruise once or twice a day. It helps to work even faster if you massage it into the bruise, which hurts a bit, but helps to break up the blood. It’s also great for relieving sore muscles and aches.

Jena, Clean's The New Black

Jena, Clean’s The New Black

A second favorite remedy is dried fennel seeds for an upset stomach. These are the same whole fennel seeds you may have in your spice cabinet. All you need to do is chew (to release the goodness in the oils) on a small pinch, like 3-5 seeds, and then swallow them. This helps almost immediately for belly aches, indigestion, gas, and cramping. It is safe for little ones too with no side effects.

Wonderland Organics: Arnica is amazing! Do you have any advice for people embarking on a green beauty journey?

Jena Halman-Kincaid, RN: Start simple and look internally. Green beauty isn’t only about the products you place on your

skin, but also our internal health. Make sure you’re addressing any internal issues your body may be going through as well as starting out with just one or two products. Also, know that your skin often goes through a detox phase so skin issues may get worse before they are better. This is ok and good, it means you body is finally purging itself of toxins so that it can have lasting radiance.

Wonderland Organics: Wonderfully put! It’s good to be realistic about the detox phase. What is your favorite Wonderland Organics product?

Clean's The New Black Review of Wonderland Organics

Clean’s The New Black Review of Wonderland Organics

Jena Halman-Kincaid, RN: I am a sucker for the Indulge Lotion. The smell is so transformative and the lightness of the lotion makes it a great warm weather treat. You can read my full review here, Indulge is a great way to introduce yourself into green body care.

Wonderland Organics: Thanks so much Jena! Lastly, where can we find you on social media?

Jena Halman-Kincaid, RN: Social media:






Thanks so much for talking with me about your holistic journey Jena! What are some of your favorite health remedies? Let me know in the comments below!

What Goes On In a Facial- And Why You Should Get One

As a current esthetics student in California, one of the many benefits I’ve gotten out of furthering my skincare education is relaxing and learning how to do facials (especially facial massage).

Getting a facial in a spa setting can be quite relaxing

Getting a facial in a spa setting can be quite relaxing

If you have never received a facial before, it may be easy to dismiss it as an extraneous expense. Nonetheless with regular treatments, you will be sure to note the difference (every month will show optimal results). In fact, facials are a wonderful way to keep your skin glowing and feeling healthy.A perk of facials is being able to use professional only products. For instance, more aggressive exfoliation products are sold to skin care professionals, and are not available to consumers for day to day use.

Before a facial, you will fill out a consultation form: this helps the esthetician determine what contraindications that may come up. For instance, Accutane and Retin-A users and recently waxed skin (in the last 24 hours) will not be able to get facials.

Double Cleanse: This involves removing traces of makeup and surface debris from the face! Generally, the first cleanse consists of an oil-based cleanser. The second cleanse is a water-based cleanser, and both are promptly removed with sponges.

Skin Analysis: The esthetician will analyze the skin and check for skin abrasions, signs of sun damage, and excess sebum. The purpose behind this is to determine skin type, and to select the most beneficial products.

Exfoliation: Your skin will be gently exfoliated using a manual or chemical exfoliant to remove dead skin cells.

Massage: This is a extremely therapeutic method of manipulating the body by kneading and stroking the skin with the hands. Massage benefits include increased circulation of the blood supply to the skin, body tension relief, softer and improved skin texture, and stimulation of glandular activities. Depending on the area, estheticians are licensed to massage the face and neck only.

Toner: Toners help bring the skin back to a normal pH and cleanses the skin. They work with cleansers, and are selected based on skin types.

Moisturizer for normal and dry skin types

Moisturizer for normal and dry skin types

Mask: Masks are designed to provide the skin with benefits depending on your skin type. For example, dry skin types are suitable for richer masks, while oily and acneic skin types may use clay or mud masks.

Eye Product: Since the eye area is the most delicate, a moisturizing eye product will be applied gently.

Moisturizer: Moisturizers add hydration to the skin, balance moisture and your natural oils. Remember that oily skin needs hydration as much as dry skin types do, so moisturizing properly can reduce oily appearances. Normal and dry skin types may use moisturizers with vitamins, humectants, and other ingredients that promote cell renewal.

Sunscreen: The last step in a facial involves sunscreen: this is a must especially if using products that are sensitizing to the skin. Sunscreen will protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. In fact, studies show that 90% of wrinkles come from too much sun exposure, and the remaining 10% comes from the typical aging process.

If going to a high-end spa is out of reach, why not go to a school instead? You can receive facials and other services from esthetician students (under the supervision of licensed esthetician teachers), usually at discounted prices.

Have you gotten a facial before? What is your favorite service? Let me know in the comments below!


Inspiring Holiday Crafts to Create

The holiday season is officially upon us: and it’s brilliant. It may be cheesy, but the time of the year with glorious Christmas lights, cheerful music, and spending time with loved ones always puts me in a wonderful mood. In the spirit of festivities, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite holiday crafts to complete (either as gifts or something fun to make with others).

Make and Tell / Design Mom – Printables

image courtesy of Make and Tell

image courtesy of Make and Tell

Crafty blogger Steph of Make and Tell is generously offering these free printables. They would look beautiful as gift tags, Christmas tree decorations, or in a festive garland.

Princess Pinky Girl – Peppermint Bowls

image courtesy of Princess Pinky Girl

image courtesy of Princess Pinky Girl

How adorable is this? Create bowls out of peppermint candy for holiday decorations.

POPSUGAR – Upcycled Sweater Pillows

image courtesy of Pop Sugar

image courtesy of POPSUGAR

Upcyling products is always great: looking to extend the life of your no-longer worn sweaters? Make these great sweater pillow covers- the tutorial is on POPSUGAR.

Hey Gorgeous Events- DIY The Perfect Mix Favors

image courtesy of Hey Gorgeous Events

image courtesy of Hey Gorgeous Events 

Hot chocolate is one of my favorite drinks during the holiday season. Feel free to substitute these favors with organic marshmallows and chocolate squares. For those of you who dislike alcohol, leave out the Kahlua!

Martha Stewart- Glittered Candleholders

image courtesy of Martha Stewart

image courtesy of Martha Stewart

In love with all things glitter? This incredibly easy DIY glittered candleholders from Martha Stewart are sure to please.

Brit + Co- Embellished Stockings

image courtesy of Brit + Co

image courtesy of Brit + Co

Time to hang these gorgeous stockings over the fireplace! Stocking stuffers not included. The best part is that Brit + Co has a template just for you!

What are your favorite holiday traditions to celebrate over the holidays? Let me know in the comments below!