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kai conversations... with dr. cary gannon, founder of AILA cosmetics

we are truly delighted to bring you this week's kai conversation with dr. cary gannon, the ceo/founder of aila cosmetics, which is an amazing nail lacquer brand that we deeply respect and admire. we've had the great fortune of joining forces with aila cosmetics on a few collaborations, and as we've learned more about dr. cary and her company, we've become even bigger fans and supporters of the brand and offerings. similar to kai, their products are free of nasty chemicals and are vegan, cruelty-free and gluten-free. aila's nail lacquers provide beauty, function, and benefits for people who care about their nail polish not causing them harm while looking pretty, and their commitment to wellness and giving back is inspiring. they have a beautiful orchid-shade nail lacquer called "five senses" named for a neurological condition called sensory processing disorder (spd), which affects many children and prohibits the brain's ability to translate senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch) into an appropriate behavioral response. kids with spd cannot process the sensation messages that their brains receive; the sensations essentially hit their young, undeveloped brains like an 18-wheeler, and they cannot produce appropriate behavioral responses. in an effort to bring awareness to spd and fund research, a percentage of proceeds from this "five senses" nail lacquer go to the spd foundation. let's raise a glass to aila for this incredible give back mission, and please enjoy this wonderful kai conversation with dr. cary! additionally, please stay tuned for a special giveaway collaboration with aila to be announced soon. 



how are you taking care of yourself and your loved ones during this time? are there certain things that are proving to be sources of motivation/ inspiration? if so, please feel free to share. 

for me, it's all about maintaining normalcy one day at a time. given the fact that i'm a doctor, i've never been an alarmist. it's my personality, and my professional training, to be calm even when everything around me is going berserk. that calm has definitely been tested in 2020! but, i firmly believe that if i keep my focus on how i can be of help to other people, there's no vacancy in my brain for fear. i very literally preoccupy myself with my family, my patients, my staff, my aila team and my friends. it is that preoccupation with purely, genuinely being of service that helps me take care of myself, motivates me and inspires me. 

how do you embody kai's "breath*life*flow" lifestyle? 

it's important for me to remember that there's someone bigger than myself. i mean, if my whole life is wrapped up in me, it's a very small package, right?! so, when i feel myself slipping into being an "over-functioner," i get still, breathe and know down deep that there's a God, and i'm definitely not Him! :) sometimes i have to remember what i know, you know? another thing i practice is paying attention to what i put in - and on - my body. that's why aila exists; like many health-conscious consumers, i wanted to hold the cosmetics industry accountable, and offer products that provide beauty, function and benefits for the people who care about their nail polish not causing them harm while looking pretty. so i eat as cleanly as possible, and i move my body. i was a competitive runner in college and, when i need to recalibrate, i get some miles in. there's nothing like being outside, and generating my own satisfaction after seeing how far i've gone. i know i've done something to bless my body, and there's great reward in it. 

what's the best advice you've ever received? 

set boundaries. you cannot do everything, so it's pointless to try. the end result is being overwhelmed and accomplishing nothing. i used to call myself an "over-functioner." that means i was able to do way too much really well until i inevitably snapped. i've come a long way in the last few years, but i really have to remember the boundary thing when i get tempted to take too much on. 

what's your beauty secret? or must have beauty product? 

supergoop! - glowscreen spf 40. this marvel has replaced my face makeup.  

go-to lipstick color?

i'm obsessed with mizzi cosmetics lip balms. people always ask me if i have lip filler. i credit mizzi for my luscious lips (my hubs thanks them, too!).

what color nail polish are you wearing right now? 

i'm currently wearing 'my 2 jeffs.' it's the perfect fall navy. 

who is your role model?

i always struggle with this question. picking a role model can sometimes result in putting them on a pedestal and forget that they are human. then, if they have a fall from grace, i'm negatively affected by it. i prefer to say that i admire or respect people. it allows them to be flawed. i admire Condolezza Rice. 

how would you describe your personal style? 

hospital scrubs chic. kidding! my style is eclectic and casual. i like funky sneakers (golden goose) with fun dresses (i love Misa LA), tennis skirts with a cute sweatshirt and high tops. i also like rompers, and leggings with anything. 

ultimate getaway? 

visiting our condo on 30A in florida with my family. it's so peaceful to go there. we walk everywhere and eat at LaCrema, we get donuts from Charlie's Donut Truck and shop at Willow. it's heaven. 

favorite food? 

warm chocolate chip cookies and milk... with no guilt. :) 

guilty pleasure?

tennis. i've recently discovered a love for this sport, and i have a whole tennis section in my closet. my tennis team has an instagram page, and we make ridiculous videos and just have fun. we look completely crazy, but i don't care. we have a blast. it's about the camaraderie. 

kai obsession?

oh, please... kai rose, and it's not even close! i get compliments every time i wear it!

thank you, dr. cary gannon! 


getting "raw" with nicole anderson of elemental superfood

we had the pleasure of featuring our dear friend, nicole anderson, founder of elemental superfood some time ago. in our first kai conversation with her i noted " i love a good story and nothing beats a good true story." it's worth your time to read about nicole's story in her own words here ... and the story continues. in addition to her flourishing business, since we last checked in, all elemental products are now officially certified USDA organic; as well, a percentage of all proceeds from every elemental bar sold continues to go to autism research. simply said, nicole inspires us with her beauty on the inside that matches what is clearly on the outside! with that said, and as we are always looking to have meaningful kai conversations to nourish our minds, we knew nicole was the perfect person to re-visit with to offer healthy insight during these challenging times + tips that apply beautifully to life as we move through them. please enjoy this amazing kai conversation (and yummy cookie recipe!) with nicole. 



how are you taking care of yourself and your business during this time? are there certain things that are proving to be sources of motivation/ inspiration? if so, please feel free to share. 

this time has undoubtedly been challenging, on so many levels, for everyone. what keeps me motivated are my kids, they are the reason i do everything i do. i have found some of my own inspiration again by relearning to slow down from time to time and have really remembered the importance of getting quiet, meditating, and above all staying in gratitude.

do you have any advice/ guidance that you can lend to the kai community as it relates to the pandemic and best tips for healthy eating, staying fit & energized, and following a sustainable, nutritional way of life during this time? 

the first two weeks of quarantine, i was so anxious and stressed, i baked (i kid you not) a batch of my gf chocolate chip cookies, every day, and basically ate the entire batch with the exception of a couple per batch that i would share with my daughter or hubby. it's what i needed to comfort me, and it felt like a better choice than pouring myself the largest cocktail known to anyone. it was comforting to me and it wasn't destructive. over the past eight months, on the flip side, i have begun writing gratitude lists, going for walks again and really understanding the importance of true quality time with the people i love. it has also become evident to me how crucial selfcare is, even if it's only five minutes to myself. when i am starting to feel overwhelmed or worried, i try to stop what i am doing, get quiet and focus on what blessings i already have. this is really helpful i find, and it gets easier to quiet and regroup the more you practice it. i think starting a prayer or meditation practice to center yourself, trying to keep your diet clean with real food and avoiding processed foods as well as too much alcohol is essential. there are still so many people that have not grasped how we are affected (both positively and negatively) by the foods we eat. i am not a dieter and i do not count calories, i eat when i am hungry and i try to fill myself with whole foods, real foods, and i eat organic whenever possible! if you need comfort food, enjoy something that really makes you feel good while eating it, and then absolutely do not beat yourself up after doing it! i also like to make healthy versions of the foods that bring me comfort. most importantly, focus on your mental health and take good care of it. focus your energy and time on and in relationships that feed your soul and strengthen your spirit. stay off social media or stop watching that show, if you find yourself comparing your life to something else or you are feeling down. go on walks or do a little yoga or stretching in your home. we are all really critical of ourselves these days, be gentle and treat yourself as you would treat your best friend. 

are there certain recipes that have been favorites for you during the pandemic? if so, please feel free to share.

my chocolate chip cookies ha! they are delicious and so satisfying but are made free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar. i am happy to share the recipe!

we admire your mission to nourish goodness through creating nutrient-dense superfoods that delight body and spirit. can you tell us what your top 3 favorite superfoods are, and why? and how those superfoods might affect the mind, body, and spirit? 

dark leafy greens; they are packed with nutrition and support so many requirements that our bodies have. i try to do a smoothie each day and toss a handful of spinach or kale in, or i will throw some extra greens in my soup or as a side with my lunch or dinner. berries are full of antioxidants and vitamins, i will throw a cup of frozen berries in my smoothie or will eat a cup of berries by themselves or on top of some coconut kefir. unroasted nuts and seeds, i eat everyday. they are full of "good fats" that are all intact because they have not been roasted, as well as other nutrients our bodies need. they are a great source of plant-based protein and a handful can keep you satiated for a while. we use all organic unroasted seeds and nuts in our superfood seedbars, and i usually eat a bar a day as a snack or a quick meal on the go. 

what are the key superfoods trends that you have been seeing this year, and do you have any insights on what trends we can expect in upcoming months/years?

i have seen so many trends since i started this journey. one thing that is not a trend and is here to stay is real whole foods. trends can get expensive for people, and trying to keep up can be exhausting! eat real and whole foods! try to cook more at home or find clean snack brands so you are in control of what you are putting in your body, read your labels and stay away from weird processed foods with long lists of ingredients you can not pronounce. 

chocolate chip cookies 


  • 2 cups of almond flour
  • 1/2 cup of brown rice flour
  • 1 tbs of ground flax
  • 3 tbs of water 
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil 
  • 1/2 cup of honey (can use maple syrup to make it vegan)
  • 1/4 cup of coconut sugar (optional) 
  • 1/2 tsp of sea salt 
  • 1 tsp of vanilla 
  • 1 tsp of baking soda 
  • 1 cup of dark chocolate chips 

  • preheat oven to 375 degrees. in a small bowl combine the flax and water and stir. set aside, will firm up in a few minutes. 
  • in a medium bowl combine the almond flour, brown rice flour, baking soda, salt and coconut sugar (if using). stir these ingredients until well incorporated.
  • in a small sauce pan combine the honey and the coconut oil, warm slightly, just until oil is melted and honey barely heats, add vanilla.
  • in a large bowl pour honey/oil mixture into bowl and combine with the flax egg, stir. slowly add a cup of the flour mixture in and stir, continue adding flour mixture and stir until all incorporated. add chocolate chips and fold in. 
  • put the dough in the fridge for a half hour (this is not a must, you can spoon the dough out right away if you want, but putting it in the fridge makes this easier to work with, and it also does something magic to the texture the longer it sits in the fridge. the dough rolls into balls easily and again, it does something to the consistency of the cookie).
  • spoon out the desired cookie size on a baking sheet either lined with parchment paper or covered with coconut or avocado oil. bake for 8-12 minutes depending on the size of the cookies and your oven. i would check at 8 minutes and then leave in until desired brownness. remove from oven and allow to sit on cookie dish for several minutes. the cookies will be very soft once they come out of the oven, but if you let them sit for a few minutes, they will begin to firm up. eat right away or store in an airtight container for a few days if they last that long. if you make extra you can store in the fridge or freeze and grab and go. 


kai conversations... with jessie petruso

we could not be more excited to bring you this week's kai conversation with jessie petruso of malibuddah. jessie is a malibu-based influencer who has a uniquely eye-catching feed sharing beautiful scenes from her life, travels, and loving family moments. she is an incredibly talented photographer and story-teller and captures the most breathtaking imagery that whisks you away and makes you feel warm and happy about life. jessie also truly embodies the kai "breath*life*flow" way of life as shown in her instagram posts and the interview below. we highly encourage you to check out her feed. we are so honored to have jessie as one of our long-time kai devotees. she's worn the kai signature scent since she was a teenager, and shares some wonderful memories of this in her interview below. we hope you enjoy! additionally, please stay tuned for a special giveaway collaboration with malibuddah to be announced soon. 



how are you taking care of yourself and your loved ones during this time? are there certain things that are proving to be sources of motivation/ inspiration? if so, please feel free to share. 

during these unprecedented times i find that self care is of the upmost importance. as a mom my emotions dictate the energy of our whole family. if i'm not feeling my best my daughter and husband both feel that. so i take the time i need to commit to my practices. kundalini, exercise, and being in nature are all things that nurture my soul. when i'm feeling happy and grounded i have an abundance of energy to share with my family. 

how do you embody kai's "breath*life*flow"?

my personal happiness is directly tied to the amount of time i invest in my daily meditations, exercise, and connection to nature. i make sure to carve out time for meditation and/or breathwork daily. i believe our breath is our most powerful tool. i also require a daily workout. whether that's hiking, pilates, surfing, or yoga. the movement immediately shifts my mood and makes me feel happy. the third component to this is being outdoors in nature. i find my peace and stillness on a surfboard, or alone on a hike. it is in nature where i am able to quiet the noise in my mind and find the peace that we all crave. 

what's the best advice you've ever received? 

live your life from the space of gratitude because each day is truly a gift. 

do you have a mantra you live by?

peace is my priority. 

what's your beauty secret? or must have beauty product?

lots of sunshine, facial oils, and a mainly plant-based diet. 

go-to lipstick color? 

i'm really not one to wear makeup but when i do i go for charlotte tilbury in pillow talk. it's pretty, pink, and feminine.

what color nail polish are you wearing right now?

i'm a french tip kinda girl, clean and low maintenance.

who is your role model?

my role model is my dad. he was the rare combination of intense intelligence and impeccably moral. i strive to be like him everyday.

how would you describe your personal style?

honestly, i'm really always in either fitness clothes or a bikini. so very beachy malibu style.

favorite date spot? 

my ultimate date is going for an evening surf with my husband followed by a romantic long dinner at nobu malibu. 

my ultimate getaway? 

i am a sucker for overwater bungalows. to me they are the epitome of tropical barefoot luxury. so far my two favorites are the four seasons bora bora and como maalifushi, maldives. there is something about falling asleep over that crystal clear, tropical water and watching the sharks swim under you when you rise. 

favorite food?

my favorite food has always been japanese. i crave it all day everyday.

guilty pleasure? 

chocolate and netflix.

kai obsession? 

the oil. one whiff of it brings me back to my youth and my early kai obsession. when my friends and i were in high school we would drench ourselves in kai oil. it reminds me of every vacation, girls nights, first dates. all of it wrapped up in one tiny bottle. 

what do you love most about where you live? any secret spots you love to go to?

my favorite part about living in malibu are the hiking trails and waves. in my spare time you can always find me hiking our hills. for me it's walking meditation. 

describe your perfect day.

my perfect day would start with some "me" time. maybe a long hike or pilates class followed by some meditation and breathwork. then a nice long beach day with my family. lots of surfing and playing by the water. we love to end our summer days with a bonfire with friends. i love to watch the little ones get so excited about the moon rise and roasting their little s'mores.

morning person or night owl?

i am such a morning person. i love waking up when the world is still and being productive, it's my favorite feeling in the world. 

currently craving? 

a trip to one of those over water bungalow destinations sounds so divine at the moment. 

ideal way to relax/ unwind?

i love a good bath. to me there is nothing more relaxing than drawing a nice hot bath, lighting some kai candles and maybe if you're feeling extra decadent pouring in some kai bubble bath. heaven.

what book are you reading currently? 

i'm currently obsessed with all books by Dolores Canon. i'm just devouring them at the moment. they are based on her studies of past life regressions. i've learned so much about reincarnation and karma. so important and life-altering. 

what's the most adventurous thing you've done? 

of all my trips and travels my most adventurous thing was having a baby. what is more terrifying than embarking on the journey of motherhood? diving into the complete unknown with no option to turn back. the adventure leaving you undeniably forever changed. 

thank you, jessie!