Find Your Tribe

In 1989, when I moved to California, I found myself geographically challenged and couldn’t always be with my immediate family during Thanksgiving. Out of necessity, I built a surrogate family out of a mix of colorful friends and spent many years sitting around the turkey with an exhilarating group of people. I loved this ritual because the day was filled with reflective stories about their lives. This tradition carried on until I met my husband and had my own family; although randomly, some of my old tribe still comes around for dinner!

We all need a tribe that is not our family. At Skin Evolution, I have built a small community filled with amazing woman who come to me to for their skincare and beauty needs. What they do not realize is that they, too, provide a service for me. They give me a sense of belonging. A community! For Thanksgiving, I’ve invited three of these incredible women to contribute their specific area of expertise to the blog. Covering recipes, marathon discipline, and hair care, these women rock! May your table be full, your heart warm and your friends and family close. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!


Leta Messinger inspired me in my twenties to consider the power of botanical compounds by ordering me into a hot steam bath to fend off a nasty cold. I'll never forget her pouring leaves and small branches into the tub with me! I had a national commercial to shoot the next day and the cold was gone! She has been my best friend since that very day. I love my visits to her cozy kitchen in Carmel! Leta is a Registered Nurse who is gifted in both Eastern & Western medicine. This fusion of knowledge makes her recipes both hearty and delicious! -Lori

Autumn is in her glory when all of the golden and red hues paint our landscape with warm tones. As we harvest the last fruit on the trees, it is time to turn our focus to the hardy squash, dark leafy greens, and root vegetables as a primary source of nourishment. These foods require more heat to prepare and are balanced with whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and proteins. Their grounding energy nourishes our kidneys, lungs, and large intestine.

While we may reach for our sweaters to protect us from the chill, remember that our bodies also require warming foods to prepare for winter. This is the season that encourages us to start consuming slow cooked foods such as soups and savory meals seasoned with curry, chili, turmeric, pepper, and cinnamon. Beta carotene is readily available in the red, orange, yellow, and dark leafy green vegetables. When consumed, beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A (retinol) an anti-oxidant which is vital for healthy skin, mucus membranes, immune system, eyes, and vision.

As an RN manager of an outpatient wound healing clinic, I see all too often the harmful effects of malnourishment and disease. Take time to enjoy the delicious flavors and nutrition that nature provides through a diet rich in anti-oxidants. I am a salad lover and making a fall salad is satisfying, beautiful, and nourishing. -Leta

Autumn Bowl


  • 1 lg Butternut squash (wash, peel, discard seeds, slice lengthwise, and chop)

  • 1 lg Cauliflower (wash, cut into small florets with chopped stems)

  • 2 lbs Brussel Sprouts (wash, trim wilted leaf, brown stem, and cut in 1/2s)

  • 1 lg Pomegranate (remove and reserve seeds)

  • 1 can White Kidney Beans (drain and rinse)

  • Extra Virgin Olive oil

  • Himalayan Pink salt

  • Black Pepper


  • 1/2 C Balsamic Vinegar (Fig or peach flavored)

  • 1 tbs Prepared Horseradish

  • 1 C Fresh Basil (shredded)


1) Preheat oven to 400F. Spread squash cubes, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts on a cookie sheet. 2 ) Toss veggie blend with olive oil and dust lightly with salt and pepper. 3) Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. 4) Remove from oven and stir with a metal spatula, then spread evenly back onto the cookie sheet to bake for another 15 - 20 minutes. Drizzle with more olive oil if the veggies are sticking to pan. 5) Remove veggies from the oven when veggies are golden brown on the edges and tender.

6) For dressing mix vinegar, basil, horseradish together and set aside 7) Toss the roasted vegetables, beans, pomegranate seeds, and dressing together.

Feel free to exchange seasonally available vegetables to roast. Enjoy as a main dish or a side dish!


Rachel Mitchell is always on the move! Whether it's chasing after her two adorable children or running a marathon. But more than that, Rachel runs with her heart. Her marathons raise funds for different types of cancer. It never ceases to amaze me how much she can get accomplished in one year! Rachel can also rock ANY color of mermaid hair. The girls got style! -Lori

Donate to Rachel's cause:

I am a Los Angeles native, and I moved to Agoura Hills four years ago. Since then, I have immersed myself in the beauty that our nearby nature has to offer. We are so blessed to live among the mountains! There are so many great trails to explore, but for me, the Backbone Trail is my local favorite.

My fascination with the Backbone Trail started as a teenager. I seemed to always end up there for hikes, most frequently starting from the Kanan trailhead. I remember constantly wondering how far it went and even got lost once or twice trying to find out.

The Backbone Trail later taunted me in my adult life. I was reintroduced to it via a map on a playground where my children were playing. It was at the new Agoura Hills Community Center. There on display was a map that included the entire Backbone Trail, of all things. I would gaze at the map and it fascinated me to see how far the trail went. Starting at Will Rogers State Park and ending at Pt. Mugu.

Around the same time, I was training for what would be my second ultra marathon. While an ultra marathon is technically any race longer than the standard 26.2 miles, they typically take place over and through the mountains. I had run a 50-mile ultra marathon a few months prior, and I wanted to do it again.

The securing of land to complete an uninterrupted 67 mile Backbone Trail timed well with my determination to take on another long-distance goal. The National Park Service had been donated the last acres needed for the completion. To celebrate the now continuous trail, an ultra marathon was created called the "Coyote Backbone Trail Ultra". It took place this past March (2017).

It was a once in a lifetime race and I was lucky enough to secure a spot. I was even luckier to finish the race! I ran, hiked and ultimately pushed myself through every mile of the 67 mile long Backbone Trail. It took me from 7am until 2am the following morning, talk about a long day! The race directors put on not only a fantastic event, but also very helpful training runs leading up to the main event. These training runs were broken up into 16-19 mile stretches on each part of the trail.

I learned the ins and outs of the Backbone Trail and gained the confidence and stamina to take it on all at once.The entire Backbone Trail has 14,728 feet of elevation gain and the time limit for the course during the race was 27 hours. The day time views were stunning and since we had a rainy winter, there were plenty of streams to cross and even a waterfall!

The event was held on a hot day which made welcoming the sunset easy. Not to mention, it was the most gorgeous sunset! We were even treated to a full moon! Guided by the moonlight and a headlight, I ran into the night. It was such a surreal experience! I was so happy to see the finish line at the Ray Miller trailhead- which is also a gorgeous trail. But that's another story... -Rachel


Janet Moore has been a hairstylist for the TV & Film industry for 30 years. Working on such productions as The Voice, The Thundermans, Friends etc... her expertise covers a wide range from coloring,cutting and hair care. However, her primary focus is custom hair extensions. (Both clip in & tape). Janet finds the highest quality of hair and creates a custom piece for your style. I love mine! -Lori