New Project + 5 Easy Tips To Get Glowing


The freelance life is a bit like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get in terms of projects and clients. So when my latest client approached me to write for them, I was thrilled to hear that alongside sharing my love for fashion, I could also incorporate my knowledge of food & diet into their blog posts.

As I’ve come to find through my own research and experience, healing your gut is one of the best ways to look great and feel great. I wish I could go back in time and tell my high school and college self the information I know now. I would absolutely have changed the way that I ate, and would have been able to avoid a lot of the diet-triggered autoimmune issues that plagued my 20’s.

My favorite part about being able to share tips with‘s blog readers is that many of the articles are targeted toward prom goers, i.e. high school girls. Learning to eat right and treat your body well through a healthy relationship with food is critical to finding a life long path to health and wellness.  I’m so fortunate to have the opportunity to relay some of these messages to a younger audience who are just starting to build their lifestyle habits.

The first health-related topic I shared information on was 5 easy hacks to look your best for prom. Instead of starving oneself, the focus is on adding in healthy foods to make your skin glow and debloat your belly. And the info is applicable to anyone trying to sustain a healthier lifestyle – go check it out if you are curious to learn more!

I hope to have many more fun articles to share tips on in the future… in the meantime, be good to your gut!


The other ‘Gut’ in Gut & Glamour

Beechwood Living Room - before


Beechwood living room - after


The word ‘gut’ serves as a bit of a double entendre in my domain name. Though I initially created the name ‘Gut & Glamour’ in reference to healing the gut, a dear friend pointed out that it also encompassed the another type of ‘gut’ I’m well acquainted with – gutting homes.

We are currently in escrow on our fifth home. We’ve been fortunate in that we began buying homes when the California housing market was on a strong uptick, in 2009. Our first was a darling little tudor Storybook style home in the East Bay, and it was totally hideous on the inside when we purchased it. Red and green carpeting over lovely old hardwood floors, a poorly-laid out kitchen, and orange and green vinly window coverings were just a few of the atrocities. We dove into renovations (GUTting it!) full force, and transformed the outdated interior into a gorgeous (and GLAMOURous!) living space.

When I finally hung up my renovation hat, looked around and loved the finished result, we realized that we wanted to live on the Peninsula instead of the East Bay. So, after owning the home for under two years, we made our move to Burlingame into yet another little, outdated storybook tudor. This process has repeated itself a few times over, and now we are finally back in Los Angeles waiting to close on our fifth home.

Our little flat-roof Spanish house is (you guessed it!) a total fixer upper; just the way I like it. To be honest, I’ve only toured a few homes on the market that have encompassed my style & personal tastes, and I’m just SO. darn. picky. Especially when it comes to aesthetics, and the space I’ll be looking at and living in every single day. I’d rather get a good deal on something with charm, potential, and good bones that I can pour my love, sweat and tears into than a quick, cheap flip someone else has already gotten their hands on and is now charging an arm and a leg for. My friends tease me that I’m the ultimate bargain shopper, and shopping for homes is no exception.

If you are in the market for a home, my #1 tip is to look at the houses that have been sitting for a while with no action. They may be overpriced or ugly, but as a house sits on the market without offers the potential to buy it for a good price increases. Also as it sits, the sellers are probably going to start considering a price drop. If you can offer that lower price BEFORE the price drop happens, you have a good chance of getting the home. Alternately, I’ve seen a price drop happen on a home that has been sitting for ages, and then it’s GONE in the blink of an eye because people reconsider it. Put in that offer before the price drop if you want the home – even if you think it’s out of your price range.

For our Burlingame home, we put in FOUR offers on the house and were flat-out rejected the first three times because it was lower than the seller was willing to consider. However, as it continued to sit and no other offers rolled in, the seller became more desperate and willing to consider our offer. With our current home in Los Angeles, we boldly put in an offer over $100k under asking price (!) because the home had been sitting for over a month with little action… and much to even our own surprise, it worked and the seller accepted. You never know until you try, right?

The above ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos are from our last home in Wilmette, on the North Shore of Chicago. I will definitely be sharing more ‘before’ and ‘afters’ here on Gut & Glamour, so keep your eyes peeled for some of my favorite interior redesigns & tips and tricks for getting the most value when you renovate!



We’re going, going, back, back, to Cali, Cali

gut and glamour blog fam photoAs you may have surmised from the title of this post, the fam and I are headed back West to California (insert gasps of shock and various sounds of disbelief). I know, I know, right? Who uproots their lives this often, and what is it with our complete inability to stay in one place for longer than two years at a time?

I wish I had an eloquent, succinct answer to these questions, but instead all I can tell you is that our lives seem to take us to different places every so often. Emphasis on the word ‘often.’ Things haven’t always been this way in my life, in fact, my formative years were quite the contrary experience. I grew up in the same town, on the same street, in the same house for 18 years until I left for college. If you asked me then about moving every two years, I would have laughed and denied the possibility. I’m a secret homebody by nature; a closet introvert with a penchant for consistency, routines and staying put. And yet, here we are.

Our first move together, while boyfriend/girlfriend, was into a nice new building in Westwood. It was a one bedroom, one bath plus loft, and it was home for us and Rambo – our first child, who just so happens to be a rambunctious Boston Terrier with a flatulence problem and a heart of gold (I also swear he understands English, but I digress). It was perfect. Our two year lease ended just before we took off for our honeymoon in Athens and Mykonos, and we scouted new apartments from half a world away, landing in a walk-up three bedroom townhome in the heart of Beverly Hills. By our first Thanksgiving we added Bentley to the family. Our second fur child, Bentley is a loveable Cavalier King Charles who plays deaf and has pica (he eats odd, totally unappetizing objects whenever he finds them lying on the ground, which has led to many a scare and one very expensive surgery along the way).

During the Beverly Hills glory years the hubs and I both worked from home, taking long evening walks through gorgeous neighborhoods to dine at quaint sidewalk cafes. I was freelance writing while I started my event design and planning firm, The Stylish Soiree, and hubs was traveling a lot and working his way up the corporate ladder. Life was good, but we convinced ourselves we could never raise kids in Los Angeles. They’d surely turn into druggies, assholes, or, worst of all – insert sarcasm here –  entitled underachievers. The horror!

Our remedy to this LA madness was to set our sights on San Francisco. We had romantic visions of SF as a city awash with (counter)culture, art and fabulous food. You know, the way it was before the tech revolution, back when the hubs grew up there. Spoiler alert: it’s not like that anymore. The silver lining of our four years in the Bay Area, however, was our own little gold rush. Serendipitously, we bought our first home in the East Bay when it was still affordable, and rode the real estate wave to our second home on the Peninsula, in the gorgeous little town of Burlingame. We had a knack for buying total dog homes that were stale on the market, and then gutted and renovated them lovingly in a hot sellers’ market. It was magic, from the timing to the perfect buyers and brokers, and ironically we have the tech industry (you know, the same ones we rag on for ruining SF) to thank for that.

Unfortunately, by 2014 the market in the Bay Area was no longer hot for us… it had become scalding. Feeling burned by the insane jump in price to get to that next level home, we bowed out of the market entirely and headed to Chicago’s gorgeous North Shore. After a ten day whirlwind trip scouting all the North Shore neighborhoods, we pulled the trigger on yet another totally outdated home with tons of potential. But this time, instead of trading down in size, we got to triple our living space for less than the cost of our previous home. Ah yes, and this all happened while Miss A was two years old and I was 8.5 months preggerd with Dino. We like to keep our lives laced with plenty of stress and a touch of insanity… no big deal.

If Los Angeles was quagmired in name dropping and the Entertainment Industry, and San Francisco was overflowing with startups and tech dollars, Chicago’s North Shore felt like idyllic perfection. At first, we marveled at how everything just moved so much slower. It was like being back in the 90s before everyone had a cell phone and constantly checked their email / social media. And it. Was. Good. Kids played in their front yards with neighbors, summer block parties and rotating neighborhood cocktail hours were real things, and every one of our neighbors were awesome. Friendly, inviting, inclusive and just good people. If you look up the definition of ‘good people’ it is likely accompanied by a photo of our Wilmette neighbors. Prior to moving there, I thought these places only existed in John Hughes movies… In the 80s and 90s. Turns out, the magic is real and alive in the North Shore.

So why leave heaven on earth? Well, life. Life, and winter. As native Californians, hubs and I had no idea what a real Chicago winter entailed. How bad could it be, we laughed to ourselves naively. We’ll just get some warm coats and it’ll be fine, we agreed. Cue the -12 degree days when you think your eyes will freeze open. Cue us, trying to secure the damn car seat straps on a wiggly 5 month old baby without your gloves on in said weather while sideways ice storms shred your face. Cut to scenes of us slipping and falling on ice in the driveway while trying to shovel ourselves out of an 18″ snowfall, frozen snot running down our noses and dripping onto our numb hands (which gloves cannot actually keep warm in such cold weather). Hauling bags of salt from the store to shake down the driveway, only to have the other half of the bag melt off because we stupid Californians left it open outside, and so as the snowflakes fell they melted our precious supply. And here is another little tidbit no one tells you about Chicago winter… It lasts 6 months. November through May. And the month of June is pretty crappy too. Even Rambo refused to venture outside to poop during the coldest days, which resulted in his having to wear two dog sweaters and hot pink dog boots so he didn’t lose a hairless limb during potty time.

All my life I’ve been programmed to believe that winter consists of December through mid-March. My birthday, March 14th, brings sunshine and flowers in California. What did it bring in Illinios last year? A foot of snow, that’s what. Happy fucking birthday, am I right?

And while taking our crash course in Winter 101 was undeniably rough, I would say that the perks of the North Shore made up for the misery that is January – April. It really makes the summer sun all that sweeter, and I remain convinced that our neighborhood is a Mayberry-esque relic that is stuck in the 1950s, in all the best ways possible. Other life ‘shtuff’ popped up during our two years of North Shore living, and after a while it became clearer and clearer that someday we would end up back in California. That ‘someday’ just happened to come a lot quicker than I think any of us expected.

The past week has seen us list both our home and the townhome on the market, countless showings and a speedy sale of the townhome, and a trip to Los Angeles to figure out where on earth we want to call home in this crazy city. As I write this I am sitting in a lovely hotel, typing out our home-hopping history and shaking my head in disbelief at our wild little lives. I generally think of myself as a fairly boring person, and realize how at-odds that is with our reckless abandonment of various locales in search of greener pastures. And the irony of our resettlement in la la land is not lost on me. This is, dear reader, the city we fled upon vowing we could never raise a child here. Now we are back, 6 years later with two midgets in tow, desperately hoping our assessment from so many years ago was off-base. At least LA is a haven for gluten-free, dairy-free kiddos like mine, right?

All jokes aside, I am determined to find a lovely neighborhood in which to raise our kids, and dream of having neighbors 1/10th as awesome as those we are leaving behind. Only time will tell if we find our pot of gold at the end of the house hunting rainbow. For now, all we can do is hope for and seek a bright, beautiful new future for ourselves in the City of Angels.

Signing off from a room high above Wilshire,

Xoxo Yel






Vanilla, Cinnamon & Yogurt Fruit Dip

A and D eating healthy yogurt dip - gut and glamourToday my daughter wanted to eat apple for her afternoon snack, and asked if I had any dip to jazz things up. Unfortunately, since we are getting ready to move back to Los Angeles, my fridge & cupboards are a little bare these days. The usual suspects, almond butter and peanut butter, had been gobbled up last week, and the only dippable thing left that wouldn’t taste terrible with an apple was some greek yogurt.

‘But wait!’ you may cry, ‘Yogurt is dairy. And your kids are intolerant to dairy!’ Interestingly, the only dairy that my kiddos can digest without skin or tummy troubles include plain, probiotic-rich yogurt (not to be confused with faux ‘strawberry’, sugar-laden Yoplait containers), and organic (or grass fed) butter and ghee. Though I am normally extremely dairy-averse, plain, cultured yogurt is super gut-friendly, teeming with beneficial bacteria that keep us healthy and our immune systems in tip top shape. And a high quality (i.e. organic and/or grass fed) butter and ghee are excellent gut healers, providing the fats we need to utilize the vitamins and minerals in our diet and heal the intestinal lining.

Adding sugar to the yogurt wasn’t an option, since sugar seems to exacerbate the midges’ eczema (and miss A’s mood, in particular) – even honey. My favorite trick for making our morning oatmeal seem sweet without sugar is adding vanilla extract and a good dose of cinnamon, and this factoid served as inspiration for my yogurt dip.

This is so darn easy, I’m hesitant to even call it a ‘recipe,’ but I just had to share it because it turned out crazy delicious. Though you do not have to use the Fage brand, I haven’t been able to find another Greek yogurt as creamy and thick, and the rich, full texture tricks your brain into being even more satisfied with this tasty treat. Miss A and Dino-licious agreed…. they both demanded seconds and I had to whip up another batch. We tried this dip with freshly sliced Gala apples, but I imagine it would be equally delicious with pears, peaches and even cantaloupe or honeydew melon. Enjoy!

Healthy Yogurt Fruit Dip by Gut & Glamourcinnamon vanilla healthy greek yogurt dip recipe


  • 1 cup Fage Greek yogurt, or other super thick Greek, cultured plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract (I prefer the organic Madagascar vanilla extract with no alcohol, which I find at Whole Foods)


  1. Not even sure why I need them for this one since it’s so simple but…. Put ingredients in a bowl together and mix with a spoon until fully blended. Then gobble it up with some fruit, and repeat if your kids are crazy hungry food monsters like mine. Yum!






Welcome to Gut & Glamour

Yelena Johnson gut and glamourWelcome to my little corner of the world, known as Gut and Glamour. I’ve had blogs before, but none that fully encompassed all of my passions in life. Gut and Glamour is my attempt to find a home for all my musings, research and love for all things fashion, design, home, lifestyle, foodie and cooking obsessions and last, but certainly not least, gut health. If we don’t have our health, we have nothing. And embracing the beauty in the world, and in life, is my mantra for enjoying our brief and fabulous time on this earth.

And Who Am I?

My friends call me Yel. I am a wife, and a mother to two rambunctious, insanely smart and wiley little kiddos (Audrey, 4.5, and Dean, 18 months). Most recently I ran a successful event design and planning business for 8 years (shout out to The Stylish Soiree – hollaaaaaa), but I’ve also been a writer, worked in public relations, and dabbled in fashion and the start up world as well. I’m an avid traveler, a die-hard researcher, knowledge and truth seeker, and lover of good design – in the home, in the world, and most definitely in clothing.

I used to live on chocolate chip cookies and pizza (true story: I once spent 3 months perfecting a chocolate chip cookie recipe and gained 7 lbs in the process), but after serious autoimmune and gut issues altered my life I’m now a gluten-free, dairy-free, grass-fed and quinoa-loving foodie on a quest to heal while still enjoying delicious grub.

I believe that life is beautiful, and should be lived accordingly. Living a beautiful life does not equate with perfection; it means embracing all of the flaws and problems and the innate messiness of life while making the best of it, staying positive, and always looking for the silver lining.

I hope I can provide you with a lot of inspiration, a little information on the latest research on topics like gut health and the micro biome, and a bit of humor (because life stories are best served up with a twist of hilarity and a splash of sarcasm).

You can reach me at yel {at} gutandglamour {dot} com