Help! My Vitiligo Is Growing! [5 Tips]

Hey everyone,

If you’re subscribed to me on YouTube, are friends with me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you already know that I recently published this video on what to do when your vitiligo is GROWING and you are freaking the frick out.

The video explains it all really. But I do want to say that it has taken me a long time to develop my attitude towards vitiligo, so if you do decide to try my tips out, be patient! It takes time for the “tough psychological” stuff to really sink in and work. And you have to work at it to make it work. Work work work. Haha, it can feel tiresome at times, but trust me it is WORTH it. Standing where I am, and looking back on how I used to feel, I am so grateful to be here.

If you would like to chat with me about your growing vitiligo, check me out on social media:

Or email me at aruna (at) arunagee (dot) com. I will do my best to respond as fast as I can.



An Interview With Teforia CEO Allen Han (pt 1)

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Allen Han, CEO & Co-founder of Teforia, about the company and their revolutionary new tea infuser/machine that was recently launched.

The Teforia machine’s a beaut. It’s the ultimate Keurig for tea, and then some.

In speaking with Allen about the company and machine, it became increasingly obvious that he and his team are passionate about tea, its history, and the communities (large and small) that the love of tea creates. Here is the first part of the interview …

Me: Is this tea infuser the first of its kind?

Allen: Yes, this is the first infuser in the world that is basically the perfect marriage between science and tradition.

Me: That’s wonderful. You may not know this off the top of your head, but you do know how many experts outside of your team gave input and influenced the development of this infuser?

Allen: We talked to over 200 tea drinkers. We also talked to 20 or 30 tea experts. We’ve been sourcing tea in Taiwan for the past few years. We actually seek out artisnal tea makers that make really, really great tea. We befriended a lot of these folks in Taiwan and they’re very friendly to us. Part of our goal is basically not just to provide the best cup of tea, but also to let folks discover. There’s a whole bunch of different varieties. There’s a slogan that we like to use: Beyond green and black. Even within green or black teas there’s actually a variety, there are limitless shades of each and they all have different flavors. There are some black teas you would think – oh, this has to be a green tea, because it has a vegetal freshness to it. I think tea is so exciting if you look at it as a journey.

Me: There is so much to explore! A very similar question, but which countries have influenced or informed the making of this infuser?

Allen: Tea is now very global. And the cool thing about it is each culture has adopted and also refined their own tea tradition. My background is Chinese-American. That has a lot of influence to it. It is also where tea originated, so that has a strong influence on what we do. The second biggest influence is the Japanese [approach to tea]. Right now there’s a huge influence of Japanese Matcha in Western culture. Third is Indian tea. It’s a really unique culture, and tea there is a really unique experience. And lastly is the European tea culture. That’s a combination of the U.K., Germany, and France. Those are major tea drinking countries and they all have slightly different unique tea experiences.

Me: And some are very opinionated about how tea should be had!

Allen: Yeah, yeah! PG Tips. We get that a lot. But the funny thing is that Jane Petigrew, world renowned tea expert, she’s British. We’ve been working with her for over a year now, and she absolutely just loves what we do. Because our mission at the end of the day is about providing a really awesome, powerful platform for tea drinkers around the world, so they can really enjoy tea at a completely different level. As you just experienced, you had a really wonderful cup of tea that we made manually [with a standard tea infuser], but at the same time once I presented the same tea made with our infuser, you said, “wow – this is a whole new side of tea I’ve never tasted before.”

Me: It really is. It’s bolder and fuller.

Allen: Right! And as we were talking about earlier, community is a big component. Tea is now one big global community. We’ve developed a platform now to share tea recipes. We have a recipe for Samovar’s Green Ecstasy. We worked with Jesse [founder of Samovar Tea] to craft that recipe. But let’s say you think, “Hey, I’m Aruna. I like to have things a bit more savory.” You can customize that using our customization tool app. You can make it public, others can download it, and they can try it out.

Me: Wow, the possibilities really do become endless with this infuser.

Allen: Endless. And of course, another cool thing about this system is that it’s an open system. You can use this infuser with your own tea. The recommendation is that you use 5 grams of tea. You put it in the infusion bowl, then go to the app and there’s a button that says “new tea.” The app will ask you three to four questions. What color, what size, and what shape. From that, it will create a recipe. Make the tea using that recipe, try it, then come back to the app to provide feedback. Is it savory enough, is it missing something? It will make it the way you want it the next time. That’s what makes this the world’s first machine learning tea maker. By the third time you give feedback, it will have perfected your recipe.

[To be continued …]

Win 2 Tickets: 2016 Southwest Tea Fest in Vegas!

It’s simple. Just comment below if you and a friend want 2 free tickets to the Southwest Tea Fest, in Las Vegas, Nevada. I’ll randomly choose a winner on Feb 15th and mail the tickets to you!

What’s the Southwest Tea Fest, you ask?

Screen shot 2016-02-01 at 6.00.23 PM

It’s the first and only tea festival in Vegas, debuting on Saturday, Feb 27th, 10am-5pm at the Downtown 3rd Farmers Market! It’s going to be huge. And there are free-bees (including Swag Bags by Plum Deluxe for the first 500 people to walk through the door). I wish I could go this year!

Highlights of the Tea Fest include:

  • Tea samplings & tastings
  • Tea ceremonies
  • A tea cupping championship
  • Presentations:
  • A silent auction to benefit SafeNest
  • Live music
  • Food trucks

If you want to buy tickets you can do so HERE, they’re $20 per person.

Happy sipping!



6 Ways to Live & Love (With Vitiligo)

Several months ago, a young man emailed me completely flustered. He was in love. But Nana, his girlfriend, was pushing him away because she had Vitiligo. And it was killing him to be shut out. In fact, she thought she was doing him a favor. She did not want to relegate him a life of shame, living with someone whom all of society would shun. She loved him back, but she wanted to protect him.

As I read his email, I realized that he did not care whether or not Nana had Vitiligo. He didn’t care about society or what anyone would say about her. He just wanted to be with her.

He asked that I make a video filled with helpful advice, made just for her. So that she would not lock herself in her house all day. So that maybe someday she could hope for a happy life again.

How could I say no to that?

This is the video I made for Nana.

Here’s a friendly reminder to jump for joy EVERY day! Your skin, your physical appearance, does not define who you are, what you’re capable of, and frankly – how freaking amazing you are. Radiate positivity, and everyone around you will barely even notice the things you used to tell yourself were “imperfections”.

All my love,


Milk Oolong, by Joy’s Teaspoon

I was already amazed by oolong tea before filming this review. It’s highly caffeinated, tastes very light, and obviously has some mind-blowing health benefits when you drink it regularly. It’s a powerful drink that can regulate blood sugar, weight, and energy levels. (If you drink an oolong, green, and white tea blend after every meal you will have easy digestion and sustained energy throughout the day. I’ve been obsessed with this blend recently!) I mean come on, what’s not to like?

What I didn’t know is that there is a specific, magical type of oolong called “milk oolong”. When processed just right, milk oolong tea is infused (no pun intended) with a milky flavor without any additives. It has everything to do with the drying process. I read somewhere that milk oolong leaves are laid out to dry at night. The gradual increase in temperature at the sun rises and heats the earth up gives the leaves that milkiness.

Now I’m enamored with oolong.

This particular Milk Oolong by Joy’s Teaspoon does have additional milk flavoring in it. I’m not sure what they mean by that. But I have to admit it tastes wonderful and I’m incredibly thankful to Joy’s Teaspoon for introducing me to their teas! Joy’s Teaspoon teas are all ethically sourced, and if any tea is not certified organic, the company does ensure that their tea providers follow strict guidelines sans certifications. I can’t imagine all tea growers have the resources to get certified, and I think it’s very decent of Joy’s Teaspoon to accommodate those companies.

Happy sipping!


P.S. Naomi, the owner of Joy’s Teaspoon, co-organized the much anticipated Southwest Tea Fest, debuting on February 27th in Las Vegas. If you would like a chance to win 2 free tickets, check out my other blog post: “Win 2 Tickets: 2016 Southwest Tea Fest in Vegas!

My Tiny Town Hall Wedding

I’m not sure whether town hall weddings are becoming more popular or whether, since I had one myself, folks are happy to relate their own stories.

When Josh and I made the decision to get hitched, we also resolved not to invite anyone. (And by anyone I mean everyone.) It’s a slippery slope. The far reaching tendrils of relations and association can grow a wedding list to suffocating proportions. If aunt Bertha gets an invite, so does cousin Tommy and the Marvin family. But the Marvin family is close with the Strauss family, so … With a bit of debt and just-budding careers, we were long ready for marriage but in no position to feed 250 (albeit beloved) friends and family.

Our “no invite” resolution dissolved quickly though, when some of our immediate family asked if they could come. Of course they could. It was unthinkable for us to even entertain the thought of saying no.

All bets were off when my sister-in-law Daniela mentioned how fun it might be to shop for the dress together. I had a feeling that even though I planned to buy a plain dress for $45 in a bargain basement in some suburb of Boston, Daniela would convince me to go for something that truly made me feel special. And that’s exactly what she did. She and my mother pitched in, and I was able to get a great deal on a dress and shoes that made me feel like a Spanish princess. I don’t wear dresses much, and to be in one that made me feel so wonderful was quite an experience. Looking in the mirror at David’s Bridal, I thought of my late grandmother whose taste for fashion and glamor were plain to see in photos from her younger days.

January 12th fast approached. I became so sick in the weeks leading up to it that in a call to my then boss I joked that I sounded like a man. Really, I did. Thankfully I was well enough just in time. A few jokes about saying “ichoo” instead of “I do” helped keep my nerves about being sick at bay.

Josh and his brother Jon got ready at our apartment while Daniela and my mother (who flew in briefly, just to be at the ceremony) accompanied me to a salon in Cambridge. Hair done, we hopped over to Jon and Daniela’s house to make the transformation from plain Jane to Superbride. Anyone who knows me well will understand how much of a joke that is 🙂 I’m super low maintenance. It took almost no time to slip into the dress, with Daniela’s expert help. I already sported my everyday makeup.

The trek to Newton town hall filled me with a sense of history. I felt a commitment and devotion to Josh long before we officially tied the knot. So in the time before January 12th, I downplayed how important the ceremony itself would be in my head. But while we weaved through traffic, rolling smoothly ever closer to my future husband, I remembered something Daniela said at David’s Bridal. “This is only going to happen once.” She’s right. Even if we decided to have a larger formal wedding with our extended circles, the wedding itself, the first, the original – that only happens once. And it was happening in a matter of an hour or less. The thought made me feel happiness, pride, a sense of gravity, and an inner warmth that I find hard to further describe.

We thought we would be embarrassingly overdressed for a town hall gig, but we were surprised by a marble entryway and staircase, and a gorgeous hall with seating and ample room where the ceremony itself took place. We should have guessed – it’s Newton after all.

It could not have been a more enjoyable experience. After the I dos (no sneezes thank goodness), our family tossed flower petals in the air and popped open some champagne. Looking around the space, I felt thankful for every one of them. My husband Josh, Jon and Daniela, their two children Lili and Benny, Daniela’s mother Mariana, Josh’s father Chuck and step mother Phyllis, and of course my mother Violet.

We ate a delicious dinner at Devlin’s in Brighton, one of our favorite restaurants.

Originally we toyed with the idea of having a larger wedding a couple years down the road, but I’m not sure that’s in the cards for us. Too many married couples have enthusiastically offered advice to the contrary, suggesting that in retrospect they might have rather taken the path we did, and used the extra money to vacation, or even to visit their loved ones in person.

Move On

‘Mettle’s what you want, not some shrill cry in the misty dark.’
Or maybe it’s in the moment after, before they dry,
Something cuts its butter-knife through the folds of sense and time.

It’s open.

Opportunity knocks with unsheathed claws or hints of whispers, ever so rarely with knuckles.
Knuckles you have more chance to capture.
Knuckles are slower, louder, blunter.

That life’s for living must be true,
Though truism trapped many
you korinthenkacker, puffed and huffing.

And does that feed the fire, or would you have it too?
A cool drink for the roots.
That gives you breath and room.

I can’t, it won’t, you don’t, so small.

Well… you’ll know what to do.