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WINTER SKINCARE HACKS

Winter has hit and we are making up for lost time with the warm fall season that we had.  Today I’m sharing tips that will help keep your skin soft and hydrated.  What’s most important is that you stay consistent with these steps.  Consistency will make the biggest difference and it’s what your skin needs during the constant stress of the cold.

1.) SWITCH TO A CREAM OR OIL BASED CLEANSER.

This is more important to do if you are already normal or dry skinned.  If you’re prone to excess oil you don’t have to include this step, but for those who feel tight and dry after using their face wash, it’s vital to switch to something creamier.  It’s also helpful to cleanse and moisturize morning and night so that you can wash away excess impurities but to also use that second time to moisturize.  See my recommendations here and here.

 

2.) USE A BODY LOTION THAT CONTAINS AN EXFOLIATOR

Friends, I don’t know why all lotions do not contain an exfoliator within themselves.  Pure genius I tell you.  This one that I recently bought contains malic acid which helps to slough off flaky, ashy skin.  If I could exfoliate every hour of the day then I would…this is the next best thing.  This link that I’ve included gives you a selection of all their yummy scents as well!

3.) ADD AN OIL TO EVERYTHING

Whether you’re applying moisturizer to your face or your body, it’s always best to incorporate an oil into it during the wintertime.  This makes a huge difference in how your skin feels.  If you’re applying it to your face, put it on very last after your moisturizer.  For larger areas like your body, put several drops into your lotion and massage it in.  I also love to nuke the lotion & oil in the microwave for a few seconds before I put it on, so comforting!

For face oil recommendations click here and here.  For body oil recommendations, click here.

4.) GET MASKY WITH IT

Incorporating a weekly mask into your skincare routine will do wonders for your skin.  There is no magic number here but I would advise using a hydrating mask like this 2-3 times a week, depending on how dry you feel.  If you’re too tired to rinse if off before you fall asleep, just cleanse your skin the morning after like you normally would.

Click here to purchase this one or here to purchase this one.

 


And there you have it!  Four simple steps to keep your skin in prime condition for the holidays. Comment below if you have any rituals or products that you swear by for these cold winter months.  Now on to more important things, like gift wrapping and hot cocoa…

To read up on how to get cashmere hands for winter, click here…

 

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Once Upon A Lip Balm…

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Every girl dreams of finding her one true love…

You all know what I’m talking about…

Not Prince Charming…

Lip Balm.

Today I want to share an amazing balm for keeping your lips soft but also recommending a DIY lip exfoliator because you can’t have one without the, oooother.  (Please tell me you get that reference.)

First, you have to exfoliate.  Everyone has their own routine but I would suggest exfoliating 2-3 times a week.  Keep it in your shower or next to your toothbrush.  It is important to remove the dry flakiness as much as possible for your lip balm to penetrate.  No need to get fancy with it, you can just use a homemade mixture of brown sugar, honey and olive oil.  Use a very minimal amount of the liquid to keep the paste more granular.  Buffing this on and around your mouth will do more for your lips than you realize.  Originally I wanted to include a link to an “all-natural” lip scrub but I couldn’t find one that was completely chemical free.  Let me be honest, you don’t want your lip scrubs to have chemicals such as glycol, alcohols, or polymers.  My eyes got as big as Lawanda’s from Problem Child 2 when I realized that polymers are a derivative of PLASTIC.  This will do nothing to help your lips, it will in fact dry them out even more.

Next comes Prince Charming…the love of my life and what keeps my lips protected from dry cold wind.  I’ve been applying it every day as much as possible (1-3x a day and at night) and noticing a real difference.  The balm is called Dr. Dan’s CortiBalm and it actually contains 1% Hydrocortisone. This is the magical ingredient that keeps your lips protected and creates a barrier between wind and extreme cold/hot air while helping heal inflammation.  Their website even contains a comparative chart against leading other brands and reveals their minimal ingredient list, a must for people who are conscious of what they put into their body!

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The lip balm was originally designed for patients suffering from extremely dry lips due to chemical peels, acne treatments like Accutane and other medications.  The hydrocortisone also helps reduce inflammation caused from cold sores – something I have yet to find for cold sore sufferers.  Prescription strength? Yes please!

Comment below and tell us your current favorite lip balm!

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Glamour Itinerary

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Today we are covering the necessities for skincare perfection, the glamour itinerary that you need to keep you looking your best year-round.

If this chart sounds a little labor heavy to you realize that most of these tips take very little time to actually do, seconds really.  You can keep alcohol wipes in your desk at work and clean your phone as soon as you sit down for the day.  If your budget doesn’t allow for a monthly facial treatment, make it quarterly.  Also, schedule your skincare checkup every year on your birthday that way you know you are continually booking that on an annual basis.

This chart can easily be adjusted to fit your individual needs, the main point is that you stay consistent with your skincare routines.  Consistency is the key to any and all success!


Click here to read up on how to properly clean your brushes and find out my favorite brush spray cleaner! 

 

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Hydration Station :: Sweet Mint Tea Recipe

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I am always looking for fun ways to stay hydrated, especially during these hot summer days.  I came across this two-step recipe on my own and I had to share because I have been LOVING it! I am such a huge fan of mint tea, whether it be hot or cold.  I love it for headaches (in which case I steep two strong bags into one cup) and I also love it for a post-meal treat, especially if I’m craving something sweet.

Normally I buy this brand of tea from Target and I love it.  I mean, just look at how pretty and serene the box is…

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But this week I decided to try a different brand.  I was hoping for something a little bit stronger and my eyes came upon this little gem.  It’s only a couple dollars more but it looks so fancy. And in case you can’t tell, the box is a metal tin.  Click here to purchase.

HTSo I came home and opened the box and took a whiff and let me tell ya, this stuff is the real deal.  It was almost like taking in a menthol breathing treatment but in a good way.  I plan to buy this in bulk come winter time!

Since it’s still summertime I boil the tea in the morning when I get up and drink a cup hot.  Then I let the tea cool and put it in my fridge.  Once 10-11AM rolls around I take it out and drink it iced with stevia.  Then I sometimes also drink a cup in the afternoon too.  The tea is caffeine free so it doesn’t affect your hydration levels and it won’t disturb your sleep patterns either.

For those of you who prefer to drink something other than water with your meal, try making this and having with a salad or even a burger.  This drink really does fill you up and the best part is that it’s naturally calorie and sugar free!  I also think this would be fabulous to have at a summer bbq party for people who don’t prefer the taste of alcohol or who just want to try something new.

Here the easy recipe:

  • Bring water to a near boil in small/medium pan
  • Remove from heat and add 1-2 bags of peppermint tea
  • Cool and pour over ice, add a little cool water if it tastes too strong
  • Add 1-2 packets of truvia.  I use this brand
  • Stir and enjoy!
  • Fun add-ins: sliced lemon, fresh mint leaves, sliced cucumber.
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Craving Real Food

Roasted Broccoli Recipe

This broccoli recipe will change your life. Ok, I know that sounds dramatic but when else do you find a food that not only tastes amazing but is also equally amazing for your body?  That’s a win-win in my book!

This recipe is simple, easy and quick! I love to make it an hour before I start dinner if I’m super hungry and want something to snack on, or I love it on top of a salad, but I also love it for just plain “tv snacking.”  It’s healthier than popcorn or potato chips, but still satisfies your salt craving.

I’ve also tried roasted cauliflower, sweet potatoes and frozen corn and they are all equally delicious!! No matter which vegetable you try, it’s fun to experiment and really enjoy the unique flavors each one has.

Ingredients

  • Broccoli heads, chopped with stems removed (the smaller you chop the heads, the crispier your snack will be, fyi)
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt, I prefer Pink Himalayan
  • Optional: Fresh garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, fresh rosemary.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop broccoli and place inside large bowl.  Saturate the broccoli with olive oil. Be generous with this but be sure that it’s not soaking wet. Grind sea salt into mixture and add in any of the options above for taste preference. Stir evenly.

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Spray a large, dark baking sheet with olive oil and transfer mixture on pan.  Be sure that the broccoli is spread out well and has a chance to cook evenly.

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Set timer for 15-25 minutes depending on personal preference. The longer you cook the broccoli, the crispier it will taste.  As the broccoli cooks, it will turn brown and appear to be burning. In all actuality, this is the broccoli “roasting” and will yield a terrific flavor. Be sure to toss the broccoli a couple times during baking so that it roasts evenly on all sides.

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Remove from the oven and enjoy! As I mentioned earlier, this broccoli tastes awesome on top of salads, meat, soup, or even a baked potato! (And it tastes great as a finger food, too!)

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Labor Day Rejuvenation

 

 

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Labor Day is a weekend of relaxation, so what better way to celebrate than by giving yourself a little TLC? Here are a few fabulous ideas for truly enjoying your time off…

1.) Give yourself an at home mani/pedi by filling a large hot water bowl with all-natural body wash to soak in. Buff off dry skin and exfoliate with brown sugar and honey mixed from your kitchen. Apply lotion and spray with a peppermint mist.  This will energize your hands and feet, I promise!

Personal Favorite : The Honest Company Hand Soaps! 

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2.)  Make a healthy meal. Include as many fresh veggies and fruits as possible.  What’s more calming than knowing you just gave your body the best fuel possible? Bonus points: swallow down a high quality multi-vitamin with it.

3.) Brush your teeth, plug in your ipod headphones and go for a brisk walk.  This might sound super weird but I LOVE exercising after I’ve just brushed my teeth.  I honestly feel it helps me breathe deeper and more efficiently.  Start your walk with several deep breaths and try to continue it for the entire session.

4.)  Make a large pitcher of cucumber water and chug it after your walk.  Your skin will thank you!

5.)  Send a hand-written note to someone you love.  Take your time and write it on pretty stationary.  It could be a thank you note or it could just be a sweet thought you had about something.

These See Jane Work “DoughNotes” Blank Notecards? #icant

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Link : http://www.seejanework.com/productcart/pc/DoughNotes-158p6884.htm

6.) Declutter something.  This tip might not be for people who don’t enjoy cleaning and organizing, but for someone like me (borderline clean freak), decluttering and organizing is the most relaxing thing I can do!  Matter of fact, I would pick it over any other tip on this list!

7.) Wash your bedsheets.  Imagine if you made an effort to include several tips from the list above, taking a brisk walk…giving yourself a pedicure…cleaning out a messy closet…now imagine slipping into a clean warm bed with soft skin and a clean warm bed with heavenly scented sheets? This is my everyday utopia. I recently purchased this “greener” fabric softener from Target and it smells just how you would want your sheets to smell: clean, soothing and calming. I can’t stop using it!

Seventh Generation Fabric Softener with Blue Eucalyptus & Lavender

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I encourage you to include these helpful tips into your everyday life, not just for labor day weekend.  What’s important is that you take the time to take care of yourself so that you have more to give to others! 

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MYTH OR MARKETING? Does Cocoa Butter REALLY Prevent Stretch Marks?

sheamoistureWe’ve all heard several myths and wives tales that correlate with pregnancy.  Hearing ones like “if you’re carrying low it’s a boy” or “having acne means it’s a girl” stay categorized as a myth otherwise, it would be credited as a fact.

My husband who is a nurse and is currently studying for his nurse practitioner license taught me a long time ago that unless a claim has been proven in a clinical double-blind study or researched by a non-biased company, it more than likely is a false claim or a hyped up gimmick.

Case In Point:

There is no proven scientific fact that cocoa butter prevents stretch marks from occuring during pregnancy.

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For the life of me, I can’t understand why people assume that a $7 dollar cream will prevent something that companies and brands have spent millions of dollars and time on trying to find a “miracle cure” for.  Using cocoa butter to prevent stretch marks is more than just a myth, it is a marking ploy to rank up sales in hopes of deceiving expectant moms with false claims. It also makes me bananas when companies use celebrities to endorse their products when not only is the product ineffective, it makes people think that they too will have the same result.

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Please don’t, Ali Landry…

The most well-known cocoa butter company, Palmer’s Lotion, contains ingredients such as propylene glycol, artificial fragrance and color, parabens, and mineral oil (derived from petroleum.)  All of these ingredients have been considered toxic in the cosmetic + skincare world and if that’s not disturbing enough, the full ingredient formula is not even listed on Palmer’s website. One site that sells the product line states under the warning label that it’s not safe for children, but apparently it’s ok for little Bebe on the way?

I’m not here to make expectant moms feel guilty or con them into buying a new expensive cream that “actually works.”  I’m here to tell you that stretch marks are genetic and there’s NO way you can prevent genetic destiny.  The best route is to keep your skin hydrated with something “clean” and easy, like olive oil or my current favorite, SHEA MOISTURE : Baby Healing Lotion with Frankincense, Myrrh, Shea, Chamomile and Argan Oil. *Please note, neither of these products will prevent stretch marks but it does keep your skin well hydrated and prevents itchy dry skin that is common with pregnancy and weight gain.

Dry skin is also accompanied with pregnancy because your baby can and does take so much from you, physically.  If the baby needs water or nutrients from your body, he/she will take it. The baby gets what it needs first, before your body does.  So if you’re dehydrated your skin is bound to be one of the first things to take a hit.  Drink up and lather up with lotion to prevent that!

I recently picked up the SHEA MOISTURE Baby Healing Lotion from Target and I am sooo in love!! There are several products within the Raw Shea, Chamomile and Argan Oil line, but the one I ended up buying was the lotion.  What’s amazing is that the lotion itself is so thick that it doubles as a body butter.  Sometimes when I put lotion on I have to put on several coats and my skin still doesn’t feel hydrated.  But with this lotion, it’s creates such a thick barrier of moisture on the skin that let’s you get away with only a pump or two.  Here’s the facts….

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Doesn’t Contain:

NO parabens, phthalates, paraffin, gluten propylene glycol, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance/color, DEA (hormone disrupter), sulfates, or animal testing.

LUXURIOUS INGREDIENTS:

Shea butter, chamomile, argan oil, frankincense, myrrh, cocoa seed butter, mango seed butter, nut oil, primrose oil, vitamin E, and honeysuckle.

With that being said, this lotion smells amazing!! I absolutely cannot wait until fall comes around and I can enjoy it even more with a yummy latte on a cold day.  It smells so warm and sweet, almost like the ever-famous Burberry perfume.  Bonus: because the lotion is scented with natural plant and oil extracts, it acts as a WONDERFUL perfume scent as well!

Here is the link to order and don’t be afraid to try the oil with it either, it makes for a wonderful “at home” spa treatment!

http://www.sheamoisture.com/Raw-Shea-Chamomile-Argan-Oil-Baby-Healing-Lotion-_p_792.html

 

 

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Drink Up Buttercup! :: Cucumber Water

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Illustration by Renee Leigh Stephenson

“With vitamin K, B vitamins, copper, potassium, vitamin C, and manganese, cucumbers can help you to avoid nutrient deficiencies that are widespread among those eating a typical American diet.”

Dr. Joseph Mercola, Osteopathic Physician

With my due date approaching and the summer heat just now kicking in, proper hydration and water intake is more important than ever for me.  Whether or not you’re currently creating life or just trying not to melt into a puddle, you’re probably in the same boat.  I decided to make a personal goal for myself and drink a gallon of water everyday from a pitcher I keep in my fridge.  I’ve also decided to “one up” it and add a different garnish for each day of the week, whether it be lemons, basil or cucumber.

Recently I’ve been adding a ton of sliced cucumber to my pitcher and I love how “healthy and clean” it makes me feel.  Cucumbers are an excellent hydrator as they are made up of 95% water.

Talk about DOUBLE hydration!

As someone who suffers from Rosacea, cucumber water is one of the quickest ways to calm and cool my skin, not expensive creams or serums.  As a matter of fact, it’s one of my favorite drinks to offer brides during their trial run or on their wedding day because of it’s luxurious effects.

Here’s a quick list of how and why cukes are just amaze-wah!

Cucumber Water

1.) Eases nausea – great for pregnant Mamas!

2.) Reduces cholesterol and helps stabilize blood pressure

3.) Promotes digestion

4.) Helps with constipation – great for preggers again

5.) Is a good source of B vitamins which are great for energy

6.) Fights bad breath

7.) Contains a natural antihistamine release, bye bye summer allergies!

8.) Contains silica which helps to strengthen connective tissues and promote silky hair

9.) Helps eliminate waste and even helps dissolve kidney stones

10.) Helps relieve acid reflux…

“If you struggle with acid reflux, you should know that drinking water can help suppress acute symptoms of acid reflux by temporarily raising stomach pH; it’s possible that water-rich cucumbers may have a similar effect.” – Dr. Mercola 

Here’s a pic of my half-way through water pitcher in my fridge…

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Just be sure to clean your cucumbers well with a produce spray or vinegar before consumption and buy organic if you can.

According to Dr. Mercola:

“If you’re wondering whether you should choose organic cucumbers over conventionally grown varieties, I’d suggest organic. Cucumbers were ranked the 12th most contaminated food and the second in cancer risk due to their pesticide content, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).”