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10 Morning Hacks To Help You Get Started With Your Day

In lifestyle, productivity on November 4, 2018 at 10:20 am

For some people, getting up early and starting the day (or week) is easy and the fresh start is something to look forward to.  For others, getting up early and starting the day can be traumatizing.  There can be many factors that may cause one to feel that way such as not being a morning person, always feeling tired or just not looking forward to the events of the day.  Whatever the case, staying in bed seems like a better idea.

For most adults however, staying in bed all day is not an option.  So what is the fix? Planning ahead and establishing a routine and certain tasks, especially if you have to get up before the crack of dawn, can make your process more tolerable and your day run more smoothly.  So the next time you have to get up super early, consider the following:

Set your alarm to your favorite song.  This song should be a song that will hype you up and make you want to dance first thing in the morning.  And when that song no longer gets you excited, switch it out to another song.

Give yourself some time.  Make sure you give yourself a few minutes before jumping out of bed to give yourself time to meditate, pray and review your schedule.  Nothing is worse than waiting until the last minute to get out of the bed then making a scatterbrained leap out of bed.  Not the best way to start your day.

Turn on all of the lights.  This has helped me tremendously when I have to get up before sunrise (especially in the winter).  Consider getting a timer to turn on the light a few minutes before you have to get up so you don’t have to physically walk throughout the house to turn on lights.

Eat a delicious breakfast.  Take the time to have a wholesome breakfast before heading out.  Doing so will put you in a good mood, help your concentration and improve your memory.

Drink ice cold water.  Doing this will help you wake up instantly.

Buy some new underwear.  I can’t tell you how many times I have gone shopping for new underwear and couldn’t wait to wake up in the morning to shower and put them on.  What is it about new underwear that makes one feel powerful, sexy, ready to take on the world?

Get a morning exercise routine.  It might be stretching, yoga, or a full out HIIT workout which might take place in a physical gym or in your living room.  Wherever you choose to workout and whatever workout you choose to do, take a few minutes to do something which will get your blood flowing, burn some calories and make you alert, ready to take on the day.

Prep your meals and outfits ahead of time.   Eliminate the morning frenzy around food and clothing by preparing ahead of time.  It might be the day before or a plan for the week but whatever the case do it ahead of time so you can focus your energy on other important things.

Be realistic about your time.  Nothing is worse than rushing to get things done.  Do you find that you are late often or that you are making it to your destination just by the skin of your teeth?  Oftentimes we underestimate the amount of time it takes to get ready in the morning or for any event so make sure you are giving yourself enough time to get everything done.  For instance, just walking to the car, getting in, putting on your seat belt, turning on the car take up time that counts so plan accordingly.

Don’t get caught up.  In your cell phone or laptop that is.  Email and social media can rob you of precious time.  If you aren’t in an industry like customer support where you have to answer email right away, set up a time where you will check all of that stuff or at least wait until you are done with your morning routine to check in.

What are your best morning hacks to keep you on track for a productive day?

Don’t Sleep Your Day Away: 5 Benefits Of Getting Up Earlier

In lifestyle, productivity on October 16, 2018 at 12:00 pm
sunrise on village

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

As a child, I never had trouble getting up early – and I mean super early.  Like 5 am early.  This was not a problem during the week when I had to go to school.  The weekend, on the other hand, was a different story.  My mom, after having worked all week, looked forward to getting some extra shut eye – at least until 6:30 but there I was – padding into her bedroom, waking her up, wanting to eat and play.  At 5am.  On a Saturday morning.

Not wanting to stifle all that young energy and realizing that I might just be one of those early risers, she would set up my snacks, toys, books and showed me how to turn on the television so I could entertain myself until she awakened from her slumber.  She also purchased dark blinds thinking they would keep the sun out of my bedroom and make me sleep a little later.  Those didn’t work.

Fast forward to my adult years.  I still wake up between 430 and 6am – depending on what my schedule is.  Do I occasionally fall into a pattern of hitting that snooze button and sleeping later?  I sure do.  But since I don’t like feeling frenzied or like I don’t have any control ever my life, I usually get up when I wake up.  Waking up early helps me to be productive, focused and punctual.  I like the feeling of easing into my day and having a good amount of time to do things like workout, review my day, get dressed – all without arriving at my destination all batsh*t crazy.

But then there is you.  Maybe your internal clock doesn’t go off that early or you get up 45 minutes before you have to leave your house.  Perhaps you are a shift worker who gets off work at 1130pm so waking up at 5am is out of the question.  You might be a night owl and find yourself to be more productive later in the day.  Cool.

If, however, you are looking for reasons why getting up before sunrise/ 5am-ish can be beneficial, continue reading…

Fewer Distractions.  First off, when you get up earlier, you get the opportunity to reflect in peace.  This is particularly important if you have a family or roommates.  You will also have free range of your entire living space before everyone else gets up.  Serenity is a beautiful thing.

Gain More Time.  If you are an entrepreneur, student or even someone who is working on a particular project like writing a book, you can gain an extra 5-10 hours a week (or more) just by getting up 1-2 hours earlier.  This can be a good thing especially if you have a full time job.  You will have more mental clarity when you get up earlier and when you get home from work (or wherever), you can focus on other things that require your attention – like your family and friends.

Peak Energy, Creativity And Better Organization.  Assuming that you have had a good night’s rest, you wake up with better mental clarity and you will have more energy to actually start your day.  Those ideas that were on your mind before you went to bed are more likely to be executed.  You can also do things like get ahead of traffic and make sure you have everything you need for your day before you run out of the door.

Wellness Habits Are Put Into Practice.  How many times have you said you want to work out, eat a healthy breakfast, pray/meditate or even take the time to look nice before running out of the door?  Well when you get up earlier, you can actually do all of these things.  When you are able to put these habits into practice, it can enhance your overall well being, focus and confidence.

Sets The Tone.  Getting up early helps to set the tone for your day.  Doing so can foster a sense of accomplishment which can be the foundation of your day, making you feel in charge, able to make solid decisions.  Imagine feeling like a boss before you even leave the house?

Interested in learning how to get up earlier and take charge of your day?  Try the following:

  • Know your why.  Figure out why getting up early is important to you or why you think you should.  Do you have a specific goal you are trying to reach like start a business, write a book or workout and can’t seem to find the energy to do it after a long day? Do you want to feel more focused and in control of your day.  Knowing your why can help you stay committed to you goal or focus.
  • Start small.  If you are used to sleeping to whenever, abruptly trying to get up earlier can be painful.  Start by setting your alarm for an earlier wake up time in small increments.  If you usually wake up at 7am and you decide you want to start waking up at 5am, the thought alone is agonizing and chances are you won’t make that transition.  Instead, start by setting your alarm 10-15 minutes earlier and once you adjust to that time, then you can add on another 15 minutes or so until you are accustomed to waking up at your new time.
  • Plan to go to bed sooner.  Simply put, getting up earlier can be related to getting in bed sooner and getting a full night’s rest.
  • Put the alarm away from the bed.  Having your alarm clock by your bed can encourage you to keep hitting the snooze button and sleeping longer than you planned.  Instead, put your alarm clock on the other side of the room.  But please, when you shut the alarm off, don’t crawl back into bed.
  • Leave the room.  After shutting off that alarm, turn on the lights and leave your room and don’t look back.

If waking up earlier is something you are interested in and you aren’t successful at first, be gentle with yourself and give yourself some time to adjust.  Also, getting up early is not always about being productive.  Sometimes it’s about being able to take your time which is the most relaxing, loving thing you can do for yourself.  At the end of the day, you have to do what works for you.

Are you an early riser or do you sleep in?  What reasons for getting up earlier resonated with you?  Share your thoughts below.

 

 

Don’t Be Late: Do These Six Things To Help You Be On Time

In productivity on September 25, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Early is on time.  On time is late.  If you are late, don’t bother to show up.

analog clock sketch in black surface

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com

Are you one of those people who struggle with being on time?  You are not alone.  There are many people who never arrive on time or struggle to meet deadlines.  As a result, they may suffer the consequences of tardiness – whether it’s a missed opportunity or in extreme cases, termination.  Whatever the case, there are 6 things you can put into practice to help you be on time.

Figure Out How Long Things Actually Take.  Oftentimes we underestimate how long a particular activity really takes.  For instance, that walk to the train station to get to work (or wherever) – is it 8 minutes or is it more like 13 minutes?  It’s probably more like 13  minutes when you account for walking out of your house/apartment, getting to the elevator or stairs to get out of your building then starting your actual walk to the station.  And along the way, what about those traffic lights and the fact that you need to put money on your pass to get through the turnstile – there is always a very long line especially when you are running late.  If you drive, what about the amount of time it takes to get to your car, get in, buckle up and start the car?  This is before you drive off.  And what about traffic and parking?  Every second and every detail counts when it comes to time management and unfortunately people aren’t usually unclear about their time frame, often contributing to chronic tardiness.  What is the solve?  Become clear about the amount of time it takes to complete a task.  Time yourself for a week or so in order to get a clear picture of your time factor.  This will also help you to budget in buffers for unforeseen occurrences.

Get Organized.  The habit of being organized is powerful in the quest to help you not be late.  Learn to organize your living space (even your finances) as this allows for a clear mental space and will help you get focused on the important tasks at hand.  Whether it’s for work, school, a date or even a doctor’s appointment, nothing is worse than running late when you are ill prepared.  If you are always scrambling to find something to wear, you’re not clear on your daily agenda and you can never find your keys, you will always undermine your sense of well being and your ability to be more productive.  Instead, get prepared ahead of time for your day or week.  Use a planner (digital and/or traditional) to plan out your most important tasks.  Use it as a roadmap for what your day should look like.  Pull your clothes (shoes, accessories,undergarments) for the next day/week.  This way you won’t be caught off guard by items that need dry cleaning, ironing or repairs.  If you take your lunch to work or school, prepare that at night so you can grab and go and when it’s time to leave.  Make sure your keys, wallet, purse, etc. are in a central location so that won’t have to hunt these items down.  If you are traveling someplace new, review the directions beforehand and leave early enough to reduce anxiety and to allow for time to find your way if you do get lost.

Get Enough Sleep And Don’t Hit That Snooze Button.  If you are running late often because you always oversleep, you obviously might not be getting enough rest.  Going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting 7-8 hours of sleep can help feel refreshed when it’s time to get up.  In addition, get out of the habit of hitting the snooze and just get up as soon as the alarm goes off.  Repeatedly hitting snooze can actually make you more tired and groggy and it’s very easy to mistakenly turn your alarm off and fall back into a deep thus making you late.

Stay Focused And Do Not Over-Schedule.  Learn to eliminate unnecessary tasks and distractions that won’t contribute to your punctuality.  For instance, if you are working against a deadline for a project, don’t get caught up in scrolling social media, checking emails, or taking phone calls and instead schedule breaks to take care of these things.  Also, set boundaries with those around you to respect your time.  Another way in which people end up running late is trying squeeze in the completion of projects before having to leave for a prior commitment.  Consider this:  Say you are meeting friends at 5 for dinner. You are working on a paper, you need to send an important email by 5, you still don’t know what you are wearing and it’s already 1:30.  You should stop working on that paper around 2:30, take 15 minutes to finish up and send that email take, take about 15 minutes to figure out what you are going to wear and by 3 start getting ready – assuming it takes about an hour to shower, get dressed, etc.  This brings you to about 4pm which is a good time to prepare to leave.  This may seem a bit early since where you are meeting is only 20 minutes away but keep in mind that it’s rush hour and you don’t want the evening commute to make you late.  Allowing these buffer times and considering how much time you actually have and how long each task takes can help you to be on time.

Set Your Clock For A Later Time Than It Actually Is.  Setting the clocks in your home 10 minutes or so later than it actually is can prove to be helpful in the quest for not being late.  Even when you know that your clock is 10 minutes fast, there is still that initial shock of thinking you are late that will make you move a little faster.

Say No.  Become comfortable with telling people no.  If you have several important things scheduled that need to take place and a request is made of you that you realistically cannot engage in, gently decline or reschedule.  Not saying no is a disservice to you and the person making requests of you.

9 Things You Can Do To Help You De-Bloat

In fitness, Health on September 13, 2018 at 1:00 pm

Either your clothes shrunk or you might actually be bloated.  Have no fear because there are several things you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you reduce bloating.

woman measuring her waist

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

You ever have those times that no matter what you do, you feel a little bloated?  Perhaps you have over-indulged in you favorite foods or maybe you were away on business and you don’t have access to what you normally eat so you eat what is available only to end up feeling like Professor Sherman Klump.  In most cases, there is nothing to fear because even those with the healthiest of eating habits and lifestyles can have this experience.  Below are several tips to help you gain some relief from occasional bloating.

Warm/Room Temperature Lemon Water.  When you wake up first thing in the morning, head to the kitchen and have yourself some warm water with fresh squeezed lemon (half of a medium to large lemon in 8 ounces of water).  This wakes up the digestive system and will help move waste right along (wink).  Want to get the most juice out of your lemon, pop it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.  Also, consider adding fresh ginger to your lemon water as ginger is great for it’s de-bloating properties as well.  Read about the additional benefits of lemon water here.

Lower Your Salt Intake.  Generally speaking, lowering your sodium intake is one of many important steps to take to help decrease your risk for hypertension, headaches  and other health concerns.  But a diet high in sodium also causes your body to retain water so it’s a good idea to find other spices to season your food with.

Increase Your Fruit And Vegetable Intake.  Before you raid your refrigerator and throw out anything that isn’t a fruit or vegetable, there are some things to consider.  When buying fruits, choose fruits that have the combination of being lower in sugar alcohols and high in water such as blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe and oranges.  Papaya and pineapple are also great fruits to eat because they have the enzymes bromelain and papain which help to de-bloat.  When it comes to vegetables, reduce the consumption of bulky and cruciferous vegetable such as kale and broccoli which can cause gas and bloating and instead choose veggies like baby spinach and zucchini.  When it comes to meat, keep it lean which is often easier to digest.

Drink Water.  This seems obvious but many people do not drink enough water which leads to dehydration.  Aside from headaches, skin problem and fatigue, dehydration can make bowel movements more difficult and even close to non-existent, thus causing gas, bloating and puffiness.  It is recommended to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water (approximately half a gallon) a day for optimal benefits.

Increase Your Fiber Intake.  But slowly that is.  We all know that fiber is beneficial because it helps to keep you regular.  However, too much fiber at once can do more harm than good by actually causing painful bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.  The recommended amount of fiber is 20-25 grams a day.

Spice It Up.  Adding spices to your food not only makes it more flavorful, but can also help you to de-bloat.  Certain spices such as tumeric and cayenne contain properties that are anti-inflammatory as well as aids in digestion and banishes gas.  Consider adding one or both of these spices into your warm lemon water for healthy digestion.

Consider Reducing Dairy.  For many, dairy can cause a many digestive problems (lactose intolerance).  From cheese to ice cream, consuming dairy products can cause gas, diarrhea and general discomfort from the inability of one’s body to break down lactose.

Take A Probiotic.  Probiotics can be a good remedy for bloating because they help maintain the balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut.

Go To Sleep.  Sure you have a lot to do but sleep deprivation has many adverse side effects.  Aside from brain fog and irritability, sleep deprivation increases the hormone cortisol which increases belly fat so make sure you get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night.  Find out more about sleep deprivation here.

If you find yourself experiencing prolonged bouts of bloating, seek help of a medical professional for diagnosis.

 

These 7 Ingredients Can Help Fight Acne

In skincare on September 10, 2018 at 12:00 pm
person s face covered with white powder

Photo by Ricardo Garcia on Pexels.com

Having a breakout is never a fun thing.  Whether it is periodic or a regular occurrence, breakouts are the kiss of death.  Sure, having acne is terrible when you are an awkward teenager but what about when you are a full grown adult?  In your career?  On the dating scene?  Advancing toward the next milestone of your life?  In a perfect world, adulting would never include fighting acne.

But it’s not a perfect world and adult acne is a real thing.  And while some people may think focusing on your looks is vain and self centered, those struggling with adult acne know better.  Oftentimes, there is an embarrassment and shame as well as the physical and emotional scarring that is overlooked.

To cope, some acne sufferers may just chalk it up to breakouts being their lot in life and just move on.  Depending on the severity, some may suffer depression and never leave the house while others will spend time and money undergoing treatment.  The latter is always an option in the fight against breakouts but there are also over the counter (OTC) options that can help you in the war against acne.

But wait.  With all of the OTC options that exist, how do you know which brand to choose, let alone which ingredient to choose?  Continue reading to get the 411 on several pimple fighting ingredients.

Benzoyl Peroxide.  An old school acne fighting ingredient, benzoyl peroxide, which is perfect for whiteheads, kills the bacteria that causes acne and keeps pores from being blocked.  Found in concentrations between 2.5% and 10%, it is best when used on a continual basis.  Proceed with caution because it can be drying to the skin and cause redness.  Paula’s Choice CLEAR Extra Strength Daily Skin Clearing Treatment.

Glycolic Acid. This popular alphy hydroxy acid which is derived from sugar cane is a master at exfoliation and skin clearing.  Having the smallest molecule, it is able to penetrate the skin to help with concerns such as acne, blackheads, dullness, scarring fine lines and wrinkles, helping to reveal smoother, brighter skin.  Helps with whiteheads.  Mario Badescu Glycolic Gel.

Light Therapy.  This kind of treatment uses different colors (blue and red) of visible light to treat acne.  Red light, which stimulates collagen, not only treats anti-aging but helps with inflammation and helps to reduce oil production.  Blue light is an anti-bacterial and helps to reduce the appearance of pores and active breakouts.  Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Spot Treatment.

Salicylic Acid.  A beta hydroxy acid, salicylic acid is an anti-inflammatory that treats whiteheads and blackheads.  Performing like Drain-o, salicylic acid dives past oil and gunk to get down to the pores to clear them out and dissolves the cement that holds the sticky cells together.  Although salicylic acid is found in most acne treatments, it does not kill bacteria.  Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil.

Sulfur.  Another ingredient that wages war against the bacteria that causes acne, sulfur can be used to treat mild acne.  It is keratolyic – meaning it dries the skin and makes the epidermis thinner.  Sulfur helps to reduce oil and has anti-microbial properties.  Helps with whiteheads and blackheads.  Dr Dennis Gross Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask.

Niacinamide.  Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide has multiple benefits for the skin, helping with the appearance of enlarged pores as well as fine lines and wrinkles.  It can also help brighten the skin and help reduce redness.  Fights whiteheads blackheads.  The Ordinary, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%.

Retinoids.  If you are looking for a product with an ingredient that addresses multiple concerns, retinol might be for you.  A derivative of vitamin A, retinol is anti-aging in that it helps with fine lines and wrinkles.  As an exfoliator, it helps refine skin texture and pores as well as helps to speed up cell turnover to reveal new skin.  Retinol is also an anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce oil production.  You may experience drying if you have dry skin.  Use at retinol products night and use a sunscreen during the day.  Treats whiteheads and blackheads.  Differin Gel.

On My Radar: Weekly Beauty, Fashion and Lifestyle Roundup

In beauty, jewelry, lifestyle on August 31, 2018 at 2:00 pm

On My Radar is a roundup of all the things I love, discovered, and that have piqued my interest this week that you should know about.

Discover one product to exfoliate both your scalp and body, cut down your clothes drying time in an eco-friendly way, learn how to build your social capital and more this week On My Radar.

Ouai Scalp and Body Scrub $38.  Dry, itchy scalp be gone with this luxurious, creamy scalp and body scrub.  Use this as a pre-wash to prep your scalp for your shampoo and conditioner or use it as a body scrub to reveal smooth, silky, radiant skin.  Key ingredients include sugar to exfoliate, probiotics to balance scalp/skin and coconut oil to nourish and moisturize.

Dr Dennis Gross SpotLite Acne Treatment Device $52.  Reduce menacing pimples fast with this compact, FDA cleared treatment device.  By using medical grade blue and red LED light technology, SpotLite reduces inflammation and other symptoms related to breakouts such as scarring.

Alexis Bittar Armor Cuff Bracelet $195.  Be art in motion with this beautiful sculptural cuff.  Big and bold, this rose gold tone cuff will create the ultimate fashion statement this season.

Grove Collaborative Wool Dryer Balls $15.95.  Eliminate the need to buy dryer sheets and cut down your drying time with these eco-friendly wool dryer balls.  Hypoallergenic and reusable (lasts 1000 loads), these dryer balls help to eliminate wrinkles and make your clothes soft and fluffy.

Safavieh Bar Cart $397.79.  Stock your adult beverages in style with this beautiful chrome framed bar cart, making this an elegant addition to your home decor.  If alcoholic beverages aren’t your thing, this cart serves a multitude of other uses such as a plant holder, bathroom organizer, book shelf, bedside table or even a coffee bar.

Never Eat Alone And Other Secrets To Success One Relationship At A Time $17.  Master networker Keith Ferrazzi discusses the importance of building relationships with people to foster mutual respect and success.  Reaching out to others before there is a need, mastering social media, building your social currency and your brand are some of the key attributes of those who are successful and are covered in depth this must have book.

Not Getting Enough Sleep Can Affect You In More Ways Than You Think

In lifestyle on August 30, 2018 at 12:00 pm
bed with white bed sheet and pillowcase set

Photo by William Sun on Pexels.com

Remember back in the day when you had to take a nap in pre-school?  Or when your mom made you take a nap – in broad daylight?  Being forced to take a nap or go to bed for the night was the worst thing your young mind could imagine.  All you could think about was what you thought you were going to miss by being sleep.

As adults, although no one is forcing you to go to sleep, there is still a FOMO mentality.  There is so much to do, so much to see and so many places to be that it’s a wonder we get any sleep at all.  Demanding work and school schedules, family responsibilities, full social calendars and entrepreneurial pursuits keep us going for hours, sometimes days on end.  Add to that the “#grinding” mindset or the “sleep when you are dead” mentality as well as our accessibility to technology and non stop social media engagement, a good night’s rest isn’t always at the top of our list of priorities.

Add to that our societal conditioning to think that sleeping is for lazy people which can make one feel like a loser for needing some downtime.  The truth of the matter is that sleep is very healthy.  Deep, restorative sleep heals, restores, and resets.  It keeps us looking beautiful and reduces accident risk and brain fog.  Conversely, not getting enough sleep can have negative effects on our health.  Sleep deprivation affects melatonin production, and can cause weight gain and increase the risk for chronic diseases.

The Relationship Between Sleep Deprivation And Melatonin Production.

Melatonin is a hormone that is made in the pineal gland and controls your sleep and wake cycles.  Production begins to rise mid to late evening after sunset and tells your body that it is night time.  Melatonin also controls other hormones in the body as well as the circadium rhythm which is your internal body clock.  Remaining awake well into the late hours of the night/early morning with regular lighting and the blue light from cell phones and computer screens interfere with melatonin secretion and makes the body think it’s still daylight  which can cause you to have trouble sleeping.

The Cycle Of Sleep Deprivation And Weight Gain.

Everyone has had those days of being tired at work.  For whatever reason, your eyelids are heavy and you are desperate to stay awake.  What do you do when this happens?  You reach for soda, coffee, or some other sugary snack – anything to help you make it through your day.  But wait – it doesn’t stop there.  You get off work, skip that soulcycle class, grab some take out and go home to get some other things done. You don’t go to bed until after midnight, only to get up at 5 or 6 am to do it all over again, thus repeating this sleep(less) and poor eating pattern for days on end.

When you are fatigued, you not only have less physical activity but you make poor food choices.  In fact, studies have found that “a sleepy brain not only responds more strongly to junk food, but also has less ability to rein that impulse in” (1).  How does this relate to weight gain?  The simple explanation is that sleep deprivation affects your metabolism which becomes slower when you don’t get enough sleep.  Everyone knows that low metabolism equals weight gain.  The not so simple explanation:  during sleep, our bodies secrete hormones to regulate things like appetite and glucose.  Three main types of hormones become affected when you don’t get enough rest:  ghrelin, leptin and cortisol.  Grehlin is the hormone that tells you when to eat and when you are sleepy, you produce more ghrelin.  Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating and when you are tired, you have less leptin.  More ghrelin + less leptin equals more weight (2).  Lack of sleep also raises the stress hormone cortisol which increases your appetite as well as belly fat.  Cortisol is not all bad.  In fact it is necessary but in adequate levels and not before bed.  Sleep deprivation and stress cause cortisol to be secreted in large amounts and doesn’t have the opportunity to decrease.  This also leads to insulin resistance. (3).

The Relationship Between Sleep Deprivation And Chronic Disease.

Chronic diseases are increasing because of numerous lifestyle factors, including poor sleep.  Some of these diseases include:

  • Diabetes.  Remember insulin?  It’s the hormone that regulates glucose processing and promotes fat storage.  Fat storage leads to weight gain which is a risk factor for diabetes.  Glucose is the carb that cells use for fuel and when you get less sleep, you process glucose more slowly.
  • High Blood Pressure/Heart Disease.  Less sleep can cause more stress which can elevate blood pressure to unsafe levels.
  • Low Immunity.  Chronic fatigue can negatively impact the immune system.  When you have compromised immunity, it can affect your ability to fight off infections (4).

Here are 6 things you can do tonight get better sleep:

  • Be Consistent With Your Sleep Schedule.  Go to sleep and wake up the same time every day, even on the weekends.  This can be especially difficult for those who are shift workers, flight attendants, those who travel for work and even new parents.  The most important thing is to be purposeful and strategic about your sleep schedule and set boundaries with those around you to ensure you get the 7-8 hours of rest that you need.
  • Keep It Cool.  We all know how difficult it is to fall asleep or stay asleep when you are hot.  Be sure to lower the temperature before bed to help you remain comfortable.
  • Power Down/Unplug Before Bed.  Surfing the internet, texting and scrolling through social media can make you anxious and keep you awake instead of putting you in a relaxed state before bed, thus affecting your sleep.  Put your phone on silent and begin to power down an hour or so before bed.  Consider reading or meditating during this time.
  • Consider Using White Noise.  The gentle hum of the air conditioner or the steady sound of rain outside can lull you into a deep sleep.  Don’t have access to a clothes dryer or rain is not in the forecast?  Download a white noise app like White Noise Deep Sleep which can help you feel calm and block out unwanted noises.
  • Keep Your Sleep Space Tidy.  Do you ever feel anxious when you have items scattered throughout your room?  Clearing your space can help to clear your mind which can lead to you being able to fall asleep easier, faster and deeper.
  • Avoid Caffeine for obvious reasons.

What are some ways you ensure you get a good night’s sleep?  Share your ideas below.

Sources:

(1) How sleep loss adds to weight gain.  https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/06/how-sleep-loss-adds-to-weight-gain/

(2) Sleep and weight gain    https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/lack-of-sleep-weight-gain#2

(3)  The stress, Cortisol and weight gain connection  https://www.restartmed.com/cortisol-and-weight-gain/

(4) Sleep and disease risk  http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/consequences/sleep-and-disease-risk

 

Beyond The Strands: Why You Need To Add A Scalp Exfoliator To Your Hair Care Routine

In hair on August 27, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Think your regular shampoo and conditioner is enough?  Think again.  Scalp exfoliation is a thing and should be a regular part of your hair care routine.

You might be someone who considers themselves to have a good hair care routine and on a consistent basis you shampoo, condition, treat, moisturize, style and repeat.  You may also get regular trims (and color) as well.  While you may have this effective routine on lock, you find that there are times when your routine and styling products aren’t giving you results like before.  Your hair seems unresponsive:  more dry, less shiny, and your scalp flakier than usual.  Not liking what you see, you start searching for possible solutions and come to the conclusion that maybe you just need new shampoo and conditioner or a new hair oil or serum.  Sure, that may solve the problem temporarily but did you ever stop to consider that what you need is a scalp exfoliator?

When you think about it, a scalp exfoliator serves the same purpose as one that you would use for your face and body.  And like our face and body which becomes dry, flaky, dull, and congested with product buildup, dirt and debris, the same thing happens to our scalp.  When that happens, our beloved hair products don’t work as effectively.  Also, with more frequent use of dry shampoo and co-washing which can lead to scalp build up, it makes even more sense to exfoliate.  Healthy hair follicles mean healthy hair and when done regular basis, scalp exfoliation provides much needed stimulation which encourages cell turnover, increased blood flow, minerals, nutrients and oxygen – all the things your scalp needs to promote healthy hair growth.  Removing product build up on the scalp will also allow treatments and products can penetrate the scalp to do their job, thus making your hair look, feel, and perform better.

Try one of these exfoliating masks, scrubs, shampoos or tools once a week and be sure to use extra care is you have a sensitive scalp.

Kiehls Deep Micro-Exfoliating Scalp Treatment $20.00

IGK Low Key Cleansing Walnut Scrub $36

Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub With Sea Salt $53

Phillip Kinglsey Exfoliating Scalp Mask $30

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo $42

L’oreal Ever Fresh Micro-Exfoliating Scrub $9.99

Aveda Pramasana Exfoliating Scalp Brush $20

On My Radar: Weekly Beauty, Fashion and Lifestyle Roundup

In beauty, fashion, lifestyle on August 24, 2018 at 12:00 pm

On My Radar is a roundup of all the things I love, discovered, and that have piqued my interest this week that you should know about.

This week it’s all about products that keep your skin glowing, invisible bust coverage that can possibly solve your low cut/strapless clothing dilemma, a stylish way to drink on the go, and a more efficient way to get your workout on.

Nars Illuminating Loose Powder $28.  An ethereal glow is at your fingertips with Nars Illuminating Loose Powder.  Created in the cult classic, universally flattering shade Orgasm, this powder is soft, silky and blendable.  Apply directly to wherever you want to glow or mix into your favorite lotion, body butter or foundation.

Caudalie Vinopure Purifying Toner $28.  This purifying toner is great for those with normal, sensitive, combination and oily skin.  Natural salicylic acid helps to control oil, reduce breakouts and minimize the appearance of pores.  Grape seed polyphenols provide antioxidant protection while grape water and rose water calm and soothe the skin, leaving it radiant, smooth and refreshed.

Brassybra $35.  Goodbye duct tape and hello to breast tape that actually works – even if you have a larger bust line.  Brassybra, a disposable adhesive breast tape, provides invisible support where and when it matters the most.  Made with Second Skin Technology which is a 97% cotton based material with elastane, Brassybra is like a second skin that promises to be invisible, breathable and waterproof – yes you can even go swimming!  Even more exciting is that unlike other products which stop at a D cup, Brassybra goes up to G(DDDD).

Soma Brew Bottle $40.  Coffee and Tea lovers rejoice!  Take your pour over coffee, cold brew or loose leaf tea on the go in this sleek, beautifully designed bottle.  The Soma Brew Bottle is as durable as it is beautiful with a leak proof flip lid, stainless steel filter and double walled borosilicate glass, all to keep your beverage contained, hot and delicious.

Trtl Travel Pillow $29.99.  Sleep comfortably while traveling and say goodbye to the nodding head that often comes with sleeping in an upright position.  This ergonomically correct travel pillow has internal ribs that provide head and neck support, is smaller than traditional u-shaped travel pillows and is machine washable.

Powerblock Sport 24 Dumbbells $159.  Be done with multiple pairs of dumbbells in your home gym with the Powerblock Sport.  The best in downsizing and multi-tasking, these dumbbells come in multiple weight ranges that are adjustable anywhere between 3-90 pounds per hand.

8 Eye Creams To Help You Look Brighter, Smoother, and More Awake

In skincare on August 22, 2018 at 12:00 pm

It’s no secret that everyone wants to look younger and more awake, especially when it comes to the under eye area.  Lots of time and money is spent looking for makeup, concealer in particular, to hide a multitude of concerns such as lack of sleep, puffiness, fine lines, wrinkles, and darkness.  The secret is not always in the makeup but in your skin care routine in the form of an eye cream.

If you use some form of moisturizer for your face, you might be the type to use that same product under your eye, if you even pay attention to that area.  The truth is, the skin around your eyes is the most delicate and sensitive of all the areas of your face (think tissue paper vs construction paper) so what you use should be specifically formulated for that area.  The under eye is also thinner and has no oil glands to replenish the delicate under eye skin so it is prone to show the first signs of aging.  Other contributing factors to under eye aging include improper removal of eye make up, rubbing, squinting and other environmental aggressors.  A good eye cream and healthy life style choices can help.

When shopping for an eye cream, look for those formulas that contain peptides, hyaluronic acid, retinoids, anti oxidants and optical diffusers.  Your eye cream should have a consistency you like, preferably be fragrance free (avoids invitation) and have good absorption.  Formulas that come in pumps are best as there is less exposure to air and light which degrades the product.  If the product does come in a jar, be sure to use clean hands or spatula to apply product.

SkinCeuticals Eye Balm With Triple Age Defense $82.  This rich emollient cream is great for those with mature or aging skin around the eyes.  Contains vitamin A & E and helps with collagen production, lipid replacement, and hydration.  Dimethicone helps to smooths under eye skin and makes for smoother concealer application.

First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy AM. Gel Cream $36.  This cooling eye cream is perfect for revitalizing eyes first thing in the morning.  It addresses the concerns of firming and hydration and also targets the upper eyelid.  Key ingredients include red algae for hydration and anti-aging as well as peptides for plumping.

Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum $60.  This powerhouse eye serum addresses multiple concerns of the eye area.  Powerhouse ingredients of copper and black tea ferment create a smoother, radiant appearance under the eye while the Shaba Complex of niacinamide and edelweiss stem cells diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  COQ10 provides anti-oxidant protection.

PCA Skin Ideal Complex Restorative Eye Cream $87.  Target multiple signs of eye aging with this scientifically backed eye cream.  Optical diffusers instantly brighten while peptides help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and niacinamide helps with tone and strength of the skin.

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum $88.  This fast absorbing formula contains 3 forms of retinol which helps to stimulate collagen production and strengthens the eye area, creating a firmer, more toned look to the eye area.  Marine kelp extract brightens the eye area.

Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream $18.  Lightweight and fast absorbing, this eye cream contains the key ingredient of hyaluronic acid which is highly effective at moisturizing and smoothing.  Aloe vera helps to calm and sooth the delicate eye area, making this eye cream perfect for daily use and prep for concealer application.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Eye Gel-Cream $19.99.  A gel-cream hybrid, this eye cream is cooling, hydrating and fragrance free.  Key ingredient hyaluronic acid boosts moisture and locks it in all day.  It also smooths the skin under the eye without leaving an oily residue behind.

Dr Brandt No More Baggage Eye De-puffing Gel $42.  Banish the look of puffy, tired, aging looking eyes with this advanced de-puffing eye gel.  Quick acting, apply this in the morning to smooth and depuff.  The apricot color provides brightening to help you look well rested, caffeine helps to tighten and the peptides will plump and hydrate.