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6 Alternatives To Traditional Gift Giving

In gift giving, holiday, how to on December 22, 2018 at 11:12 am

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Time to wrap it up with these 6 alternative gift giving ideas.

It is literally three days away from Christmas and you are either still shopping, haven’t started yet or just feel a last minute urge to do something nice for somone.  You might think that time isn’t on your side at this point and leaving your house to shop is a frightening proposition.  Have no fear because you do have options in the form of gift giving alternatives. These are the types of gifts can be in the form of a service or donation that may only require just a few clicks from your laptop, tablet or cell phone.  What’s even better is the fact that these types of gifts reduce clutter and your carbon footprint because you won’t have to wrap it or deliver it to your recipient.

Continue reading for a short list on gift giving alternative ideas for the holiday season (or anytime) that will make you everyone’s favorite and earn you some well deserved bragging rights.

Gift A Service.  Perhaps you have heard someone who has children say they need an evening to themselves or that their home office could use some reorganization but they don’t have time.  You can gift a babysitting or home organization service yourself if you are skilled in that area or you can choose a reputable agency to do it for them.  The ideas are endless and can include massage, lawn care or personal shopping.

Gift A Fitness Pass/Membership.  This is of course if someone close to you has stated that they want to go to that fun Soul Cycle class they heard about or that cool kickboxing class at their local gym that they just haven’t gotten around to purchasing for themselves. Otherwise you may want steer clear of that as health and fitness can be a sensitive topic for some.

Gift Food Prep Service.  Again this might be something you gift yourself because you are skilled in this area AND the recipient has expressed an interest in your culinary expertise.  Otherwise, get them a gift certificate or take them to dinner at their favorite restaurant or one they have been wanting to try.  You can also choose to gift them with a food prep/delivery service such as Blue Apron, Hello Fresh or Thrive.  These are great ideas because with everyone’s busy schedule, grocery shopping and preparing meals can sometimes be exhausting.  With these types of services, everything the recipient needs will be delivered to their door with customized food options with great recipies that they can use over and over again.

Gift A Donation To A Favorite Charity Or Organization.  It always thoughtful and supportive to donate to a cause your loved one is passionate about.

Gift A Gift Card.  There are many different opinions about whether gift cards make great gifts however if you know that someone uses services such Amazon, iTunes or uber often, why not give a gift card for something you know they are going to use and appreciate?

Gift Education.  Gift an amount towards a course, conference or book someone has been talking about which can help them gain more knowledge or help their business or career.

Your gift giving options are endless and can include so many ideas such such as hosting a fundraiser to a local shelter or food bank, naming a star after someone, writing a thoughtful card to someone to encourage them, a recipe exchange and so much more.  Use your imagination and you are well on your way to giving a gift that special someone will remember.

10 Last Minute Holiday Gift Giving Ideas For The Holiday Season

In gift giving, how to, lifestyle on December 15, 2018 at 6:56 am

The pressure is on.  It’s the 11th hour and you still need to find that perfect holiday gift for the people on you list.

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Every year you find yourself in the same place: having promised yourself that you are going to complete your holiday shopping before December arrives only to find yourself just starting your shopping days before Christmas. Even if you are THAT person who starts shopping ahead of time, you might find that at the last minute you want to add a little something extra to someone’s list.  Whatever the case, retailers anticipate all types of holiday shoppers and have you covered with gift ideas that will make you appear to be a classy, thoughtful individual with amazing taste.

Continue reading to discover some last minute ideas that will make you everyone’s favorite and earn you some well deserved bragging rights.

Molton Brown London Jasmine & Sun Rose Exquisite Bathing Oil $65

Give the gift of making bath time a luxurious experience with this bath oil.  Made with rose, patchouli and Egyptian nigella, this exquisite bathing oil will leave skin soft and delicately fragranced.

Volupsa Edge Candle & Diffuser Gift Set in Japanese Plum Bloom$45

Inspired by Japanese paper making and plum bloom trees, this beautiful scalloped design of this candle/reed diffuser will beautify any living space.  The candle will give 50 hours of burn time and the diffuser will last 4-6 months.

Do One Thing Everyday That Inspires You:  A Creativity Journal $10

Inspire creativity with a journal that contains a years worth of inspirational prompts from authors, writers, dancers, chefs, teachers that will allow one to do some introspection and self discovery.

Cocktail Travel Kit $24

Enjoy your favorite cocktail anytime/anywhere – including flying the friendly skies with these TSA compliant cocktail travel kits.  Each kit contains the tools and ingredients needed to mix your perfect adult beverage.  Just ask for the hard stuff and mix.  Enough for two drinks for yourself or to share.

Winc Personalized Wine Subscription $13 and up

Perfect for those who love wine but don’t necessarily have the time or expertise to curate their own wine collection, this can be the perfect starter gift for wine enthusiasts.  For those who enjoy beverages such as whisky or gin, consider gifting a subscription to a whisky or gin club of the month or even a class where the recipient can take a cocktail making class.

Merlot Infused Coffee $20

The perfect end to a delicious meal and for wine and coffe enthusiasts.  If you are torn between another glass of wine or the comfort of a delicious cup of coffee, why not have both. Although this coffee is caffeinated, it does not contain any alcohol.  For serious coffee lovers, consider the Blue Bottle Coffee subscription that explores preferences of many coffee origins and blends, delivered monthly to the recipient’s door.

Spicy Box Of Awesome – Hot Sauce Gift Set $54.95

For those who like it hot, this wood crate contains small batches of spicy greatness that food and spice lovers dreams are made of.

Celine Tea Set For Two $38

Make someone’s morning or evening tea ritual a classy affair with these beautiful imported, stoneware gold accented tea cups.

Bouquet Bar Gift Boxes $49 and up

Master the art of exquisite gifting with these beautiful gift boxes filled with delicious treats and beautiful floral arrangements.  You can choose from a ready made selection of boxes or you can create the perfect personalized gift box for your recipient.

Tangram Smart Jump Rope $79.95

Perfect for the fitness fanatic in your life.  This techy jump rope allows you to do things like see your number of jumps mid air, unlock rewards and sync to many fitness apps.

9 Tips To Keep You Fit And Healthy Through Holiday

In fitness, Health, lifestyle on November 28, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Thanksgiving has come and gone.  Get back on track and don’t wait until the new year to stay healthy.


As we continue celebrating the holiday season with family, friends and lots of shopping, there is another activity that we look forward to participating in during this season:  eating delicious food.  And lots of it.  From family get togethers to work related festivities, there are plenty of opportunities to indulge in decadent, high calorie foods more than usual during this time of the year.

Many people enter this festive season with plans to consume and enjoy any food not nailed down.  For others, it can be met with trepidation – particularly if health and fitness is top of mind or if you have particular dietary goals and requirements that you need to stick to.  With that said, there is no need to approach the holidays with fear or apprehension when you have a plan.  Continue reading for 9 tips to help you stay fit and healthy through holiday.

Plan Ahead.  Meal prep ahead of time and/or keep healthy snacks with you to munch on when you feel hungry.  This is especially true in the workplace where there will most likely be all kinds of treats like cookies, cakes and candies.   While you don’t have to avoid these kinds of foods all together, be sure to include snacks that are nutrient dense to keep you fuller throughout the day.

Eat A Good Breakfast.  Eating a good breakfast will set the tone for the day by fueling your body with the nutrients it needs to power through the first part of your day.  In addition, a nutrient dense breakfast keeps you fuller longer and when you partner that with your meal prep, you have a better chance of staying focused and not fall into the temptation of over-indulging and binge eating.

Drink A Lot Of Water/Stay Hydrated.  We all know about the multitude of benefits to staying hydrated such as glowing skin, better regularity, and increased energy.  In addition, drinking a glass of water before a meal to help you feel fuller, thus reducing the desire to overeat.  Keep this in mind when you head out for holiday festivities.

Work Out In The Morning.  Getting a good workout in the morning can not only make you feel energized but it can also help set tone for therest of the day for better food behaviors throughout the day.  You also won’t have to worry about working out when you get home later in the day.

Eat Before You Party.  Eating something lightweight before you arrive at a party can help you focus and not over-indulge as you approach the table of holiday cheer.

Sign Up For Paid Classes With Expiration Dates.  Since you don’t like waisting money and you really do want to stay on track with your fitness routine, choose some classes that will expire soon so that you will make it a point to get to class.

You Can Always Work Out.  If working out in public is not your thing, take 10-15 minutes to get moving and create that mind/body connection.  You can do some body weight, plyometrics, or kettle bell swings.  Whatever you choose, remember that some time is better than no time.  For the more ambitious, sign up for a marathon or obstacle course with a few loved ones to get your fitness and bonding on at the same time.

Indulge For The Day Not The Season.  Take some of the pressure off by allowing yourself to go all out and eat what you want on certain days like Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve and stick to your regular eating plan all of the other days in between.

Get Enough Rest.  Getting enough rest can ensure you restore your mind, body and spirit during this hectic time of the year. It can also help guard against getting sick during these colder months of the year.

This list includes just some of the things you can do to stay fit and healthy during the holiday season.  Get creative and come of with ideas that you and your loved ones can incorporate into this season and your lifestyle in general.  Above all else, remember to be thankful, have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously.

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

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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 1:00 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