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These Morning Hacks Will Help You Start Your Day

In lifestyle, productivity on February 22, 2021 at 8:56 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 is traumatizing.  There many factors that can 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, 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.  If a traditional blaring alarm is too aggressive and anxiety inducing first thing in the morning, try music. Choose 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 to another song.

Give yourself some time.  Make sure you give yourself a few minutes before jumping out of bed so you will have time to time to do things like meditate, pray or review your schedule.  Nothing is worse than waiting until the last minute to wake up 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 lights a few minutes before you have to get up so you don’t have to walk through a dark house to turn on lights.

Eat a delicious breakfast.  Take the time to have a wholesome breakfast before heading out.  Doing so helps you ease into your day, puts you in a good mood, helps your concentration and improves 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 the next morning to shower and put them on.  What is it about new underwear that makes one feel powerful and ready to take on the world?

Get a morning exercise routine.  It might be stretching, yoga, or a HIIT workout which can 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 to get your blood flowing, burn some calories and energize yourself.

Prep 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 during your morning.

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 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 and rushing to get gas 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?

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6 Unproductive Habits To Break Right Now

In lifestyle, productivity on February 19, 2021 at 8:30 am

We all want to experience productivity and growth in various areas of our lives. But sometimes there are things that we do (or don’t do) that blocks us from experiencing the growth that we desire. You can read about all of the productivity hacks you want but if you are unaware or unwilling to make some behavior adjustments, you won’t be able to enjoy the advancement you desire. Continue reading to see if you are unknowingly doing some of the growth saboteurs below.

Overspending.

We’ve all been there. You promise yourself that you are going to save more money – that you are going to stop spending so much money on whatever it is you like to spend on. Yet you find yourself yet again scrolling through your favorite shopping sites only to find yourself making yet another purchase. You justify your purchase because there was a 40% off sale. So of course you needed to make a move. But think of it this way – that 40% off of $600 is $240 off. Cool – because it’s nice to get good deal. Now consider looking at the same purchase this way: you still spent $360 that could have helped you with your savings goal. Consider creating a saving/spending plan and creating a wish list for items you want. If it’s not on the list, reconsider the purchase – at least until you reach your goal.

Staying In Situations That No Longer Serve You.

This might be you and you don’t even realize it. When you do come to the realization that you are going no where fast, it can sometimes be hard to break free. If you have invested a lot of time and energy into something that you aren’t even growing from, you may even feel guilty for wanting something different. Whether it’s a job or relationship (romantic or otherwise) it is important to periodically re-evaluate where you stand. Take inventory of your skill set and career goals. Do they line up with your current work situation. In relationships, do you feel valued and affirmed? In either case, if things are not lining up, you may need to consider moving on.

Not Getting Enough Rest.

Living in what can be considered a hustle culture, it can be hard to slow down. As an adult there is so much that needs to be done in a short amount of time. Going to sleep can seem like the lazy way out. An escapist route. This can sometimes be the case but regardless it is very important to prioritize rest. Getting enough rest can actually make you more productive, energetic and alert. When that’s the case, you can continue doing all of the things you need to get done. Heck, take an intentional day of doing nothing. Schedule it. It works wonders for the psyche.

Not Saying No.

Do you find yourself saying yes to things you aren’t remotely interested in just to be nice. Do you struggle with saying no to things that you know will waste your time or that don’t line up with your core values? Stop. Now. You don’t owe anyone anything. Saying no is liberating and doing so gets easier the more you do it.

Not Writing Things Down.

Although we live in an electronic driven world and continue to move to a paperless society, there is still value in writing things down. Writing down something you need to remember creates a connection to the very thing you need to do. It also captures your attention in the moment and it can help to clear your mind. You also process things better when you write them down.

Waiting On Others.

How often do you wait on other people to do something like go to a museum or take on a new activity? And how often do you not do something you want to do because you circle of friends is unavailable or not interested. While it’s fun to do things in a group setting, waiting for others to be on the same page as you for anything can rob you of the experiences and growth you deserve to partake in.

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8 Self Care Practices To Incorporate Into Your Life Now

In Health, lifestyle on February 17, 2021 at 8:30 am
Image Courtesy of Madison Inouye via Pexels

The term self care and all that is associated with it may be a trendy buzzword for some but it is becoming a necessary way of life for others. Many people are beginning to see the importance of intentionally slowing down, re-evaluating their lives, and taking inventory of their mental health and well-being and doing something about it.

When you hear the term self care, what comes to mind? Getting your hair and nails done?  Going to your favorite restaurant? Retail therapy?  There isn’t a right or wrong answer per se as self care can mean different things to different people. Activities such as the one’s previously mentioned can be considered self-care because they encourage one to take time for themselves and can even add some much needed fun to one’s day. However, these activities may only address the physical or surface needs and desires of an individual and not deal with the deeper emotional needs and concerns that one may have. A broader definition or vision of self care can also mean getting therapy, meditating, spending time with friends or reading a good book

What Exactly Is Self Care?

First, we should re-frame our mind around self care, what it is and who it is for.  Self care is for everyone and there are many ways to do it.  Because it can still be considered trendy, it’s easy for it’s importance to get lost in the sea of swoon-worthy Instagram posts of beautifully arranged bath photos (nothing wrong with Instagram and beautiful bath photos).  With that said, think of self care as something you do frequently and intentionally to positively impact your mental, emotional and physical being.  It’s about creating health and wellness habits that will sustain you in the long run.  It’s not a once in a while occurrence – it’s about tiny habits that you create that lead to living a better life, thus empowering and energizing you.

But I Don’t Have Time.

This is a common statement I hear from many people – women in particular.  Women have been conditioned from an early age that putting themselves first is selfish.  It is your job to take care of everyone else because that is what a “good” woman does but this is not entirely true. Whatever the case, it is important to make time specifically for yourself and not put it on the back burner until you have some sort of crisis such as a health scare or mental breakdown because you have been running on all cylinders.  You know when you get on a plane and before takeoff they tell you to that in the event of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first before you help those around you with their oxygen masks?  It’s the same thing in your daily life – take care of yourself first and you will be able to take better care of everyone and everything else in your life.

Benefits Of Self Care.

There are many benefits of getting into the habit of taking care of yourself such as the following:

  • Focus.  You will be more focused and in tune to your needs when you take regular time for yourself.  You will also be better able to reflect on things that need to get done in your personal, professional and family life.
  • Better Self-Worth.  Having a healthy relationship with yourself will boost your confidence and self esteem.  You will be able to address those areas in your life that are not at your personal standard so you can make improvements.  You will also be empowered to set boundaries with yourself and others.
  • Stress Reduction.  Being able to step away to reduce stress and anxiety is a great way to lower your risk for things like heart disease and snapping on family, friends, co-workers.
  • Productivity. Self care can help you set better priorities for yourself so you know what’s important such as doctor appointments, visiting loved ones and even writing that book or taking that class you’ve always wanted to take.

Activities that you can include in your self care practice:

The Art of Saying No.  Saying no can be the most loving thing that you can do for yourself.  When you know your limitations, whether it be emotional, professional, relational or financial, saying no can prevent things from interfering with your well-being.  It may be a hard no which is final (like “no and don’t ask me that again”) or it can be a soft no, (like “not right now” or “I want to be sure that I am able to give you my undivided attention, how is Tuesday evening”)  Only you will know what kind of “no” to give.

Stop Apologizing.  Somewhat related to saying “no”, don’t feel you need to apologize for the decisions you make regarding the need to take care of yourself or anything else in your life.

Be Gentle With Yourself.  Sometimes the thing we say to and about ourselves is not very kind.  Would you speak to others the way you speak to yourself?  Probably not.  Treat yourself like your own best friend.  When you make mistakes or miss the mark, don’t berate yourself.  By making time for yourself, you can examine those areas of yourself and your life that need improvement so you will have a sense of accomplishment and feel good about yourself.

Watch Your Mouth.  Even more important, what are you thinking?  Because what you think shapes what you say.  Your words have creative power and become your reality.  You tend to nurture your reality with words and behaviors and that is what grows in your life – whatever it is.  So speak only the things you want to be true over your life.

Become Still/Incorporate Quiet Time.  Even when you are busy, you need to have quiet time.  As a matter of fact, that is when it is most important.  You might be having the craziest work day ever or you may have to care for rambunctious children and you probably only have 5 minutes to yourself.  Use them to get quiet and re-center yourself.  Quiet time is also the perfect time to pray and meditate.

Plan Time Away.  Be intentional about taking time off for vacation.  Nothing re-energizes you more than getting away from your regular grind and surroundings.  If you dont have the resources of time or money to go far away, do something local like getting a nice hotel room in the city for the weekend and act like a tourist.  Something else you can do is switch up your daily routine. This might mean taking a different route to work or taking the morning off. Doing so keeps your brain healthy by strengthening your neural pathways and this will also help you discover new things.

Set Boundaries/Expectations.  Make it a common practice to let people know what you need and expect from them so that you never feel like you are being taken advantage of.  For example, if you don’t want people calling or texting you after a certain time, let them know instead of being mad about it.  If you don’t want someone borrowing your favorite scarf – ever, say so.  If it angers you when people don’t show up on time, say so.  Furthermore, don’t worry about managing their emotions around said boundaries and expectations.

Be Mindful Of Who You Spend Time With. The truth of the matter is that some people are energy vampires and can be quite negative.  If you feel depleted instead of empowered when in the company of certain people, it may be time to re-evaluate the company you keep.

Whatever practices you choose to incorporate into your life, be intentional and consistent.  These are practices that may take time to develop and you may have to rearrange some things in your current daily practices for these things to become more permanent in your life.

What self care practice resonated with you?  Do you have some self care practices that not mentioned above that you utilize on a regular basis?  Please share your thoughts below.

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These 10 Wardrobe Essentials Never Go Out Of Style

In fashion, style on February 12, 2021 at 8:30 am

Fashion makes the world go around and every season we are bombarded (delightfully so) with the hottest trends for the upcoming season. It’s only natural to want to go shopping to fill your closet with more clothes for maximum style options. There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach because it’s always nice to have something new to wear. However, it’s important to be mindful of and continuously edit what’s already in your closet. This will help you to determine what you already have, what fits and what is appropriate for various occasions. Continuously editing your wardrobe prevents you from endlessly shopping for items you may not need. Needless items can lead to having a closet full of nothing.

Trends are not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, adding a few trendy pieces can add the pop your wardrobe needs. They are fun, but like a vapor, they exist for but a moment. And while certain trends can re-emerge, it’s important to build a wardrobe out of essential foundation pieces that never go out of style. If you find yourself cleaning out your closet, these are items that you will want to keep. Conversely, if you don’t have these items, consider investing in these before you purchase more trendy items. The following 10 items are the essential wardrobe pieces for every closet.

Blazers. Once reserved for corporate settings, blazers have become a key style piece that performs many wardrobe functions. They can be worn with a multitude of items like denim, skirts, dresses, and shorts. If a blazer is an “appropriate” length, it can also be worn as a dress. Blazers can also serve as outer wear and depending on the season, they can be worn throughout the year and for various occasions. Get creative with your blazers by adding belts, lapel pins and even switching out the buttons. Roll or push up the sleeves and add arm cuffs for a modern, edgy vibe.

Slip Dresses And A-line Skirts. The versatility of two these pieces is endless. No longer reserved for work or dressing up, slip dresses and a-line skirts work with multiple wardrobe pieces and most body types. Go from work to play by pairing with blazers, t-shirts and cute sweatshirts. Wear any type of footwear from pumps to boots to sneakers. Depending on the fabric, you may even be able to finesse these two pieces at a semi-formal event. Hem sizes may vary per season so the best way to approach the “appropriate” length is to wear works best for your figure and your lifestyle.

White Button Down And White T-shirt. You can never go wrong with a white shirt of any type. Button downs may not be your style but use your imagination and let your sense of style lead you to the type of white blouse and white t-shirt staple to add to your wardrobe. Wear it with anything any time of year. These types of shirts also make excellent layering pieces.

Denim. Denim has become the main go to piece in everyone’s wardrobe. Once reserved for activities such as working and playing in the yard, denim is acceptable for many events and occasions. Skinny jeans are losing a bit of steam but with the high rise and straight leg options, you will always look polished. Pair with a sequin shirt and strappy sandals or a button down and statement jewelry with loafers for maximum style impact.

Tote Bag. Large enough to carry everything and stylish enough to elevate any outfit, totes are a staple that everyone on the go needs. Opt for something that is practical but still stylish.

Clutch. Once considered a go to bag for evening and special occasions, clutches are now worn any time of day. For those who are looking to streamline or downsize their carry-all, the clutch is a perfect solution. With varying fabrics and designs, clutches can go with anything

Sneakers And Loafers. More than an option for comfort, these two styles of footwear expand the versatility of your wardrobe. They also can be stylish alternatives for when your feet have grown tired of your boots and stilettos.

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9 Clear Skin MVP’s To Help Banish Acne

In beauty, skincare on February 10, 2021 at 8:30 am
Sora Shimazaki via Pexels

Having a acne is never fun.  Whether it is occasional or a regular occurrence, acne is inconvenient and annoying. And yes, acne is terrible when you are an awkward teenager but what about when you are an 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. While some people may think focusing on physical appearance is vain and self centered, those struggling with adult acne know better.  Oftentimes, there is an embarrassment and isolation as well as physical and emotional scarring that is overlooked.

To cope, some adult acne sufferers may chalk it up to breakouts being their lot in life.  Depending on the severity, some may suffer depression and find it difficult to leave the house while others will spend time and money undergoing treatment.  The latter is always an option in treating acne but there are also over the counter (OTC) options that can help banish acne. When going with OTC options, it’s important to know about the various ingredients and what they do for the skin. As with any skin care routine and treatment, if you want to see results, you have to be consistent. Continue reading to get the 411 on these popular acne fighting ingredients.

Niacinamide. Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide has multiple skin benefits such as helping with the appearance of enlarged pores, fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps to fight whiteheads and blackheads, brightens the skin and helps to reduce redness. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%.

Glycolic Acid. This popular AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) which is derived from sugar cane is the master at exfoliation and skin clearing. Having the smallest molecule, it is able to penetrate deeper into the skin to help clear up acne, dullness, scarring, fine lines and wrinkles to reveal smoother, brighter skin. Rodial Glycolic Booster Drops.

Salicylic Acid.  This BHA (beta hydroxy acid), salicylic acid is an anti-inflammatory ingredient 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 “glue” that holds the sticky cells together.  Although salicylic acid is found in most acne treatments, it does not kill bacteria.  Zitsticka Killa Kit.

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.

Sulfur.  Another ingredient that kills the bacteria that causes acne, sulfur can be used to treat mild cases.  It is keratolyic – meaning it dries the skin and makes the epidermis thinner.  Sulfur helps to reduce oil and has anti-microbial properties and helps diminish whiteheads and blackheads. Clearogen Sensitive Skin Acne Lotion.

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.

Hyaluronic Acid. Usually when people have acne, their skin might be more oily than dry. And those with oily skin may skip the hydration piece of their skin care routine because they feel they don’t need it. This could not be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, not moisturizing your skin can leave your skin unbalanced and unprotected – think dryness and bacteria. This can lead to more breakouts. Technically, hyaluronic acid is not an acne fighting ingredient but keep skin balanced which supports skin health and can lead to a reduction in acne. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel.

Kaolin Clay. This particular clay has multiple uses including cleansing the hair and teeth but is most popular for skin care. As one of the most gentle clays, kaolin is neutral in ph and is used for many cosmetic purposes. Not only does kaolin clay exfoliate the skin, it also draws out oil dirt and other impurities to help purify the skin. Although it works for all skin types, it is very mild and can work for dry and sensitive skin. Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Pore Refining Clay Mask.

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 anti-bacterial and helps to reduce the appearance of pores and active breakouts. Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Spot Treatment.

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5 Jewelry Trends To Watch For Spring/Summer 2021

In jewelry, style on February 5, 2021 at 8:30 am

Because any time is the right time to wear a sparkly trinket or two.

Aside from delicious food and beverages, nothing makes me more happy than sparkly, shiny bold jewelry. Lots of it. Stacks and stacks of it. All worn at the same time. My jewelry obsession began as a child where I would pile it on. I would play in it. Go to sleep in it. I would try to go to school with all of my trinkets but for some reason that wasn’t permissible. This lead to much misery. But I’m grown now and I wear as much jewelry as I want – whenever I want.

Whether your jewelry tastes supports a minimal aesthetic or you like to maximize your jewelry look, jewelry should makes you feel good. It can brighten your day and put extra pep in your step. It is a way to express your mood and it can help a rather mundane outfit come to life.

This season’s jewelry trends have come back around and run the spectrum of creativity, flaunts splashes of color for fun as well as updates some classics. You will also find varying lengths in necklaces and earrings as well as see a play on texture. Whatever type of jewelry collector you are, the jewelry trends for the upcoming spring and summer season has something for everyone to add to their collection.

Pearls. These are not your grandmother’s pearls. This classic piece of jewelry has upgraded with ornate designs, as well as various sizes of pearls and beads. If you have a traditional string of pearls that you don’t want to part with or that you haven’t worn in some time, layer with other necklaces in various metals and stones for a more contemporary look.

Eye Candy Los Angeles Stellina Earrings

Swarovski Magnetic Pave Crystal Imitation Pearl Scarab Cocktail Ring

Hammered Jewelry. Hammered jewelry takes center stage when it comes to jewelry finishes. It adds a bold, uniquely reflective look to pieces such as cuffs and earrings. To add dimension to your ring and bracelet stacks, considered mixing hammered and smooth textured jewelry to for a more interesting look.

Alexis Bittar Crumpled Triangle Hoop Earrings

Nest Gold Hammered Black Agate Ring

Statement Jewelry. Statement jewelry does just what it says – makes a statement. Not for the faint at heart or the weak, necklaces and bracelets resemble hardware in aesthetic and to some degree, weight. Earrings defy convention in length to graze the shoulder. Rest assured that all eyes and admiration will be on you.

Epifene Freja Chunky Vintage Inspired Bracelet

Nadri Chloe Statement Band Ring

Asymmetrical, Single And Mix-match Earrings. Now is the perfect time to pull out the mate to the earring you lost but refused to throw away. You can even mix up your sets to create new and interesting looks.

Faris Badoula Cultured Pearl & Green Amethyst Gemdrop Earrings

Orion Backdrop Slip-On

Colorful And Fruit Inspired Jewelry. Jewelry doesn’t have to be so stiff and serious. Some of the most fascinating jewelry creations of the season use bright bold colors, offbeat shapes and even fruit to brighten up your day.

Susana Alexandra Bronze Baby Hold On Ring

Bea Bongiasca Baby Vine Tendril Ring In Purple Enamel

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

In beauty, hair on February 3, 2021 at 8:30 am

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

Cottonbro via Pexels

You might consider yourself to be someone who has a good hair care routine. On a consistent basis you do all of the things that are necessary to have amazing hair: shampoo, condition, treat, moisturize, style, repeat.  You may also get regular trims (and color) as well. For the most part, your hair care routine serves you well but you may find that occasionally your routine, styling tools and products don’t yield the results you desire. Your hair may seem 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 need new shampoo and conditioner or a new hair oil or serum. That may help 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, itchy and unresponsive to our usual beauty products, 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 on a 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 to better penetrate the scalp to do their job, thus making your hair look, feel, and perform better.

Continue reading to discover an exfoliating treatment to add to your haircare routine:

Davines Solu Sea Salt Scrub Cleanser

Ouai Scalp And Body Scrub

Le Labo Scrub Shampoo

Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub With Sea Salt

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo

Grow Gorgeous Defense Detoxifying Scalp Scrub

L’oreal Ever Fresh Micro-Exfoliating Scrub

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9 Tips To Help You Reduce Bloating

In Health on February 1, 2021 at 8:30 am
Image Courtesy of Polina Zimmerman Via Pexels

Do you ever have those times that, no matter what you do, you feel bloated?  Bloating can happen to the best of us and can come from a number of factors such as over-indulging in your favorite foods (hello carbs), the onset of your menstrual cycle, eating too fast, irregular bowel movements and even stress. In most cases, bloating is temporary and making a few minor adjustments can help alleviate the discomfort you may be feeling. Continue reading for several tips that you can use to help you gain some relief from occasional bloating.

Warm Lemon Water. Upon waking up in the morning, have a glass of warm water with fresh squeezed lemon (or lime) in 8 ounces of water.  This wakes up the digestive system and will help move waste right along. To get the most juice out of your lemon/lime, put 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.  Read about the additional benefits of lemon water here.

Lower Your Sodium Intake. 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. Instead of reaching for salt to add more flavor to your food, consider experimenting with other herbs and 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 higher 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 and bloating.  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. 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 on a regular basis 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.

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These Are 5 Skin Care Ingredient Trends To Keep Your Eye On

In beauty, skincare on January 29, 2021 at 8:30 am
Image Courtesy of Cottonbro via Pexels

Every year a new skincare ingredient trend will pop up on our feeds prompting a full on investigation. Do we need it? Who else is using it? Where can we get it? Is it really that good? We jump on our laptops and phones to research said new ingredient trends to see what the tea is. After evaluating our current skincare needs and personal inventory, what usually comes next is a trip to our favorite beauty store or website for a purchase.

The following 5 skincare ingredients are no different to the investigative and purchasing process that we find ourselves in. Keep in mind that these ingredients have always been around however they are having their time in the spotlight and are getting more attention than before. Continue reading to find out what these ingredients are and if you need to add them to your skincare routine.

Niacinamide. Although glycolic will always have a place in many people’s heart and beauty cabinets (including mine), Niacinamide is piquing many beauty enthusiasts’ attention. A form of vitamin B3, niacinamide is known for many of it’s reparative and soothing properties. It is water soluble meaning it dissolves in water and is thus easily absorbed into the skin. It works for most skin types, partners well with other ingredients in your skincare such as AHA/BHA and vitamin C. Niacinamide can help with acne, discoloration and pores and can be used am and pm. It can also help with dehydration because it helps the skin to produce ceramides which is a lipid that guards against moisture loss.

Glossier Super Pure

Verso Hydration Serum

Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner

Skin Inc. Vitamin B3 Serum

Microbiome Skincare. Often referred to when discussing gut health, the microbiome (or skin flora) also relates to skin. What exactly is the microbiome? It is the community, environment or collection of mainly bacteria, viruses and fungi (microbes) that live on the skin. Now before you freak out from the mere thought of these organisms, please know that these are the good bacteria you want on your skin to keep it healthy. When your skin barrier becomes compromised, it can lead to a myriad of skin issues including acne, folliculitis, eczema, psoriasis and dandruff. Some things that can compromise the microbiome are over-exfoliation, medication, stripping the skin with things like extremely hot showers, as well as lifestyle. Microbiome skincare, which contains pre and pro biotics will help to restore and balance the skin when you need a little extra help.

Ren Perfect Canvas Clean Primer

Ellis Day Wild Resilience Active Phage Serum

Neogen Dermalogy Probiotics double Action Serum

107 Everyday Plump Hydro Cream

Dark Spot Correctors. Before you consider going under a laser, consider a dark spot corrector. Dark spot correctors are definitely not new however, more brands are including these types of product in their lineups. Consumers are also educating themselves on the products and ingredients that can help even out skintone. We all know that discoloration can occur after a breakout, injury or inflammation and can be annoying to look at. Dark spot correctors can help these issues go away. Correctors can take the form of a serum or a toner and can include ingredients such as kojic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid, azelic acid, niacinamide, and licorice root. To increase the long term effects of dark spot correction, be sure to use sunscreen and don’t pick at blemishes.

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

Ole Henriksen Glow 2OH Dark Spot Toner

Vitner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum

Faded Brightening & Clearing Gel

Retinol In Body Care. We know about the importance of a good skincare routine that should, on a basic level, include cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing and sunscreen. We also know about the multiple benefits of including retinol in said skincare for the face. But what about body care? Because why have amazing skin on your face but from the neck down you look like a wheathered oak tree? Retinol, which is the gold standard has been a mainstay in skin care products for decades. And, as of late, more products such as body wash, body lotions and serums are being created and spotlighted that contain retinol. It helps your skin to act and look younger and helps skin to produce collagen while helping with fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, pores and clarity. Now just imagine how amazing the skin on the rest of your body will look.

Thisworks Sleep Plus Dream Body Cream

Eve Lom Hand Retreat Hand Treatment

Advanced Clinicals Retinol Firming Cream

Paula’s Choice Retinol Skin Smoothing Body Treatment

Bakuchiol. Often touted as a natural, less irritating alternative to retinol, bakuchiol can yield similar results to retinol. Found in the seeds and leaves babchi plant (Psoralea Corylifolia), bakuchiol is central to ancient Ayurvedic practices and Chinese skincare. Bakuchiol is vegan and contains antioxidants and can help with discoloration, texture issues and free radical damage. It is more tolerated on various skin types and can be an alternative for pregnant women.

Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum

Acure Radically Rejuvenating Dual Phase Bakuchiol Serum

Innbeauty Project Slushy Serum Moisturizer Crush

Whish Beauty Botanical Primer With Bakuchiol

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Create The Perfect Work From Home Space

In lifestyle, productivity on January 27, 2021 at 8:30 am
Image Courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

For many, working from home has become more of the norm during these times. If this is true for you, then your living space has most likely become your workspace. And even if you work outside of your home, having a great space in your home where your can read and get other projects done is important. Creating these spaces doesn’t have to cost a ton or take a lot of time to create. In fact, creating beautiful and functional spaces that you enjoy is important and can improve productivity. I feel that when you have a beautiful space that you look forward to going to, you produce better work.

Image Courtesy of Kaboompics.com via Pexels

Think about how you want to feel when you walk into your home work space. Do you want it to feel like a hug? Do you prefer a minimal aesthetic? Do you want it to feel like an art gallery or like you just walked into an upscale hotel lobby? The choice is yours and remember you are free to switch things up with new decor whenever you feel like it.

Mackenzie Childs Queen Bee Square Pillow Cover & Insert

Adelaide Faux Fur Throw Blanket

Byredo Altar Candle

Vanligen Vase

Alto Tic-Tac-Toe Set

Setting Up Your Work Space

If you already have an actual home office, setting up and decorating might be easier for you in the sense that you don’t have to carve out a separate space to work in. If you don’t have extra space, no need to worry. With a little imagination and some key pieces, you can create a functional at home work environment that you love. For instance, you can utilize your kitchen or dining room table or get a small desk that doesn’t take up a lot of space. If possible, set up near a natural light source and of course you can always purchase decorative lighting that adds to the overall look of your work space. If your couch is the only option, consider using nice rolling storage carts and bins for your work and office supplies.

Iris Apfel Paper Weight

Spiral Twist Candles

The Hive Gilded Silverwood Table Lamp

6 Drawer Storage Chest

Quinn Lacquer Mini Desk

How To Be Productive While In Your Work Space

It is very easy to become distracted and involve yourself in non-work related activities while working from home. This makes it very important to minimize distractions. Start your day knowing what tasks you need to accomplish with a planner or notebook to block out tasks you need to complete. If you are easily distracted by every little sound, use noise canceling headphones. While working from your laptop, only keep the tabs open that you need to complete a specific task. Put your phone away or put it on do not disturb. Also, be sure to create specific blocks of time to start and end your day and eat lunch. Block out time for tasks like for phone calls and emails.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Sonos One SL

Papier Colourblock Notebook

Clever Fox Planner

You Are My Favorite Blush Pink Crown Pen Set

PHI Scissors

Jam Office & Desk Set

WFH Outfits

Even when you are at home, consider getting dressed and putting yourself together This is another way to create boundaries between work, play and relaxation. Doing this also fosters productivity. When working from home, I usually like to wear jeans and a sweater, or a slip dress and slides. Nordstrom Rack and Shein are two places where I like to get loungewear for when I’m not leaving the house or working from home.

HM Boyfriend Low Jeans

Madewell Donegal Jason Ex-Boyfriend Pullover

SKIMS Waffle Long Sleeve

SKIMS Waffle Jogger

Aerie Waffle Triangle Bralette

Dyanora Flat Slide

Aqua Two-Layer Coin Pendant Necklace

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