5 Easy Habits to Get Healthier Now

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Tongue scraping

This is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that Western medicine is beginning to acknowledge as productive to oral health. Did you know that a coating of residue (including toxins and yucky bacteria) on the tongue is what leads to bad breath? You may have learned to brush your tongue, but I have bad news for you. All that does is push the bacteria around. Tongue scraping eliminates it. Getting rid of the coating on the tongue also leads to greater sensitivity of the taste buds; meaning, your food will be tastier. Wouldn’t it be nice to be satisfied with less food? Less food = less unnecessary weight on the body. We all know this. The process of tongue scraping is so quick and simple, there’s really no excuse to not do it. You simply take each end of the tongue scraper in your hands, start at the back of the tongue, and add gentle pressure, scraping from back to front, rinsing in between. Repeat about 5 times. I’m telling you, your mouth will feel cleaner. You can buy a tongue scraper here.

 

 

Switch to Whole Foods

 

No, I don’t necessarily mean the grocery store. You don’t have to drive to another town to find a Whole Foods market. A whole food means a food that is in its complete form, with no additions. Ingredients: 1. An apple is a whole food. A carrot is a whole food. An almond is a whole food. I like what author Michael Pollan says: “eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” What he’s saying is, avoid stuff with a million ingredients. Actually, more than 5 ingredients and you’re going down a road leading to nothing good. If this is too difficult for you, at least start reading the Ingredients on your box o’ food, and avoid anything with the words “hydrogenated”, “palm oil”, “carrageenan”, “maltodextrin”, and “aspartame”. That’s a solid place to start.

 

 

Drink Organic, Fair Trade Coffee (ditch the K-cups)

 

If you’re like most Americans, you drink coffee. If you’re like me, you have a slight obsession that borders on unhealthy. Nevertheless, we’re not here to judge. Coffee is delicious. However, I encourage you to do the environment a favor and stop using the disposable K-cups in your Keurig. I’m not saying to throw out your Keurig…that would be wasteful. Instead, buy a couple reusable, refillable little cups. Buy a bag of high quality, organic coffee. You’ll find that the coffee will last a lot longer, you’ll save money, and you’ll feel good about helping the planet. You can buy some on Amazon here.

Better yet, get yourself a French press.  You’ll feel like a badass, and the coffee honestly does taste better.  I got this adorable one that I take to work with me – it’s enough for one cup (there are larger ones as well).  Check it out here.

 

Begin a Daily Gratitude Practice

 

Get a cute little journal. Find 5 minutes to yourself either in the early morning or before bed. Grab a cozy spot, a cup of tea, and light a candle. Create a sacred space, and get to writing. Write what you’re grateful for. If you’re having a difficult time and grasping at straws, start with something very basic and primal. “I’m grateful for shelter and warmth”, might be a nice a place to begin, particularly if you live in New England like me, where the winters are bitter cold. “I’m grateful that my body carries me through the day and moves me from place to place.” It might seem silly, but it has been shown that gratitude and joy are directly correlated. This is no coincidence. The more we acknowledge all that we have, the more satisfied and fulfilled we can feel.

 

Incorporate Yoga into your Life

 

If you’re a seasoned yoga, or know the basics, try to fit 30 minutes in a day. No need to go to a yoga class, or pop in a DVD. Just roll out your mat and flow through 10 sun salutations, surya namaskar A (see photo below for instructions). If you have no clue what I’m talking about, click the menu at the top of this website and go to “private yoga instruction”, and schedule a session with me (if you live in CT). Even if you don’t live nearby, feel free to email me and I’ll give you some personal recommendations. So, 10 sun salutations, followed by 10 dirgha breaths, followed by 10 minutes of nadi shodhana, and finally, 5 minutes of meditating on the breath.

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Sat Nam,

Steph xo

The Work of Your Life

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It’s no secret that I love to write.  Once in awhile, I take a stab at poetry…

The Work of Your Life

The work of your life is calling
It is up to you to answer
First, get quiet
Make space for stillness.
Unplug.
Be the seeker.
Find the fire within.
You may search inside
And find only coals sizzling
On the hearth of your spirit
But look closer, friend
Do you see the smoke
That still rises from the ashes
Of wounded dreams?
The fire awaits kindling;
Action and self-inquiry.
Fan the flames, friend
Overcome limitations
Set by your own inner critic.
Silence the voice
That beckons stagnation and mediocrity.
Stand on the platform
At the edge of insecurity, and
Dive into self-assured intention.
I say, dream on my friend
You may find that the work of your life
Has no end.

Skincare Haul

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You may know this already about me…but for those of you who don’t, I am OBSESSED with skincare.  This was more of a recent development, as I started noticing fine lines on my forehead, *gasp* and was determined to do something about it, as well as prevent future wrinklage (a technical term that describes aging – just kidding, I made it up).  I’m 26, and am kicking myself for not starting a skincare regimen sooner.  I was more focused on makeup, and covering up flaws.  That approach was all wrong!  A beautiful face starts with your skin, so treat it right!  Today I’m sharing with you some of my favorites, that deliver real results, and how to get them without breaking the bank.  I cannot stress enough how important skincare is – just trust me, it will save on Botox later in life!

As Shown in Photo, Starting from Left:

Josie Maran Argan Oil – The gates of Heaven opened and I heard angels sing when I started using this product.  Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  But this stuff saves my skin on a daily basis.  If you have dry skin, please try this.  I can’t speak for anyone with oily skin since I don’t have it, sorry!  First, you don’t need a lot of product for it to be effective.  Just a couple drops warmed between your fingers is perfect.  Second, it makes any dry patches on my face disappear instantly.  I used to get flaky areas, particularly around my nose, but the combination of an intense exfoliator (which I’ll get to next) and the Argan oil has made that problem a non-issue.  Yay!  Third, this is a multi-purpose product.  You can use it on your face, hands, body, cuticles, hair, anywhere really.  Fourth, and perhaps most notably, it softens fine lines and wrinkles like you wouldn’t believe.  When I apply this at night after cleansing and exfoliating, I wake up in the morning with a youthful glow and my forehead lines are noticeably diminished.  So, thank you Josie Maran.  You killed it with this product.

Peter Thomas Roth Firmx Peeling Gel and Exfoliant* – A mouthful of a name, but who cares if it works!  Peter Thomas Roth (or PTR, as I like to call him) is my new best friend.  By the way, he makes the most amazing CC cream, available through Sephora.  If I could afford to buy all his full-size products, I would, just because this product is so incredible.  When I first twisted the cap off and squeezed a bit into my hand, I was a admittedly confused, and thought, “Huh.  No visible specks of things to polish away dead skin.  It’s not gritty at all…how will this exfoliate?”  It just appeared to be a thick, opaque, viscous gel, almost like a cleanser.  Suddenly I felt a bit disappointed.  But I went ahead with the process.  It says to apply to clean, dry skin.  So after cleansing, I dried my face and applied the gel, using gentle, small circular motions.  After a few seconds of this, I started noticing tiny clumps forming.  I rinsed away the gel with warm water and dried my face.  WOW.  I couldn’t believe I was looking at my skin.  This stuff resurfaced my face, and didn’t leave it red or irritated.  My skin looked brand new.  Soft, supple, flawless.  I don’t know how or why this product works so well, as I’m not a scientist.  I just know it DOES, and that’s good enough for me.  I cannot describe the depth of my love and appreciation for this product.  My HG (Holy Grail) exfoliator, for certain.  

*A note on exfoliants – These are immensely important for your skin.  Do yourself a favor and take the time to exfoliate.  If you have a layer of dead skin on your face (and you probably don’t even know about it, like I didn’t), how are all those other lovely creams, serums, and anti-aging products going to penetrate your skin to work their magic?  Think about it.  It makes sense.

 

Ole Henriksen UltimateLift Eye Gel –  I’ve been trying different eye products since I’m starting to see fine lines under my eyes as well – which of course, will not be tolerated!  Ole products have always done right by me, and this product is no exception.  I do feel it tighten and lift my under eye area…and I like the fact that you can also use it all the way around your eye, on your eyelid and extending up to the browbone.  It’s very cooling and soothing, which is a bonus since many anti-aging products tend to sting or tingle a little.  Plus, this little container will last a wicked long time.  (Sorry about the “wicked”, it’s a New England thing).  A dab will do ya 😉

GLAMGLOW Supermud Clearing Treatment –  There’s something really fun and luxurious about masks – especially mud masks.  I love having the feeling of an at-home facial.  Cue the soft candlelight, draw a bubblebath, and enjoy.  Masks make me feel like I’m really taking care of myself and treating myself to something special.  Hah!  Maybe that’s why it’s called a “treatment”.  This product does exactly what it says -it clears your face.  As the mask dries, you can see the outline of your pores, which means the mask is really getting in there to penetrate and deep-clean.  It’s kind of gross, but necessary.  When all is said and done, and you towel the mask away, what’s revealed is truly glorious.  I feel refreshed and gorgeous.  Thumbs up Glamglow!

Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash – Last, but certainly not least, we arrive at my HG cleanser.  I’ve used many cleansers in my past depending on what I needed.  When I was prone to breaking out, I used cleansers with salicylic acid.  Now that my skin is maturing and I don’t have that same concern, it’s more about just getting the day off my face – meaning makeup and environmental pollutants.  And of course it’s important to prep your skin properly for any treatments and moisturizers you may be following up with.  I adore a good foaming face wash.  That’s what this is.  It dispenses as more of a cream consistency, but mixed with water and some circular motions, it truly becomes a frothy delight.  It smells divine, like eucalyptus and mint, and so I believe that I also get some aromatherapy benefits from it.  I find the scent uplifting and stress-relieving.  It takes off eye makeup expertly, quickly, and without a ton of effort or rubbing, which can irritate the eyes.  Now that I’ve found this cleanser, I can’t live without it.

Available through Sephora:  If you’re on a budget, never fear!  You can try all these products at an affordable price with Sephora’s Skin Bender and Skin Cleanse kits ($45 and $42, respectively).  This is an amazing value, and they come in cute, versatile cosmetic bags. 

Find them here:

http://www.sephora.com/product/productDetail.jsp?keyword=skin%20bender&skuId=1578988&productId=P384803&_requestid=33601

Hope you enjoy!

xo

Steph

5 Ways to Love Yourself Today

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1. Stop comparing yourself to others.

You are uniquely you for a reason….God makes no mistakes.  Remember this truth everyday.

 2.  Find your beauty.

Look at yourself in the mirror without judgment.  Shift your experience to one of love, and take note of the things you like, even if it’s as seemingly insignificant as thinking your ears are cute, or noticing the beauty of a birthmark.

3.  Indulge…without guilt!

Have a piece of your favorite, rich dark chocolate (or whatever you LOVE, but are currently depriving yourself of).  Take a moment to yourself, without distraction, to really fully enjoy the taste.  Don’t look at the calorie count.

4.  Compliment another woman.

Too often, womens’ insecurities lead to jealousy of one another.  Instead, be a leader and choose to lift your fellow females up.  Encourage each other and build confidence together.  If you think your co-worker looks fabulous in that shade of blue she’s wearing today, let her know.  Chances are, spreading love in this way will help you love yourself.

5.  Stand for something.

Giving back feels good, and benefits others as well as ourselves.  If you love animals, maybe consider switching to a vegetarian diet, or if you’re able, fostering/adopting a pet.  Another great option is looking into volunteer opportunities; Foodshare and Rebuilding Together are fantastic organizations that help the hungry and people with at-risk homes, respectively.  Simply giving up a Saturday morning to volunteer your time will touch many, and likely inspire you, too.  It helps us put life into perspective, and be grateful for all we have, rather than focusing on what we lack.

 

What do you do to love yourself?  I look forward to your feedback!

xo Steph

Review: The Brow Wiz by Anastasia Beverly Hills

Brow Wiz

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“Eyebrows make a face.” We’ve all heard the saying before, and if you’ve seen those hilarious photo-shopped pics of celebrities without brows, you know it’s true. Even Angelina Jolie looks terrible without eyebrows.

So it makes perfect sense that a brand would be created that is devoted to beautifying eyebrows. Now if you’re an 80’s baby like me, you probably went through a phase where plucking your eyebrows down to practically nothing was a trend. That was the worst trend ever! Now we’re left trying to pick up the pieces and take back our brows! I still have bare patches…they make me sad. I’ve been using cold-pressed Castor oil at night before I go to bed to hopefully grow them back (Castor oil is available at Vitamin Shoppe, it’s around 8 bucks).

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But despite the barely-there brow trend that ravaged and wrecked our eyebrows, thanks to Anastasia Beverly Hills, we don't have to wait for our brows to grow back and return to their full, beautiful state. This Brow Wiz is fool-proof, incredibly easy to control, glides on to the skin like silk, and looks completely natural. I ordered the Soft Brown shade. It's perfect for the start of my brows, but I'm finding that when I get to the end, it's a tad too light. So, I'm going to order the next darker shade for mid-to-end brow.

My one criticism about the Brow Wiz is it's lack of staying power. It will last you a few hours, but certainly not through the entire day. But the good news is that it's portable, so you can feel free to pop it in your purse and do a couple touch-ups during the day.

For the reason stated above, I'm going to try some of Anastasia Beverly Hills other products, specifically, the Dipbrow Pomade. Hopefully this will stay better! Other than that, the Brow Wiz is my favorite product I've ever tried for filling in and creating gorgeous eyebrows to complement and frame your face.

I'm going to be doing a YouTube video tutorial soon that covers all things eyebrows – how to shape and fill them, plus other tips and tricks!

Leave your comments and questions for me and I'll be happy to answer any!

xo Steph

Truth or Dare: Review of The Whole Truth Vitamin C Kit by Ole Henriksen

True or Dare: Review of The Whole Truth Vitamin C Kit by Ole Henriksen

I feel it is my civic duty to tell you about these products. I have heard many great things about Ole Henriksen’s skincare products and lines, and I am completely kicking myself for not trying them sooner!

I recently have become a freak about anti-aging and protecting my skin in any way possible. This stuff is other-worldly. First of all, it smells like candy. It’s got this fresh, citrusy-vanilla scent that reminds me of a creamsicle. Mmmm. So not only does it smell delicious, but the consistency is so luxurious, particularly the cream. It’s lightweight, and reminiscent of whipped cream (a lot of things remind me of food!).

What I love about these products is that a little product goes a LONG way. At first, when I saw how small the jars were, I was mildly disappointed. But this will last me quite some time, considering how little product you need to cover your face. For $45, I believe it’s a good value. Ole Henriksen’s products, and this particular kit, are available for purchase through Sephora. After reading some reviews of the product, I ordered through their website, since some consumers were complaining of product going rancid, and they claimed that if you order it online, you’re getting a “fresher batch.” Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. I had no problem with anything being rancid. The products have a protective seal and all seemed fresh to me.

How to use:

Currently I’m using this for my morning routine. So, after cleansing and toning (make sure your toner dries completely) lightly pat on the collagen-boosting serum. Let that soak in and dry as well. Next, apply your moisturizer all over the face and neck. Using your ring finger, dip into the eye cream, gathering a tiny amount of product, and tap onto your under-eye area gently. If you’re applying makeup after, next you’d go ahead and apply your primer and foundation, etc.

Note: I really wouldn’t recommend this for people with oily skin. It’s fantastic for adding moisture back into your skin, especially in the winter months. It does make my skin visibly glow and appears to plump up the skin and reduce the look of fine lines.

Overall, I give this an A! Wonderful product if you’re just starting the anti-aging process and want to give something a try for a reasonable price.

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