If you are a beauty product lover like me, then you have probably tried about a million products. I have no less than five serums that I currently alternate between to maximize hydration, reduce fine lines and obtain that coveted youthful glow.
I know it’s overkill. In fact, you only need 4-5 products in your skincare arsenal for great, glowing skin and to prevent the damage that causes wrinkling, sagging, pigmentation and other effects of aging.
If you are going to use one vitamin on your skin, I believe it should be vitamin C. My personal favorite is an antioxidant serum with a 10% concentration of pure vitamin C from SkinCeuticals called Phloretin CF. Vitamin C serums are absorb more readily by the skin than creams and other formulations, so you really are getting the most effective product with a serum and not wasting your money on something that doesn’t work.
So why is vitamin C *the* skin vitamin of choice, you ask? Well for starters, there is a ton of research supporting the abilities of this powerful antioxidant to reduces the signs of aging and prevent further damage.
Studies have shown that topically-applied C can:
- Reduce pigmentation (goodbye unattractive age spots)
- Protect your skin from damaging effects from the sun
- Aid in collagen synthesis (hello firmness and elasticity)
- Reduce inflammation, helping with conditions such as acne & rosacea
While vitamin C isn’t the only vitamin that an help give you great younger-looking skin, it’s a really important one. If you are only going to invest in one topical skin product, then topical C will give you a lot of bang for your buck.
For additional benefits, take a multivitamin with at least 100 milligrams of vitamin C and eat foods rich in C like papaya, bell peppers, broccoli and strawberries.
Do you want to learn more about how you can get the amazing skin you’ve always wanted?
According to the experts, wellness travel is a fast-growing market with travelers realizing the need to rest and rejuvenate is key to living a happy, balanced life.
Wellness travel involves planning a trip with the purpose of improving your physical, emotional, and mental health, and an escape to the warm and dry southern California desert in the middle of a winter Bay Area rain storm sounded like just what the doctor ordered.
Where shall we stay?
As an AmEx Platinum card holder, I always check out the Fine Hotels and Resorts in the area to maximize on perks like resort credit to be used for dining, spa treatments, etc. during your stay, early check-in, late check-out, a daily breakfast credit, and a complimentary room upgrade when available.
We chose the Ritz Carlton at Rancho Mirage for our stay. The resort itself is nothing short of lovely. Upon check in, we were offered a glass of champagne as the layout of resort was explained to us. As a Marriott Gold Elite member, (another perk of the AmEx Platinum card if you haven’t achieved this status through actual stays) we were given daily access to the spa grounds to enjoy the plunge pools, steam rooms and other amenities.
We did not receive the complimentary room upgrade to my knowledge. I had booked a desert view, and the room was on the second floor. Hindsight being 20/20, I would have requested a ground floor room which would have given us a private fire pit. I could tell that the people who had these rooms enjoyed using the fire pits, and we would have probably spent more time outside enjoying the property if we had been in one of these rooms.
Incorporating wellness into your trip
One of my goals during this trip was to shake of the blue feelings I was having from being trapped inside after weeks of rain and cold weather. My first mission was to scope out a decent hike in the sunshine to get the endorphins flowing.
The resort itself was a lot smaller than I expected. While there was a beautiful walking path facing the desert side of the property, I had to actually exit the resort and head down the hill a bit to find walking trails.
The key to wellness travel is really just to focus on what you’ve been neglecting, so the sunshine and exercise did me a world of good. The beautiful desert views were a nice backdrop to connect with nature and really did make me feel grateful for the beauty around me.
Massages were booked for day two. I booked a 50-minute Stress Relief massage, though again, in hindsight I should have booked either the 80 or 100-minute options. The spa attendants were very helpful upon arrival, and my massage therapist brought me a glass of champagne after my treatment to enjoy in the co-ed lounge area.
The spa had three AromaSense shower heads in the ladies locker room area. I found the Eucalyptus shower very relaxing, and the spa is equipped with hair dryers, flat irons, etc. to make it easy to get ready after showering if you don’t feel like rushing back to your guest room. There were also nice complimentary teas, fruit-infused waters and healthy snack mixes on offer in addition to a Spa Menu if you wanted to order lunch and enjoy it before or after your treatment.
The fitness center, located inside the spa, offered a daily group fitness class including sunset yoga, a barre class, and a stretch class.
Breakfast was my favorite time of the day. The views from the restaurant were serene, and since it was winter the heat lamps on the patio were fired up so you could enjoy dining outdoors if you wanted without being uncomfortable.
Again, as an AmEx platinum member we were given a $65 breakfast credit daily. The buffet offerings on Saturday and Sunday were a treat with a made-to-order omelette station, options of pancakes and French toast along with healthier choices of yogurt, an array of fresh fruit, pastries and smoked fish. The coffee was strong (a major plus in my book) and tasty, so it was a nice way to start a relaxing day.
In addition to the spa, lunch was offered at the adult pool as well as the main restaurant, State Fare. My club sandwich with sweet potato fries was my favorite lunch of the entire stay.
We treated ourselves to room service on our last night, finishing off the meal with the signature Ritz Carlton Cake – a must for any chocolate lover.
Wellness Travel Essentials
All in all, it was a nice, relaxing stay and we headed back to the still stormy Bay Area happy to have soaked up the sun for a few days.
All you really need to make any trip a wellness getaway is the intention to focus on your wellness while you are away. A destination away from the hustle and bustle where you can disconnect from the day to day and connect with nature is ideal. But as long as you can find time to connect with yourself and treat yourself to relaxation and rejuvenation, you’ll come out on top.
What are your thoughts about wellness travel? Do you have any favorite wellness destinations? Have you ever been to a wellness-focused resort or on a wellness retreat? Any plans to do so in the near future?
The end of the year always causes me to start reflecting. It is easy in those moments to start to think about the past. I don’t know about you, but I can sometimes obsess a little about wishing the past could be different. This is an exercise in futility, because of course there is nothing we can do except to move forward and let go of things that no longer serve us.
I hope these quotes about life, love, gratitude and forgiveness inspire you to focus on and enjoy the present.
2016 has been a particularly difficult year for so many people that I talk to, so give yourself the kindness that you need to see it through to the end. If you don’t feel like doing something, don’t do it! Remember to take care of yourself. If you don’t, you won’t be able to continue caring for the others who need you.
Some Monday’s, you just need a little extra motivation. I’m finding that true today. How about you?
I love this quote for it’s ability to give just a gentle nudge in the right direction challenging you to tiptoe towards what you want in life.
So I’ll come right out with it. I’m a HUGE procrastinator. I have a couple of article deadlines this week that I need to work on today, and instead of working on those I decided to unload and reload the dishwasher, wash my hair, investigate something on the DMV’s website … you get my point. All sorts of things other than dealing with my deadline, which will of course lead me to feel more stress as Friday nears.
This week, it is my goal to start taking small steps towards putting more structure around my time. It’s just too easy when you work from home to let distractions become so very distracting!
My “small step” of the day was to schedule time to write, as if it were a meeting that I needed to attend. That way, I’ll take that hour block of time to focus on my article and write. I’ll let you know how it goes!
SO TELL ME …
What small step will you take today to get you closer to your goal?
Hello New Year! How are those resolutions coming? Are you staying on top of your nutrition and fitness goals? Statistics say by the third week in January, a vast majority of people have thrown in the town on their new-year goals.
If you set fitness goals for yourself this year, I want to give you a new boost of motivation. So I’m writing a new, revamped version of one of the most popular posts I’ve ever written, The Best 10 Workouts You Can Do At Home to give you yet ANOTHER 10 awesome home-based workouts.
No excuses. No gym membership needed. Minimal gear required for some of these.
Here are the BEST 10 Workouts you can do from home (or anywhere!) for 2016
1. Beach Babe Booty. Here is another great booty workout from Lita, a dancer who blogs on Tumblr as Back on Pointe. This girl is truly ON POINT at shaping your booty.
A 100% at-home without a single piece of equipment required. Let’s get it!
2. 3-Minute Workout – ARMS. Who cares about arms in January? You do! Summer bodies are made in the winter! NYC-based fitness trainer Anna Altman designed this no-equipment arm workout to get you ready for tank tops in no time.
3. SELF Magazine’s 6 Moves That’ll Work Your Abs, Butt, And Thighs In The Best Way.
This total-body workout was designed Tracy Carlinsky, founder of Brooklyn BodyBurn to give you a total body burn. Some of these moves are done against a wall, so make sure you have a sturdy spot with plenty of room to move.
Do the routine two times, switching sides for moves 3, 4 and 5. For best results, do 3-4 times per week. You can watch the workout here to learn the moves.
4. 6 Minute Sexy Thighs Workout. Cassie Ho (aka Blogilates) is my go-to girl for sculpted thighs. Everyone LOVED her Inner Thigh Workout that I included in the original Best 10 Workouts post.
Grab a mat, and try this workout 3-4 times a week for sexy thighs!
Need a mat? Check out this one on Amazon:yoga mat
5. At-Home Barre Workout. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve heard about the ballet-inspired barre workout. I finally tried a barre class just a few weeks ago, and although I’ve been doing Pilates for about four years I still felt sore in places that I’ve never felt the next day.
This video from SkinnyMom.com will guide you through an at-home barre workout. And don’t worry if you don’t have a ballet barre at home … you can use a sturdy chair or even your countertop to do these moves. A squishy ball is used for some of the moves. If you don’t have one, you can find one for under $10 on Amazon.
6. The Foam Roller Workout. I have super tight hamstrings and hips, and the foam roller is my favorite way to stretch and relax after a workout. If you are a runner, maybe you already have one that you use to roll out muscles. I love the idea that this prop can also be used to sculpt lean muscles!
You can view step-by-step instructions for all of the moves on the Women’s Health magazine website here.
7. Total Abs Workout. Dying to have those abs of steel? I like this workout called “Total Abs,” which is one of twenty from Neila Ray at trimmedandtoned.com. You can browse all twenty if you’d like OR start sculpting your abs NOW and hit the floor.
8. 7-Minute Workout. This one is a favorite from @workouts_daily. You don’t want to miss this 7 minutes workout. Yep, I said 7 minutes. You can’t tell me you don’t have SEVEN minutes! And if you have more time, perform another set or two.
9. The Bra Bulge Workout. Say goodbye to “bra bulge” and annoying back fat with this great little workout from TheScienceofEating.com.
Complete the listed number of reps for each of these moves (this is called a circuit.) Then perform the circuit 1-2 more times.
“Pin” this pic to make it easy to find next time. Say “Good Riddance!” to back fat.
10. 5 Minutes to Leaner Legs workout. Got 5 minutes? Then you’ve got time to sculpt long, lean legs.
Perform 12-15 reps on each move (on each side, as applicable). Five minutes, and you’re done! For more detailed instructions of these moves, check out this link.
I hope you found some must-do workouts in this updated list! Don’t forget to warmup for about 5 minutes before starting your workout, and stretch when you are done.
Available all over the United States, ground cherries are from the Solanaceae or nightshade family sometimes found growing along roadsides. You may spy these cherry tomato-like fruits at farmer’s markets or as part of your CSA haul in the month of September.
Also known as: Gooseberries, husk cherries, Physalis peruviana
Storage and Prep: For best results, keep ground cherries in their husks until you are ready to eat them. Husked fruits can be stored in the refrigerator for five to seven days. Rinse with water before eating.
How to Use Them: You can pop them in your mouth and enjoy like cherry tomatoes, or try a new recipe. These are a little sweeter to the taste than cherry tomatoes (almost more of a tropical flavor). I love using them in homemade salsas and salads. You can also throw these in with fruits to make a delicious pie or tart.
Superfood properties: Ground cherries are loaded with fiber, as well as immune-boosting vitamin C. They are also a good source of vitamin A — a vitamin that plays a important role in bone growth. Vitamin A is also essential in maintaining healthy vision and slows down declining retinal function in people with an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa.
Have you tried ground cherries? What is your favorite way to eat them?
Things I love to help keep my fruits and veggies fresh longer:
The first dairy alternative I ever tried was Silk soy milk. It was my go-to milk replacement for my morning cereal and in my coffee.
Then suddenly, the dairy case at the grocery stores were flooded with milk alternatives — almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, hemp milk, etc. — and I tried almost ALL of them. I found myself coming back to Silk soy milk for both the smooth delicious taste and the 8 grams of protein per cup. Having given up meat several years ago, I was hard-pressed to meet my daily protein requirements. Falling back in love with soy was a great plant-based way to get the protein I needed in the mornings to fuel my workout and keep me satisfied until my next meal. Silk is also low in saturated fat and has no cholesterol, two more wins!
A boost of protein in the morning provides your body with what it needs to burn fat instead of muscle during a workout. Try this Tropical Yogurt Parfait using creamy vanilla Silk Soymilk for breakfast to wake up your taste buds and get your day started off right.
- 1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup Vanilla Silk Soymilk
- 1/4 cup diced mango
- 1/4 cup diced banana chunks
- 1 tablespoon shredded coconut flakes
- 1/4 cup all-natural granola
- 2 tsp. chopped or crushed walnuts
- 1 tsp. honey
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, blend together Greek yogurt and Vanilla Silk Soymilk until creamy and most lumps have disappeared.
- In a glass or mason jar, add the diced mango.
- Add half of the yogurt/soymilk blend to the glass directly on top of the mango.
- Add the diced banana and shredded coconut.
- Add the remainder of the yogurt/soymilk blend.
- Top with honey, granola, and chopped walnuts.
- When ready to eat, stir together & enjoy!
- If you are not planning to eat right away, store the granola & nuts separately. Pour on just before stirring, add honey, and stir.
If you haven’t tried Silk (or if you have and still want to SAVE) check out this link for money-saving coupons!!
Like to look at pretty pictures of food and yummy recipes? GREAT … I do too! Check out the Fall Back in Love with Soy recipe board on Pinterest.
This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.
AsparagusYou can find asparagus almost all year-round thanks to the lengths grocers go to in order to keep these greens in stock, but nothing beats the flavor-rich freshness of locally-grown asparagus during the spring. A cup of asparagus boasts a healthy dose of vitamin K (essential for your bones to absorb calcium) and immune-boosting vitamin A. Asparagus is also know to de-bloat your tummy, so eat up before you hit the beach for a lean & defined physique!
ArtichokesArtichokes contain a compound called cynarin, which are not to stimulate your taste buds & make bland food taste better. They are also rich in inulin, which promotes growth of good bacteria in your gut. Also a good source of antioxidants, fiber, and folate, these tasty veggies are a nutritional powerhouse that are hard to beat!
RampsRamps, also known as wild leeks are a spring delicacy available only for a few weeks in spring, beginning mid-April. If you haven’t tried ramps, hit the supermarket or farmer’s market for this delightful veg you can use in any recipe that calls for leeks. In addition to vitamins A and C, you’ll get a dose of iron as well as immune-boosting selenium.
If you are interested in getting the most nutritional bang for your buck, look no further than superfoods. What’s so super about them, you ask? Basicially, superfoods are simply those that are plentiful in multiple nutrients and have been shown through scientific research to offer health benefits.
You are no doubt already eating a superfood-rich diet — broccoli and blueberries to name a couple — but there are lots that you probably aren’t eating. Here are 5 healthy superfoods to get your hands on this February.
I grew up in Louisiana, and I was a huge fan of the local Community brand coffee with chicory. I couldn’t imagine that the same chicory I used to drink in my coffee was the same chicory I now see offered as a seasonal green in fancy restaurant salads — but it was (one was the root and the other was the leafy greens, but still the same plant!)
Chicory root is known to detoxify the liver, as well as to aid digestion — both of which would come in handy after a weekend in the Big Easy ?
The greens, on the other hand, pack a punch of vitamin A, vitamin K, and choline to name a few. Cruise by your favorite farmer’s markets in February and pick up a head of chicory to serve up in your salads or to saute and serve under your favorite protein.
This was not intended to be a post about Louisiana, but again I am struck by a memory of numerous kumquat trees that lined the neighboring fence of my elementary school’s playground. We had no idea what these little orange globes were until a teacher told us, but burned countless hours picking these sweet little beauties as kids.
The peak of the growing season is in the winter lasting until about March, so now is an ideal time to try this citrus fruit that is high in potassium, as well as vitamins C and A.
To eat, rinse & toss the whole thing in your mouth – be careful with the seeds!
Maca is a root originating in South America which has been shown in clinical studies to boost libido. Maca is also known to improve stamina in athletes, regulate hormonal imbalances, and even help with fatigue.
Maca is available in powder form, which is great for adding to smoothies and protein shakes. Don’t go overboard, though … the powder can be quite bitter in large doses.
There are a variety of teas, energy bars, and even chocolates that contain maca — a super convenient way to taste test this superfood.
I love parsnips and include them in one of my favorite winter comfort dishes, Winter Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie, a recipe I found in Food & Wine magazine.
Parsnips are high in fiber, which we need to aid in the prevention of heart disease, and some types of cancer. They also contain a healthy dose of folate, a nutrient necessary in energy metabolism and essential for women planning to become pregnant.
When you go on a hunt for parsnips, they look like a big white carrot. They’ll probably be hiding next to the radishes and other root veggies in almost any produce section of a any supermarket during the winter months.
Last but not least … passion fruit … you can’t leave this seasonal fruit off the list in February because of its name alone!
Passion fruit is a great source of vitamins A and C, and don’t be afraid to eat the seeds for an extra dose of fiber.
These exotic beauties are also a good source of plant-based iron, a perfect healthy snack for vegetarians who may need an iron boost.
- 1 1/2 cups Green tea (freshly brewed, then chilled)
- Juice from 1/2 small lemon
- 1 cup romaine lettuce
- 1 cup organic spinach
- 1 Kaffir lime leaf
- 1 inch fresh ginger (peeled & chopped)
- 1/4 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
- Coarsely chop romaine, lettuce, and Kaffir lime leaf.
- Place all ingredients in the order listed into a high-speed blender (such as Vitamix) and secure lid.
- Select Variable 1.
- Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
- Blend for 30 seconds or until smooth.