The New Health Craze I’m Trying….Oil Pulling

I first want to apologize for neglecting this space for the past few months…just a lot of life things have happened, but I’m back to being in a good place and back to writing. 

That being said…oil pulling! I first heard of it about a month ago, and my first thought was, really?! Swishing oil for 20 minutes! That’s too much work for this girl. Well, doing more research and talking to some friends about it has really gotten me into it. For those who don’t know what oil pulling is, it’s an Ayurvedic remedy where you swish oil around your mouth to improve oral and systemic health as well as detoxification. You can oil pull with different kids of oils (coconut, sesame, EVOO, sunflower oils), I prefer coconut. So what does oil pulling do? Scientists believe that the lipids in the oil pull out bacteria and prevent it from sticking to the inside of your mouth and reduces fungal overgrowth. Some benefits of oil pulling are the overall strengthening of teeth, gums and jaws, prevention of cavities and gingivitis, prevention of bad breath, and prevents dry lips, mouth and throat. Ancient Ayurvedic health practitioners believe that oil pulling can do more than just improve your oral health. The other benefits of oil pulling is headache and migraine relief, corrects hormone imbalances, reduces inflammation of arthritis,  reduces eczema, helps support kidney function, reduces sinus congestion, reduces insomnia, and can even relieve you from hangovers. Sounds like magic, right?!

Here’s what to do:

1. Pour/scoop oil into one teaspoon. If you’re using coconut oil, wait a minute or two for it to melt, or you can go ahead if you don’t mind the solid consistency and let it melt in your mouth.

2. Swish the oil around your mouth for 20 minutes. Make sure when you are swishing that the oil reaches all of your teeth and gums.

3. Spit out oil and saliva into trash can. DO NOT SPIT OIL INTO THE SINK! 

4. Immediately swish water in your mouth and spit a couple times to make sure you got all the remaining oil out. 

5. Brush your teeth.

6. Repeat every day.

It’s important to remember not to swallow any of the oil. As you are swishing, bacteria is collected becoming very toxic and could make you very ill if you swallow it. I find it’s easiest to do this in the morning when you get up because the 20 minutes goes by faster as you shower, get ready, etc. This seems really tedious, but by multi-tasking for 20 minutes in the morning doesn’t seem tedious at all when it comes to bettering your oral health. Let me know your thoughts, whether or not you’ve tried it, and even your results if you already oil pull! 

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Going “Paraben-Free”

In the past year, I have been hearing a lot about parabens and the potential dangers it could cause to your health. Parabens are inexpensive chemicals that act as a preservative preventing bacterial growth in products across the board; many of these products are used daily (i.e. soap, lotion, etc.) You may ask why it has taken me so long to actually feel comfortable enough to speak against purchasing these products. Well to be honest, it was hard to come to terms with the fact that my favorite soaps, shampoos/conditioners, and face wash all contained these chemical preservatives. I mean Neutrogena’s Pink Grapefruit scrub was my favorite ever and I used it for years! But what took me the longest was finding paraben-free products that I fell in love with, and trust me, I tried quite a few things that I HATED. Luckily now it is so much easier finding products that are without all the dangerous chemicals than it was before. So here it is…..the list! (I’ve come to learn that a majority of these posts are all lists….sorry!)

Not Your Mother’s products- I am currently using the Long and Strong Shampoo and Conditioner, as well as the Lock Luster Oil Treatment with Argan Oil. I absolutely love all 3 of these products and they all smell amazing! The shampoo and conditioner smell like the Bath and Body Works scent, Country Apple and the scent stays in my hair until the next wash (3 days). 

Organix products- I have used a fair share of the Organix shampoos and conditioners, all of which I have loved! Each shampoo and conditioner targets different things, which is great for if you are looking to achieve one look. Everything is really affordable and can be found at Ulta, Target, CVS, etc. I can’t talk about Organix and disregard the hair masks, which are hands down the best I’ve ever used and I’ve been using hair masks for years! I highly recommend the Awapuhi Ginger mask for if you have hair on the thinner side like mine. 

St. Ives products- I have just recently given this brand another chance. I’ve tried the Apricot Scrub years ago and found it to be too harsh on my skin. However, the Green Tea Scrub is far more gentle and does a good job of preventing breakouts. The body washes and lotions are also great if you’re on a budget and are looking for something that smells nice and gets the job done. 

Lush products- If you know me personally, you know I am obsessed with Lush. From bath bombs to lip scrubs, I’m all about it. I could go on and write for hours about what I’ve tried at Lush, what I like and dislike, but you would be so bored by the end of my rant that I won’t do that to you. What’s great about Lush is that you can take however many samples home that your heart desires. Most of the products are more on the pricey end, so the samples are super nice to see how they work in your everyday life before making any sort of commitment to the product. If there were 3 things I recommend you check out are: the Fresh Face Masks, Lip Scrub and Bath Bombs. I find the face masks to really work and to be such an amazing bi-weekly treat for my skin. There are many different kinds based on your skin type. Personally, I either go for the chocolate or blueberry masks. I’ve written about the lip scrubs before, so I’ll keep it short. I use Sweet Lips daily before bed and I’ve made it months without having chapped lips. Finally bath bombs are a fantastic way to end a stressful day/week/month etc. They can get expensive since one bomb can be used per bath, BUT, the oils that the bombs release are so calming that it’s totally worth it. I HIGHLY recommend my favorites, either Sex Bomb or Sakura if you like something more on the mild end. 

Origins products- I cannot say enough good things about Origins. I have used the Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash for years and I’ve recommended it to so many people that in turn have become just as obsessed as myself. The Origins line is expensive, I know; $20 to spend on a face wash is not the ideal price tag on such an everyday item. BUT a little goes a long way (it takes me almost a year to finish one bottle of face wash). Checks and Balances isn’t the only product I use. Origins’ Gin-Zing eye cream is fantastic if you have dark circles like me. I was able to see results after a week and I’ll never use another eye cream after getting this one. Modern Friction and the Out of Trouble Mask are new products I’m still trying out, but so far I’m really liking these. Modern Friction is a gentle dermabrasion that I’ve been using once a week to clear out my pores and the Out of Trouble Mask is a mask make to be used on spots or trouble areas.

So there you have it! Recommendations on paraben-free products! I’m happy I’ve been able to find a good amount of things both in the drugstore and high end that are effective. If you take any of these products out for a spin, let me know how you like them! And obviously if you try anything out that you find to be incredible, please let me know too! 

Happy 2014!

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Over the years I have come to realize one thing: New Year’s Resolutions never seem to stick. Ever. So this is the year I’m going to do something about it. Instead of thinking up all the things I realistically won’t do, I am going to create achievable goals for myself. Shouldn’t this be what New Year’s Resolutions are all about? 

1. Running a half marathon. In every year’s attempt to “get in shape” or “go to the gym more,” I think this will get me to stay consistent. Plus, I just want to say that I’ve completed a half marathon.

2. Learn and master 20 new recipes. I love cooking and I want to branch out of my pasta/fried rice comfort zone.

3. Stop snacking on so much hummus and grab more fruits and veggies! Also eat more fish (I’m going to TRY and incorporate fish into my diet once a week)

4. Update my closet and freshen up my personal style. Also, get rid of those jeans you wore in high school! They don’t fit you any more and they will never fit again! The same goes for tops that are just collecting dust and have been on the same hanger for over a year!

5. And finally, but MOST importantly be more thankful. I put a little notebook by my bed to jot down something I’m thankful for right before I go to sleep. 

 

What a whirlwind 2013 has been! I am happy to report this past year was by far the best year of my life. I have grown so much in the last 365 days, and I don’t think I’d recognize the girl I was a year ago. This year I have learned more about myself, my strength, and faith than I ever could have imagined, I learned about love and heartbreak, and how to be a better friend, daughter, and sister. Of course this wouldn’t have been at all possible without the love and support from my family and close friends new and old. Thank you for holding my hand and cheering me on throughout the year, I’m so lucky to have all of you. Finally, cheers to 2014, let’s make this one as memorable as the one we are just leaving.  

Winter Must-Haves

Before it gets too close to the holidays, I wanted to share my favorite winter items. These are perfect stocking stuffers *hint hint!

ImageLush’s Sweet Lips is the perfect lip scrub that can be used every night and I swear by it. It also smells and tastes like thin mints. Need I say more?!

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Maybelline Baby Lips is hands down the best lip balm I’ve ever tried. It leaves a nice glossy finish and smells like cherry cough drops.

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 At first I wasn’t super crazy about Revlon Lip Butters, but now I am addicted. It’s perfect if you are looking for more of a sheer finish lip color. These are super moisturizing, perfect for this time of year.

Image I don’t know how I’ve come this far in life without this body scrub! The scent is so delicious and it leaves your skin so soft and glowing.

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This is the perfect hand lotion for your purse. It has a light peachy sent and who doesn’t love the cute pink bottle?!

ImageThis is my favorite body lotion of all time. Perfect for night since it’s really heavy, but it smells so warm and feels so luxurious.

Highlighting is key!

So I started writing this post yesterday, but got distracted by the TV show, Scandal…I know, I know, I’m late on the bandwagon, but it’s so good and at this rate it won’t be long until I’m caught up. Anyway, I’ve decided to make Saturdays a day to do a review, or just discuss a product that I use in my everyday life. That being said, my first review is an extremely underestimated product…HIGHLIGHTERS (and no, I’m not talking about the neon ones you use in school). Highlighters just add a little something something that no one woman should leave the house without. Even if you just throw on a little moisturizer and nothing else, a nice highlight on the cheekbones really makes a world a difference and brings out such a nice glow. I go between two highlighting sticks: the Nars Multiple and Benefit’s Watt’s Up!. I have used powder before, but sticks are so much more convenient. 

ImageI use the Nars Multiple in the shade Palm Beach. I use this product when I want a nice tan glow. I tend to reach for this more when I’m getting ready to go out at night. It also pairs really well with the blush, Bella Bamba by Benefit.

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 Benefit’s Watt’s Up! comes in one shade and gives just a nice subtle glow to the skin. If your skin is a medium tone like mine, I find that this looks better in the day time and can be worn with or without blush.

Giving Thanks

I’ve been spending the last few days contemplating all the things I am thankful for in lieu of Thanksgiving and I’ve come to the conclusion that I should consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world. No I don’t have a bank account with unlimited amounts of money, or designer shoes, but I’m happy. And I should be so thankful for that. I have a family who loves me unconditionally, friends who I can call about any problem and the solution always comes in the form of wine and cheese. I have a job I enjoy going to every day and always enough food in my fridge. I’m thankful for every person I’ve crossed paths with, good or bad; you’ve made me a better friend, daughter, sister, and you’ve opened my eyes to the person I want to be. Now let’s eat!

My New Food Obsession

I have had my eye on this recipe for quite some time now and I’ve finally given it a go. Enjoy!

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Shrimp, Zucchini, and Avocado Salad

In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup EVOO, 2 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 garlic clove (minced), zest from 1 lemon, 3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves, 2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Add 1 lb. shrimp (peeled and deveined); toss until coated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Bring pan to medium-high heat. Grill shrimp until cooked through (2-3 minutes per side). Brush 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise, with 1 tsp. olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cook until tender (4-5 min per side). Slice.

For dressing: In a bowl, mix 2 tbsp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 1/2 tsp. honey, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Toss zucchini, shrimp, 1 sliced avocado, and spinach with dressing.

Serves 4. 

22 Things I’ve Learned By 22

1. The importance of flossing every day. Everyone can see when you don’t and the buildup is gross.

2. Find a hair stylist you love and can consistently visit. Nothing is better than a great cut and style.

3. Have one nice black blazer and a pair of black slacks. There have been several occasions where I’ve needed to throw the two on.

4. Go out on the weekends even if you’re tired. You won’t be young forever.

5. Continue to read and write even after college. It’s so therapeutic to read and write about things that actually interest you.

6. How good it feels to cut yourself off financially from your parents. I cut myself off almost a year ago and I’ve never felt better about myself. Through this, I’ve gained so much more appreciation for them.

7. Wear your retainer every night! Even tough it’s ugly and gives you a lisp, those teeth were expensive!

8. Always keep a pair of flip flops in your car…it’s hard to drive in stilettos!

9. Be grateful for all those years you spent working in retail. There are a lot of life lessons learned in selling clothes.

10. Take in your car for maintenance inspections every 6 months.

11. Go to the dentist twice a year, doctors once a year, and if you’re a woman, see your OBGYN annually.

12. Splurge on a nice mattress and comfortable shoes. It’s never too early to prevent lower back pain.

13. Waxing is far better than shaving.

14. Never leave the house without a bra on.

15. Don’t be afraid to take a giant leap of faith. You’ll regret it the rest of your life if you don’t.

16. Getting a pedicure at LEAST once a month is a must. And yes, it’s completely acceptable for men to get pedicures.

17. Moms still give the best advice.

18. It’s okay that your ribs don’t show through your skin. That’s actually kind of gross.

19. It’s completely acceptable to still listen to the Jonas Brothers. Their music speaks the truth and Nick Jonas is hot.

20. Create goals for yourself that you can realistically achieve.

21. Even when times get tough, never stop believing in yourself.

22. Some people just aren’t going to like you, and that’s okay.