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Monthly Archives

September 2013

5 Beauty Must-Haves for the Fall

Fall is finally here! This is one of my favorite seasons: the food, the holidays, the clothes! I mean, how can you not love the fall?! Well, not only has the season changed, but so has my beauty regimen! Keeping my regimen fresh means hair, skin and nails that are moisturized and happy. Check out my top 5 beauty must-haves for the fall to keep your regimen fresh, too!:

fall essentials

1.Nubian Heritage Lavender & Wildflowers Lotion

This lotion is a must have for the colder temps. The consistency is amazing: thick and creamy, yet not greasy. In fact, I would call it more of a butter than a lotion. It goes on smoothly and smells BEAUTIFUL. The touch of lavender provides that relaxing sensation while the hint of wildflowers transports you to a field of, well, wildflowers! If the colder weather means dry, cracked skin for you, look no further than this magical BODY BUTTER, I mean “lotion”.

2. EOS Strawberry Sorbet

Does anybody else have SUPER sensitive lips? Even a hint of colder weather means dry lips for me! With that said, I have to keep an EOS Strawberry Sorbet lip balm on hands at all times! It leaves my lips baby soft and smells just like strawberries! Yum! Plus, the round shape is just fun to use!

3. Aura Cacia Argan Oil

Argan oil aka “Liquid Gold” is my go-to facial moisturizer. It moisturizes the skin without leaving any greasy, oily residue behind. If you depise heavy, greasy creams on your skin, you’ve got to try Argan Oil! My skin feels healthy and supple after every use!

4. Sally Hansen Triple Strong Strengthener

Ever suffer from weak, brittle nails in the colder months? Yeah, me too! This Sally Hansen nail strengthener does WONDERS for those brittle nails! Within weeks you will notice stronger, healthier nails. Plus, it works amazing as a base coat!

5. Mineral Fusion Curl Care Beauty Balm

The weather isn’t quite cold enough to start using my heavier hair creams but I still like to give my hair a bit more moisture than I did in the Summer. So, what do I use? Mineral Fusion’s Curl Care Beauty Balm! This amazing leave-in not only moisturizes my hair but defines my curls while keeping them baby soft.

So there you have it! My top 5 beauty must-haves for the Fall! What are your favorite products for this season? Comment below!

-Zeena

6 EASY Ways to Lose Weight

You’re trying to lose some weight, but don’t have the time, energy, or patience to sit there and count every single calorie you consume.

So what do you do??

Below are a 5 quick and easy tips to help you shed pounds with little to no effort.

1) Eat lean protein at every meal. Aim to get AT LEAST 1/2 your body weight in protein everydayFresh vegetables and fruits in a paper grocery bag with measuring tape (ex: 75g for 150lb person).
BENEFIT: Protein will keep you full and you won’t want to eat as much later. (Just keep the protein lean).

2) Drink a lot of water. The amount varies per person but about 2-3 liters daily is a good number.
BENEFIT: Water quiets your appetite. People often confuse hunger with thirst because your brain can’t easily tell the difference so stay hydrated.

3) Eat enough fiber. About 25 grams for women and about 30-35 for men (# varies as you age).
BENEFIT: Fiber keeps you full and satisfied and keeps your digestive tract moving.

4) Get at least 8 hours of sleep. Every night. Seriously..
BENEFIT: When you are well rested, you are less likely to overeat and crave sugary/carb-rich foods.

5) Choose complex carbs instead of simple (white) carbs and keep your servings to the size of a fist or less.
BENEFIT: Complex carbs control your blood sugar while smaller portions control your calorie intake.

6) Double up on your veggie servings.
BENEFIT: More fiber, water, & nutrients from the veggies.

All 5 of these tips are going to keep you full/satisfied throughout the day while quieting your appetite to keep you from overeating.

Easy enough right? And there was no calorie counting involved!

Give these a try!  Jump right in and do them all or start with one and gradually add a step each time until you’ve incorporated all six into your diet.

And of course, come back and let us know how it’s going! We love hearing from you 🙂

~ Letisha

Is Your JOB Sabotaging Your HEALTH?

You’ve been trying SO HARD to get fit, whether it be lose fat, gain muscle, increase endurance, etc. but for some reason youBurnout - work-life-balance just can’t seem to pull your life together enough to stay on track. This can be the most frustrating thing, right?

A big reason people have a hard time sticking to a fitness routine, nutritious diet, or healthy lifestyle in general, can often be because of work.

Think about it — essentially, work is your lifeline. Without a job or some source of steady income your lifeline gets cut and for most of us, that means no way to provide ourselves with food, clothing, shelter, and ultimately a way to survive. So what do we do?

We put work first. Now this isn’t the WORST thing but I do think it would serve us well to change the way we think about work and our health

Work/life balance should be a priority for EVERYONE. Why? Because what good are any of us while performing our jobs if our health declines because we let it take a backseat to our jobs/careers.

The Downward Spiral:

1) You stay late at work — so late that you miss your workout entirely, or are simply too tired to muster up the strength to go. Then, you get home late and don’t the time and energy to cook a healthy meal, so you order out, or reach for something processed and most-likely unhealthy.

2) Not to mention, from overworking yourself, you most likely become over-tired and sleep deprived. Not allowing your body enough time to recover/sleep.

3) Now that your over-tired, you overeat. Your body is craving sweets, simple carbs, and anything else sugary/starchy in an attempt to get quick energy for your body and compensate for your lack of sleep with calories that you don’t necessarily need.

4) Those sugary, starchy foods throw your blood sugar out of whack, giving you peaks and valleys of energy, which only leave you feeling more depleted than when you started.

5) As a result, you end up bloated and tired and given enough time, will even gain some weight. The more weight you gain, the harder you have to work to get fit.

6) No Work-Life Balance = STRESS — A lack of work/life balance can create stress and we all know stress can make us overeat and/or suffer from a disrupted sleep pattern and with that comes a weakened immune system, inviting illness into our lives.

Can you see the downward spiral overworking yourself can create? If you take your work seriously, you should take your health just as seriously because a healthy you can add a lot more value to your job than a tired, unhealthy, and unhappy you.

If your job is making you unhappy, do everything in your power to find another. If leaving your job isn’t option, take steps to make sure you take care of yourself, with just as much determination that you bring to the workplace.

~ Letisha

10 Ways to De-Stress Your Life

Stress. The word alone has the power to  remind us of the most nerve-wracking moments in our lives. Frankly, it can be easy to allow that stress to over power you, warping your whole lifestyle into something unrecognizable.

So, how do we manage this monster called Stress? It is not always easy but it is possible. With these following 10 tips you can melt away stress and start living a more relaxed life.

 stress

1. Find your favorite part of your day:

This moment can even be as small as buying a hot coffee every morning at Starbucks. It’s the little moments that count the most. By doing one thing you love every day you allow yourself to not be consumed by the negativity surrounding you. My favorite part of my day? Making homemade iced tea every morning!

2. Try something new (Monotony can be boring!):

Keep it exciting. If you have the same thing for lunch every morning, try something new (like that deliciousness you have been eyeing on the menu for weeks now!). Go out for a walk after work, rather than rushing home.

3. Enjoy the little moments:

You know those moments we just let pass by without acknowledgment: the commute to work, waiting in line at Starbucks. Find enjoyment in those moments. Maybe try a new route to work or actually enjoy the scenery around you.

4. Smile. Yes. Just smile! 🙂 :

Just like yawns, smiles are contagious! When you smile, you feel good. When someone else sees you smile, they will feel good, too! Imagine how many lives (plus your own) you can improve by smiling?

quote

5. Close your eyes and…sleep:

Give yourself time to recuperate. So many of us barely get enough hours of sleep, to begin with. Give yourself time to get more than the recommended 8 hours. Shut off your laptop, put your phone on silent and just SLEEP.

6. Don’t hold on to something you cannot change:

Admit to yourself that you did the best you could. Dwelling on the past will not do anything to change the future. We must learn from our mishaps and move on.

7. Listen to soothing music.

Music can be just like a magical getaway. Pop in some noise canceling headphones and listen to your favorite music. Have you tried Pandora’s ESP (Deep Relaxation Mix) station? Highly recommend.

8. Clean your surroundings:

De-clutter your room, de-clutter your mind. Sometimes even just a fresh set of linen on the bed can bring about relaxation. Get rid of things you don’t need. Have a Spring Cleaning in the fall…Fall Cleaning?

9. Take care of your body:

Don’t allow stress to take over your health. Eat as much whole, fresh  foods as possible and limit or eliminate processed foods. It’s so easy for us to fall off the “health bandwagon” when stressed. The bad news is that a poor diet only brings on more stress! Prepare fresh salads and snacks like peanuts, watermelon, or boiled egg the night before work or school.

10. Exercise to naturally improve your mood:

Working out is one of the best ways to improve your mood. If stress seems to be taking over your life, try getting into a solid workout routine. Find a workout buddy, too! Someone who will keep you consistent and motivated.

With these 10 tips, stress does not have to take control of your life!

What are your favorite ways to destress? Comment below!

-Zeena

DIY: Honey Cinnamon Mask

cinnamon

If you recall a few months ago, we posted a fab post on our favorite face masks. You don’t remeber, do you?? That’s okay…we forgive you :). Just click HERE! One of those lovely masks happened to be a Honey Cinnamon Mask. Oh, what benefits could cinnamon, of all things, have for the skin, you ask??

masks1

Cinnamon…

  • Fills in small lines and wrinkles by plumping up the skin.
  • Oxygenates skin
  • Heals acne
  • Destroys bacteria living on skin
  • Brightens complexion
  • Exfoliates dead skin cells

Pretty incredible, right? Okay, so here comes the fun part…

DIY: Honey Cinnamon Mask

  1. Go into your kitchen, open your spice cabinet, take out the cinnamon and honey.
  2. Mix 1 TBSP of honey with 1 TSP of cinnamon. It’s pretty strong so you don’t need too much.
  3. Apply the mixture to freshly washed skin. Leave the mask on for about 30 minutes. Rinse and apply favorite face moisturizer.

Easy, right? If you don’t feel like doing a full mask, you can always use this mixture as nightly spot treatment!

Happy Friday! 🙂

-Zeena

Natural Remedies for Constipation

So you’re having some trouble going huh?..Well before you reach for those laxatives, there are some things you should know.

The Dangers of Laxatives:

  1. Your body builds up a tolerance to laxatives so you’ll end up needing increasingly more in order to have the same effect.constipation
  2. They dehydrate you, throwing off your sodium/potassium balance which can be very dangerous for your heart. The sodium/potassium balance is what keeps you heart beating.
  3. The dehydration can also bring a whole slew of other complications but the most ironic of them all is that dehydration worsens constipation.
  4. Laxatives can also weaken the muscles in your intestines, disrupting your bodies natural peristalsis, which are the series of muscle contractions and relaxation which moves food/feces through the intestines. With this, you can completely lose this function altogether, with no ability to control your bowel.

So how can you relieve your constipation or improve your regularity, without resorting to laxatives?

Below are some natural remedies that will help get the poo-poo train back on track! (get it?? 😀 )

  • Water: Drink a lot of water (there’s something we haven’t heard before..
  • Exercise: The movements from physical activity helps your body’s digestive system move things along the tract.
  • Diet: Be sure you cut down on constipating foods like white breads and other simple starches, dairy (including cheese), and meats. Also, make sure to eat enough fiber (about 25g for women; 35g for men, less for men and women over 50).
  • Try the following foods to help get you going:
    • Pears
    • Plums
    • Peaches
    • Prunes
    • Prune Juice
    • Coffee
    • Cayenne Pepper
    • Avocado
    • Nuts/Seeds
    • Beans
    • Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
    • Broccoli
    • Aloe Vera Juice
    • Probiotic Supplements

~ Letisha

What to Eat After a Workout

So you’ve just finished a fantastic workout! Now you’re ready to refuel your body, but WAIT! What the heck should you eat??
You want to fuel your body, provide it with the nutrients it needs to become stronger, leaner, essentially more physically fit, WITHOUT undoing all of the hard work you just put in.
Well, read on…refuel after a workout
Below you’ll find a list of foods to eat after a workout to refuel your body.
Everyone seems to have a a different idea about exactly how many carbohydrates you should be eating vs. the amount of protein, but I think this is a question that doesn’t necessarily have a blanket answer for everyone. We all have different genetic predispositions, are different heights, weights, have different physical abilities which are going to affect how you workout, the types of exercises you do, and the amount of calories you burn. Not to mention, everyone’s daily nutritional requirements are different, so it seems presumptions to assume we are all the same in terms of how to fuel our bodies post workout.
For example, my sister loves nuts. They are an amazingly nutritious food that offer her a lot health benefits, yet, if I ate a nut ,I’d die. If we take a less depressing example, milk products are a great source of calcium and protein, yet there are tons of people who are lactose intolerant.
I do agree, however, aside from different case by case exceptions, quality food is still quality food, like fruits and vegetables, no matter who’s eating it.
With that being said, a good general rule of thumb is to eat a combination of carbohydrates and protein after a workout. The carbohydrates will restore your depleted energy levels, while the protein will help repair your muscles. You should try to eat within 1 hour after your workout.
Avoid processed foods if you can, opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as lean protein. You don’t want to load up on fats though because fat tends to slow digestion which means it will take longer for your body to digest and absorb the nutrients it needs to refuel after a workout.
Good PROTEIN sources include:
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Whey Protein (low sugar & low calorie)
  • Plain yogurt (opt for low or no sugar – avoid those with artificial sweetener like sucralose or aspartame)
Good CARBOHYDRATE sources include:
  • Banana
  • Sweet Potato
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Other fruits like oranges, apples, pears, peaches etc, make great options

Don’t forget your veggies! ~ Any kind you like 🙂

Good Sources of Antioxidants for muscle repair/recovery:
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple
  • Kiwi
  • Oranges
~ Letisha

5 Homemade Hair Masks for Luxurious Hair

You know that saying ‘abs are made in the kitchen’? Well, I think luxurious hair is made in the kitchen, too! Okay, well sometimes! Most of my favorite hair masks can be made with ingredients I eat on a daily basis. I don’t need all the fancy & expensive conditioners and hair masks to achieve shiny, manageable hair! In fact, I find that I have better luck making my own hair masks right at home. So, what hair masks do I speak of? Check out my top 5 homemade hair masks below!

homemade hair masks

My Top 5 Homemade Hair Masks

1. Coconut Oil + Olive Oil:

What do these too ingredients have in common? Oil! If your hair LOVES moisture (of the oil variety), look no further than these beloved oils. Coconut oil does an amazing job of coating the hair strands and locking in vital moisture while strengthening your hair  (that’s right!). The combined oils create a shine and luster for dry, dull hair that is absolutely unbeatable! What if your hair doesn’t like oil? Try adding only a few drops of coconut oil and olive oil into your favorite hair conditioner. The results will be amazing.

 

2. Egg Yolk + Avocado:

Sounds delicious! These too puppies are what I use for DEEEEP conditioning. Egg yolk is full of vitamins like A, D, & E that all work to nourish your hair. Vitamin A encourages hair growth while Vitamin E assists in preventing hair loss. The protein from the egg yolks creates stronger hair that isn’t as prone to breakage. The avocado moisturizes your hair while promoting hair growth. Be careful, however! If you do protein treatments too often or for too long, your hair may suffer from damage! For best results, blend 2 egg yolks and 1 avocado thoroughly. I like to add a few spoonfuls of coconut oil for added shine and moisture.

 

3.Castor Oil + Yogurt:

When it comes to hair, castor oil is boss. Well, at least I think so! This amazing oil not only encourages new hair growth but also improves the condition of dry, lack-luster, and frizzy hair! The addition of a protein-packed yogurt only makes for an even better hair mask. That protein is great for preventing breakage. Not to mention that the yogurt is full of vitamins like Vitamin B5 that works to seal in the moisture in your hair. Sounds lovely, right?

 

4. Vinegar + Water:

Okay, so what if you don’t have the time or money to be making all of these hair masks? Look no further than your standard Apple Cider Vinegar! This is my favorite ingredient for instantly soft and luscious hair. The ACV does wonders by closing the hair cuticle that becomes raised after shampooing (that rough feeling of your hair after shampooing). The ACV also works to remove any hair build-up from conditioners, leave-ins, you name it. And not to mention, who doesn’t want super SHINY hair?! Mix a few tables of apple cider vinegar with fresh spring water and pour over hair after shampooing and conditioning.

 

5. Beer + Beer:

That’s right! Your beer has been holding out on you! How, you ask? Well, let’s start with two ingredients in beer: malt & hops. The proteins in malt and hops do WONDERS for dry, damaged hair while creating stronger, healthier hair. The sucrose in beer creates that beautiful shine we are all looking for! Simply pour any flat beer over your hair after shampooing, then rinse.

 

As much as I love making hair masks, not every ingredient proves to be the best. I had to learn that the hard way when I made a banana hair mask. I know, it sounds amazing! But to my surprise, it was a horrible decision! In fact, banana proved to be one of the most difficult and non-effective ingredients I have used on my hair (harsh, I know…if only bananas had ears). I spent hours rinsing out little banana pieces only to see MORE bits falling out the next day! If you must try banana in your hair, make sure that it is well (and I mean WELL) blended.

 

Peace, love & coconuts!

-Zeena

DIY: Cinnamon Kitchen Disinfectant

I don’t know about you but I can’t STAND the smell of chemical-based cleaners. They are so toxic! And what’s the pointKitchen Disinfectant of taking care of your body, eating well, and exercising regularly, only to then breath in toxic chemicals?

Seems to defeat the purpose right? Plus, why would you want to use harsh chemicals around your food or places where you cook and eat?
Well, here’s a great little concoction you can use to sanitize your cutting boards, countertops, sinks, and/or refrigerator. Particularly if you’ve been working with raw meat or fish.

DIY: Cinnamon Kitchen Disinfectant

Recipe:

Combine 1 teaspoon of cinnamon oil for every 12 oz of hydrogen peroxide. Shake and spritz away!
Tips: 
  • For a less harsh mixture, replace hydrogen peroxide with water.
  • Contents will separate, shake before each use.
The reason this works is because of cinnamons antimicrobial properties.
What a nice way to kill bacteria and freshen the air with a nice cinnamon fragrance! Naturally!
Give this little concoction a try and tell us what you think!
~ Letisha

Honey & Epsom Salt Mask for Radiant Skin

We all have those weeks where our skin just won’t get under control. It’s either dry skin, acne, dark spots, blackheads..the list goes on. Frankly, it’s inevitable. We are all going to suffer from a breakout or two but that doesn’t mean that it’s untreatable! Most skin care issues can be treated right in the comfort of our own kitchen. In fact, you can treat a handful of skincare issues with only honey and epsom salt (you may have to leave the kitchen for the epsom salt). Read on for our simple and effective honey and epsom salt mask DIY recipe!

honey epsom salt mask

Simply said, honey and epsom salt have amazing benefits for skin. What benefits, you ask?:

Honey is

  • Antimicrobial (helps destroy the nasty bacteria on your skin)
  • Moisturizing
  • Great for fighting aging (wrinkles/dark spots!) and skin damage
  • Reduces infection/inflammation
  • Soothes irritated/acneic skin

Oh, and Epsom Salt?…

  • Flushes toxins from skin
  • Exfoliates dead skin
  • Removes blackheads
  • Cleanses skin
  • Treats acne

So, are you ready to make a wonderful healing mask your skin? For the male readers, this mask isn’t just for the ladies! It will work wonders on your skin, as well!

DIY Honey & Epsom Salt Mask

You’ll need:

  • 2 TBSP Honey
  • 2 TBSP Epsom Salt

Mix the honey and epsom salt until well combined. Feel free to add more or less honey or epsom salt. (Both ingredients are super gentle on your skin!). Gently apply the mixture to your face and allow to sit for 30+ minutes. Be prepared for dripping honey! (Keep a towel handy!). Rinse and apply your favorite moisturizer.

Enjoy!

 

Peace, Love & Coconuts!

-Zeena


hibiscus cleansing grains