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DIY: Fall Pumpkin Face Mask

 

As the seasons change, are you noticing your skin changing too? You might feel that your skin is slightly dry after a summer full of beach days, and in need of some moisture! One of our favourite DIY face masks is perfect for this time of the year. Try this modified recipe adapted from Vogue.com by Keltie from Starts With You!

During the colder months, we need more exfoliation to slough off dead skin cells and help underlying skin absorb our skincare products. Pumpkin is an amazing natural skin treatment helping to restore and reverse skin damage from the sun. High-end pumpkin skincare products are available in stores, but why not skip the preservatives and make your own?

The alpha and beta-carotene found in pumpkins are potent antioxidants, which convert to vitamin A inside the body. Vitamin A promotes healthy vision and ensures proper immune function, while alpha-carotene is thought to slow the aging process, prevent tumor growth, and reduce the risk of developing cataracts. Carotenoids also boost immunity and lessen the risk of heart disease. Remember: these skin-loving pumpkin mixtures won’t last long, so if you have extra, store it tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to one week. You’ll never look at a pumpkin the same way again!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh pumpkin pulp (you can also used canned from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon almond milk (for dry or combo skin)
  • 1 teaspoon honey (for dry skin)
  • 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or cranberry juice (if you have oily skin)

Directions

    1. Purée the fresh pumpkin pulp into a thick paste in your blender or food processor.
    2. Add the egg to bind the pastes.
    3. If your skin is dry, stir in a splash of omega-rich almond milk and the honey. For oilier complexions, instead stir in apple cider vinegar or cranberry juice to eliminate greasiness.
    4. Mix well.
    5. Apply the mask, leaving it on for 15-20 minutes, depending on your skin sensitivity. 
    6. Rinse with cool water and moisturize as usual.

 

What's The Buzz About Aromatherapy?

What is aromatherapy? People commonly think that "aromatherapy" refers to anything that smells good, like scented candles, potpourri, and perfumes. We use the term "aromatherapy" to refer to the therapeutic application of plant essential oils (usually diluted in some type of solution) by qualified individuals.

Extracted from plants, flowers and citrus fruits, essential oils are hot: Industry revenue has gone up about 13 percent in five years. The ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Indians and Greeks relied on essential oils as medicine. They're now gaining new ground because of growing evidence of their powers; a review published in the International Journal of Neuroscience concluded that various scents can significantly affect mood, cognition and physiology. Increased openness to complementary and alternative treatments is fueling this boom.

How Aromatherapy Works
When you sniff an essential oil, your olfactory bulb fires off signals to the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls emotions—that's how scents affect your mood. Depending on the type of oil used, your blood pressure or heart rate may rise or fall, and your body may release certain hormones. Aromatherapy isn't healthy for everyone. People with asthma should avoid essential oils, says Alan Hirsch, MD, neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, and pregnant women need to check with their doctors first. Never drink an essential oil, even in a small amount, without medical supervision. "Essential oils can be poisonous if you ingest too much—they could affect your nervous system and cause seizures," Dr. Fugh-Berman cautions.

Also note that essential oils may not mix well with certain drugs. For example, blue chamomile oil can hamper the enzyme that metabolizes some antidepressants. "If you're using patch medication, applying essential oils in the area could cause an interaction," adds Andrea Butje, a clinical aromatherapist who runs the Aromahead Institute, which offers virtual courses.

Although essential oils are generally safe when used correctly, proper care should always be taken. Some oils can cause skin or allergic reactions and most oils need to be diluted before being applied directly to the skin. Since some essential oils can react with certain medications, or shouldn’t be used with certain health conditions, it is always best to get advice from a qualified aroma-therapist when choosing oils. Always remember to check that the oils you use are made from high quality plant ingredients and are not synthetic aromas claiming to provide aromatherapy benefits.

DIY: Exfoliating Lavender Sugar Scrub Recipe

 

Are you looking for a simple handmade gift, or do you want to pamper yourself a little bit? We're excited to share with you this luscious exfoliating lavender hand soap recipe It will leave your skin clean, soft and oh-so pretty! Exfoliating your hands keeps them looking and feeling fantastic, and the scent of lavender is known to be calming and relaxing. But did you know that creating an exfoliating hand scrub is simple and very inexpensive? Let us show you how...

Did you know that lavender is an herb native to northern Africa and the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean. The herb is highly regarded for skin and beauty and is commonly used in fragrances and shampoos to help wash and purify the skin. Lavender oil is extracted mostly from the flowers of the lavender plant, primarily through steam distillation. The flowers of lavender are fragrant in nature and have been used for making potpourri for centuries. Traditionally, lavender essential oil has also been used in making perfumes. The oil is very useful in aromatherapy and many aromatic preparations and combinations are made using lavender oil.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • up to 1/4 coconut oil melted (or almond oil) as needed
  • 1 tablespoon dried Lavender (optional but recommended)
  • 3-4 drops Lavender Essential Oil

Directions

    1. Mix together the sugars and slowly add the coconut or almond oil while stirring.
    2. Pour in as much oil as you need to get your desired consistency.  Stir and mix thoroughly.
    3. Stir in the essential oil and the lavender.
    4. Store in an airtight container.

To Use

    1. Rub a little bit of the scrub on your body or between your hands with a little bit of water.
    2. Rinse with warm water to remove excess oils.  It will give your skin a nice exfoliation and leave your skin feeling soft and smooth and smelling like lavender!
Top 3 Ways To Build Endurance

If you have a running goal – be it marathon, 5k, a jog with the dog, or maybe you're new to running and you just want to push it and get that first mile or two. Whatever your skill level—whether beginner or seasoned fleet-foot—we'll show you how to take your running to the next level.

Take One Step At a Time.  If there is one overarching principle of endurance-building, this is it. Call it gradual adaptation. That is, be consistent, be patient, and build up slowly. This principle applies to all circumstances and all runners the beginner who's trying to make it around the block four times, as well as the 36-minute 10-K runner who's training for a first marathon with long runs that stretch to 12 miles, then 16, then 20.

Combine strength days with cardio days. It’s a simple equation: the more muscle you can get working, the more it will challenge your heart and your cardiovascular system. Instead of building cardio-only workouts (the pitfall that’ll prevent you from building endurance) make sure to weave strength days into your training. “Most people reserve one day for strength and another day for cardio. Try combining the two instead,” says Torres. “Use a bench press, immediately followed by pull-ups, then run a mile as fast as you can… and repeat.” Another good example: Jump rope for a minute, followed by squats, an overhead press, and finally sit ups. Repeat.

Do wall sits. At the end of every run strengthen your quads, hamstrings, and glutes; improving your speed and endurance. Hold the position for 20 to 60 seconds, rest 30 seconds, and repeat the exercise three times. To make this move more challenging, alternate between lifting your left heel for a few seconds and then your right. This helps to target your calves.

A Basic How-To For Healing Yoga Poses

Research shows regular yoga practice can effectively reduce chronic pain — addressing both physical aspects and emotional [1]. Even in the short term, studies suggest practicing yoga can help treat pain-related conditions including back pain, arthritis, and migraines. While completing a yoga practice of more than one pose will likely provide added pain-reducing benefit — including a possible reduction in the stress and anxiety that often comes with acute pain — the following poses are a great start for some of the most common aches.

Childs Pose - Yoga Poses For Common Aches and Pains

Aliment: Headache
Pose: Child’s Pose (Balasana)

While many poses are known to reduce the tension that causes headaches before they happen, this pose is great when the ache has already sprung. Child’s pose just slightly inverts the body for increased blood circulation to the head, helping to relieve tension.

How to: Kneel on the floor, big toes touching, knees at hip-width. Exhale and gently lower the torso between the thighs, resting the forehead to the mat. Rest the arms to the sides of the body (palms up), or extend them in front of the body (palms down) for a great shoulder opener. Rest in this pose for 30 seconds to a few minutes, gently “melting” into the floor with each breath.

Cat Cow Pose - Yoga Poses For The Most Common Aches and Pains

Aliment: Upper Back Pain
Pose: Cat-Cow (Marjariasana)

This pose is commonly used at the start of a practice to stretch and gently massage the back and neck muscles. Arching up and down helps relieve tension and increase mobility in the spine [2]. Cat-Cow also helps prepare the spine for more advanced back bends.

How to: Start in a tabletop position with the hands and knees on the floor, the spine neutral. On an inhale, press through the hands to round the spine and gently drop the head for cat pose. Really arch the upper back, lowering chin to chest and gaze toward the bellybutton, for a full stretch. On the exhale, lift the chest, gaze upward, and allow the upper spine to slightly release downward (the tailbone should tip up toward the ceiling) for cow pose. Repeat four to six times, transitioning with each breath.

Lower Back Pain - Yoga Poses for this most common aches and pains

Aliment: Lower Back Pain
Pose: Legs up the wall (Viparita Karani)

This relaxing and restorative inversion is a great way to end a long day (especially for those who are on their feet all day). Resting the extended legs on a wall gently stretches the hamstrings, relieving pressure in the lower back.

How to: Start in a seated position next to a wall, the feet on the floor in front of you, left side of the body making contact with the wall. Gently lie down on the back then pivot at the hips until the backs of the legs are pressing against the wall, perpendicular to the floor. The legs should be as straight as is comfortable, but if the full extension isn’t there just yet, start with a little bend in the knees. Scoot the body as close to the wall as possible (the bottom can make contact). Soften the upper body and allow yourself to sink the weight of the legs into the wall, hands may rest on the belly. Stay in the position for 2-15 minutes, and gently roll to one side before returning to standing. Note: Some people feel more comfortable in this pose with a prop, like a pillow, bolster, or block, underneath the low back and buttocks.

Wrist Pain Pose - Yoga Poses for the Most Common Aches and Pains

Aliment: Wrist Pain
Pose: Upward Bound Fingers (Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana)

A 9-5 office job can do a number on the body, especially the wrists with continuous keyboard and mouse use. Practice this one at home or on the job to maintain flexibility in the wrists.

How to: This pose can be practiced seated or standing. Inhale and raise the arms straight in front of the body (perpendicular with the torso). Bend the wrists and interlock the fingers, the thumbs touching one another. Exhale and roll the palms away from the body, keeping the fingers interlocked. If fully extended arms create any discomfort, breathe into the pose while slowly straightening the arms. With another exhale, bring the arms (fingers still bound) overhead so the palms are parallel with the ceiling. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to a few minutes, or with each breath, alternate extending the arms in front of the body and above the body (hands bound throughout).

Should Pain - Yoga Poses for the Most Common Aches and Pains

Aliment: Shoulder Pain
Pose: Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

This full body energizer stretches everything from the calves and hamstrings to the back, shoulders, and forearms. You will see downward dog in many styles of yoga, as it is part of the traditional sun salutation sequence [3].

How to: Start in a tabletop position with the hands shoulder width apart and knees on the floor, the spine neutral. Extend through the arms, lift the knees off the floor, exhale, and press the pelvis toward the ceiling. Gently pedal through each leg — slightly straightening one, bending the other. Press the upper body up and away from the hands throughout the pose, gradually releasing through the upper back. Think about pulling the shoulder blades away from the ears to open through the shoulders and rotating the elbows slightly inward rather than bowing out. Slightly relax the head and neck and gaze toward the navel.

Happy Baby Pose - Yoga Poses for the Most Common Aches and Pains

Aliment: Hip Pain
Pose: Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)

While it may feel a little silly at first, this calming pose does wonders for the lower back and hips. Great for the end of a practice or even before bed, this pose requires little effort compared to many standing hip-openers.

How to: Lie on the back. On an exhale, bend the knees to the sides of the body. Inhale then grip the outside edges of the feet (elbows inside of the knees). If holding onto the feet directly is uncomfortable, place a strap on each foot to add length. Gently pull the knees down and toward the armpits. Flex the feet and keep the heels stacked over the knees (the lower half of each leg should be fairly perpendicular to the rest of the body). Hold the pose for 30 seconds to a few minutes. Feel free to add some creativity by rocking side to side while bringing the thighs toward the floor.

Warrior Pose - Yoga Poses for the Most Common Aches and Pains

Aliment: Knee Pain
Pose: Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

While certain yoga poses  — such as those in the warrior sequence, for instance — help strengthen the muscles around the knee joint (protecting it from future injury), they may also cause discomfort for those experiencing knee pain [4].  But with the proper form and a multitude of modifications, standing poses can still be incorporated into a practice to work up that strength.

How to: Begin at the top of the mat. Step the left foot back (about four to five feet behind you). The front foot should point straight ahead, parallel to the mat; the back foot should point to the left corner of the mat, slightly diagonal. Think about dropping the tailbone toward the mat, lowering into the front, bent leg. Scoop the pelvis so the torso becomes more perpendicular placement compared to the mat. On an exhalation, raise the arms overhead. Remember to engage the thigh muscles of both legs and make sure the front knee is above the ankle (try not to let it track forward, backward, inward, or outward) to prevent knee pain.

Wind Relieving Pose - Yoga Poses for the Most Common Aches and Pains

Aliment: Digestion Pain
Pose: Wind-Relieving Pose (Pawanmuktasana)

As it’s name suggests, this pose helps release abdominal gas, which can cause sharp pain and discomfort. Curling the body into a tight ball helps massage the intestines and aid in digestion [5].

How to: Lie on the back, feet together, arms to the side. With an exhale, bring the right knee toward the chest, gently pulling it toward the body. Inhale and with the next exhale touch the knee to the forehead (if the body doesn’t allow the head and knee to make contact, just work toward pressing the leg gently in toward the belly). Take a few deep breaths in this position. Return to start then repeat the movement with the other leg then with both legs together.

With any yoga pose, it’s important to work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any known medical conditions, have a conversation with your doctor before practicing yoga.

References

    1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2936076/#!po=5.55556
    2. http://www.artofliving.org/yoga/health-and-wellness/yoga-for-neck-pain
    3. http://www.yogawiz.com/yoga-poses/yoga-asanas/downward-facing-dog-pose.html
    4. https://yogainternational.com/article/view/yoga-therapy-for-your-knees1
    5. http://www.artofliving.org/in-en/yoga/yoga-poses/wind-relieving-pose
5 Tips For Dental Upkeep

Caring for those pearly whites (and the bacteria-laden box they inhabit) is crucial for overall health. Beyond yellow stains and icky breath, a dirty mouth can cause or significantly worsen some very serious health concerns. We know brushing and flossing is essential but what else? Follow our tips to protect your body and mind, via your mouth.


Don’t Wait ‘Til It Hurts. If you're prone to ditching the dentist, it turns out you're part of the roughly 50% of adults in the United States who don't see a dentist on a yearly basis because of "dentist- phobia," finances, or just plain neglect. Regular trips to the dentist can catch problems such as decay, gum disease, trauma, or cancer at an early stage when they're treatable -- and solutions are more affordable.


Limit high sugar snacking. Every time you eat, bits of food become lodged in and around your teeth. This food provides fuel for the bacteria in plaque. The bacteria produce ace. This occurs more often if you eat snacks and the food stays on your teeth for a while. These repeated acid attacks can break down the enamel surface of your teeth, leading to a cavity. If you must snack, brush your teeth or chew sugarless gum afterward.


Know when to replace your toothbrush. Invest in a new toothbrush or a replacement head for your electric or battery-operated toothbrush every three to four months — or sooner if the bristles become frayed.


Remember to Rinse. Rinsing the mouth with a combination of warm water and pure quality sea salt (such as Pink Himalayan sea salt) is a great way to lower inflammation after a dental procedure because it helps to soothe the soft membranes of your gums. It also has the effect of alkalizing your oral pH balance, which deters the proliferation of unwanted microbes.


Freshen up your tongue, too If you’ve never heard of this apparatus, it is basically a U-shaped wire with rubber grips that is used to scrape the surface of the tongue to remove any unfriendly residue. Along with brushing, this will help to remove any toxins that may be lingering in the mouth. If you consistently have a white coating on your tongue, consider taking probiotics to control internal yeast.



3 Ways To Improve Your Posture

Slouchy looks good on bags and boots... on you, not so much. Good posture is an easy and very important way to maintain a healthy mind and body. When you practice correct posture, your body is in alignment with itself. This can alleviate common problems such as back or neck pain, headaches, and fatigue.

Take a stand. Distribute your weight evenly on both feet, keeping your pelvis and shoulders in line. Raise your chest and shoulders to maintain your spine's natural S-shaped curve, and hold your head up so your earlobes are directly above your shoulders. If you're still unsure of the proper position, try standing with your back against a wall and rotating your shoulder blades until they touch it -- that's your ideal posture.

Get up and move. As muscles tire, slouching, slumping, and other poor postures become more likely; this in turn puts extra pressure on the neck and back. In order to maintain a relaxed yet supported posture, change positions frequently. One way is to take a break from sitting in an office chair every half hour for two minutes in order to stretch, stand, or walk.

Stick to it. The major part of maintaining proper posture is reminding yourself to stand and sit straight — and this is the hardest part. Use these little tips to make sure you don't cheat:

  • Tell your friends: They can serve as your support system and they will be glad to elbow you when you're caught slouching.

  • Use Post-It notes: Put them in areas you see daily: your medicine cabinet mirror, your rearview mirror and your computer monitor.

  • Feel the results: Keep looking at the difference between good posture and the one you see in the mirror to really visualize the work to be done.

6 Ways to Put Your Best Self Forward

 

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Nobody can say for certain exactly how much body language influences a first impression, but some research indicates it might be as high as 90% responsible for the first impression you create.  Follow these six ways to put your best self forward— without saying a word.

Do: Hold Your Chin. "It's something we see powerful people do—Hillary Clinton, Steve Jobs on the cover of his biography. It's a thinking pose, a gesture that says, 'When times are tough, I'm going to come up with the solution.'"

Don't: Pull in Your Lips. "Sucking in your lips until they're hidden in your mouth says you're holding something back. When Anthony Weiner said his Twitter account had been hacked, he pulled in his lips. So did A-Rod when he talked about using banned substances. I see many people do it when they're trying to hide an emotion too uncomfortable to share."

Do: Steeple Your Fingers. "Put fingertips to fingertips to increase your authority. I call it steepling. Oprah steeples, as does Donald Trump just before he says 'You're fired.' President Obama does a modified steeple, like he's holding an invisible basketball, which suggests compassion."

Don't: Lose Track of Your Tilt. "Never share valuable information with your head tilted—it makes it seem as if you don't stand behind it. If you're just chatting and not divulging, feel free to tilt your head, but mind the direction: If you tilt to your right, you're seen as more attractive, and if you tilt to your left, you're viewed as more intelligent."

Do: Cross Your Arms. "You've heard that crossing your arms makes you look standoffish—which is true, if the person doesn't know you. But if you're among friends, cross away! It can help you figure out a problem, because the action uses both sides of your body, engaging both sides of your brain: the logical left and the creative right. Research shows that arm crossing makes us more likely to stay on a difficult task."

Don't: Wrinkle Your Nose. "I once worked with a gorgeous woman who couldn't get a guy to take her on a second date. After watching her interact with men, I spotted the problem: When she laughed, she wrinkled her nose, a universal sign of disgust. Her dates later told me they didn't think she liked them, but none could say why. She stopped wrinkling her nose—and is now happily married. That's the power of body language!"

This article was originally written by body language expert, Janine Drive. We shared it with you to help amp up gestures that win you respect and quiet those that give you away.