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wasSUP???

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I was a little familiar with this Stand Up Paddle Board (aka SUP) craze, but I didn’t really grasp why.  I’m not much into water sports like I was when I was younger (not that much younger…) but still, this didn’t seem overly appealing.  Looks nice to cruise around, but we have kayaks & that’s got to be more fun, right??

WRONG.

Some good friends of mine have an SUP company here in Sacramento called riseSUP.  Much to their urging I went out on the lake for my obligatory SUP lesson.  It took all of five minutes for me to fall in love with this sport!  YES, I said sport.  I had no idea what an incredible full body workout SUP would give me.  Holy moly!

A week later I purchased my own SUP board and in true California fashion, have been soaking up the rays almost everyday on my new toy (complete with lots-o-sunblock).  Of course I had to deck her out with custom options.  I had extra padding added to the nose of my board so my dog can cruise with me without scratching the precious finish.  And a handy-dandy bungy kit so I can go for long paddles then float for a nice little picnic in the middle of the river (or wherever my board takes me).

An extra bonus is that in just three weeks of paddling just a few days a week, I feel like my body has transformed!  In a good way…  And it hardly feels like work because it’s so fun, but you really do engage all your muscles cooperatively to gracefully glide you thru the water.  We picked up our second SUP board yesterday & both our daughters (ages 8 & 12) paddle my 10’6 board with ease. Yeah, they rock, just like their mama.  Just sayin’…

If you’re in the Sacramento area, riseSUP offers a great 90 minute intro class (complete with board) for only $35 on Weds evenings from 4:30 – 6:00pm.  They also offer bootcamps three mornings a week which is a combo of dry land and, get this, yoga on the water on the SUP boards!  SO… MUCH… FUN.  And it will kick your ass.  For you SoCal girls (& boys) check out SUPcompany in Laguna Beach.

Here’s a pic of me & my Molly cruising the scene in our backyard (aka the American River).  Life is good.

Easy Breezy Lemon Squeezy

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Living in California definitely has its advantages.  The warm weather is one of them.  Because of our warm climate many of us Cali girls tend to be sun worshipers.  It’s not by choice.  It’s almost an innate occurrence that we have little or no control over.  It just happens.  And no matter how much liquid armor we can slather on our outer layer to shield us from the rays of the Sun God, our skin still suffers.  We can manage to dodge the blistering bullets of a sun burn but we cannot escape the aftermath of clogged pores as a result of all the chemical blocks we’ve used to protect our skin.

When your pores are clogged your skin can’t breathe.  Yup.  Our skin breathes.  The process of agents being absorbed into our skin then our skin releasing toxins (sebum, sweat) is called micro-circulation.  Our skin’s micro-circulation becomes inhibited from all the sunblock (& other agents) that we’ve rubbed onto our skin for months on end.  So, our skin (which happens to be our largest organ) just needs a little help along the way.

Properly exfoliating will liberate your skin of pore hoarders without stripping it of essential nutrients it needs to maintain its youthful glow. Avoid using products that are too harsh and could possibly do more harm than good.

 

  • Loofah – aka “Old Faithful”.  Operative word here is “old”.  Who doesn’t have an old loofah in their shower that should have been retired many a bath ago?  Loofahs of all kinds are germ factories after just a couple uses.  Ewwww.
  • Apricot Scrub – This is a shout out to all the ladies of the 80’s.  I admit, I was a lover of all things St. Ives.  But we now know better than to use ground pits on our faces (right???) but did you know that your body would appreciate a less invasive scrub down as well?  Save the rough stuff for your feet.  The sharp edges of ground pits literally lacerate your skin, doing more damage and irritating your skin in the long run.
  • Salt Scrub – Can you say “ouch!”??  Nothing like trying to get more out of your shave with freshly exfoliated legs.  That is until you rub salt into your pores.  The salts in most body scrubs are less therapeutic and more drying and irritating to your skin.  To get the most out of a salt scrub, make sure not to use the large, course rock salts.  Those do the most damage and the worst job of exfoliating your skin evenly.  You’ll find more chunks of salt & blobs of oil on your shower floor than you will on your body.  But you can still get a good, even and more gentle scrub if you use a fine ground salt.  If you’re thick skinned then a quality salt scrub can work for you.  But if you have sensitive skin, steer clear.  And always avoid scrubs with mineral oil!
  • Sugar Scrub – Aaahhhhh.  Instant bliss.  I love nothing more than a thick sugar scrub massaged from shoulder to toes.  Well, maybe how I feel after I rinse it off.  Paired with some wine and chocolate…..  If you have sensitive skin (like I do) , then a sugar scrub is the way to go.  You still need to use avoid the large, coarse turbinado types of sugar scrubs.  Quality scrub makers will take the time to produce products with fine granules as they cling to your skin better for an even exfoliation.  Look for scrubs that have good carrier oils like coconut oil, almond oil, shea butter, etc.  Of course I recommend you try my Sugar Whip! Sugar Scrub  but you can certainly make your own at home!

 

Now it’s time for the rub down.  Your skin is now exfoliated, pores are clear and happy so oils will absorb more readily.  That means that not only will your skin have a beautiful, even glow but your moisturizing product will go a long way.  Quality salt & sugar scrubs are in a botanical oil base and these oils are beneficial for your skin.  They will not clog your pores, rather promote skin health.  You’ll use less moisturizer and your skin will look great!  Also, sugar scrubs are a fabulous way to prep your skin for a self tanning treatment!  Easy breezy lemon squeezy DIY spa-ing!

 

 

Happy Scrubbing!

~Christine

Winterizing Your Skin

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Did you winterize your car this year?  Most of us are pretty diligent about maintaining our vehicles.  After all, we’re protecting our investment.  Did you know that your skin is your largest organ?  It’s your largest protective barrier, kind of like your car.  The only difference is there’s no trade in value for a new outer layer!  Taking care of your skin is the first step in taking care of your whole body.  Chapped, cracked skin is an open invitation for the “nasties” to get in there and wreak havoc, and can result in dermatitis, rashes, even infection.  Dry, neglected skin shows serious signs of aging and NOT just on our faces.

Seasonal tune-ups will ensure your skin is doing its job and keep you healthier.  You want to focus on ridding your skin of toxins and impurities, then replenish and protect your skin with healthful botanicals that protect your outer layer from the harsh elements.   Doing so can even out skin tone, reduce break-outs, plump up fine lines and restore a more youthful, glowing complexion.

You DON’T need to spend a fortune on high end brands to get “the look”.  Most of those brands are filled with toxic, irritating ingredients that do a nice job of a pretty quick-fix, but are harming your complexion over time.  Take a trip to your refrigerator.  Fruits and veggies are high in anti-oxidants; many have anti-inflammatory properties and are rich in Vit A & E.  Here’s a list of ingredients commonly found in your kitchen.  This will be the base for your Facial Detox Cocktail:

  • Strawberries
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Avocado
  • Tomato
  • Lemon or lime
  • Milk (cow or vegan)
  • Apples
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Parsley
  • Honey

Rather than toss out “spent” fruits and veggies, toss them in the blender & puree yourself a facial cocktail.  Blend up a handful of any combination of fruits & veggies listed above.  Get creative.  The more acidic the combination, the deeper cleansing, but be careful if you have sensitive skin.  Cucumbers are great for redness & puffiness.  Honey is a natural humectant and also kills bacteria and is extremely gentle.  I recommend you purchase Rice Bran Powder from a natural foods grocer.  It’s very inexpensive.  Add the powder by the scoopful to the puree until a thick paste is achieved, store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week.   This will first serve as your 15 Minute Facial Detox Cocktail, then use as a daily cleanser every morning and night.  Add some Raw Cane Sugar and now you have a body treatment to use in the shower!  Avoid using ANY products with mineral oil and moisturize with plant based oils, like Rosehip Seed oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Borage Oil or Apricot.  Your skin will LOVE you and you’ll love your skin!

Strawberry Facial Cocktail Recipe (as seen on Fox 40 News)

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I love the abundance of local produce throughout the spring & summer!  There are so many benefits of incorporating seasonal fruits & vegetables into your skin care regimen.  Most of your high end skin care products contain extracts of fruits & vegetables to boost their products, making them specifically geared towards achieving certain results.  You can refresh & maintain your complexion by going straight to the source of these ingredients in your kitchen (& garden) & create your own “facial cocktail”.  This is also a nice way to give your spent produce new life instead of throwing them away!


Strawberry Facial Cocktail

This facial cocktail gently sloughs off dead skin cells as strawberries are a natural source of salicylic acid & Vit C.  Brightens complexion, tightens pours & reduces inflammation.  When choosing between oatmeal & coffee grounds (below) keep in mind that both are very gentle exfoliants.  The caffeine in coffee is excellent for circulation, plus the aroma is a fabulous pick me up in the morning!  Oatmeal is very soothing for irritated skin & is exceptionally softening.

Prep time:  5 mins
Yields product for 3 uses.

You need:

Blender
1/2 cup strawberries
1 cup oatmeal or used coffee grounds
2 tbs honey
2 tbs plain yogurt or sour cream (optional)

Pour all ingredients except for the yogurt into the blender & blend for a few seconds until everything looks nice & smooth.  Pour into container & spoon in the yogurt until you reach the desired consistency.  If you’re not using yogurt, then you can add more oatmeal if you need to thicken your cocktail up a bit.

Rinse face with warm water or steam with a hot face towel.  Apply Strawberry Facial Cocktail to face & neck with your fingertips (avoiding the eyes) using gentle, circular motions.  Leave on for about five minutes, rinse with warm water then moisturize properly using your favorite facial moisturizer or Brown Bag Botanicals Youth Serum for Face.

If you have teen daughters, this is an excellent recipe to share & teach them to care for their skin properly at an early age.  Many commercial products are either over-drying or over-stimulating for young skin, which will increase their skin’s natural sebum (oil) production & promote blemishes.  This recipe makes for a very fun “to-do” at a girls sleepover or mommy-daughter party!



DIY Facial Cocktails

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Let’s face it.  When it comes to DIY beauty treatments many of us still don’t know where to begin.  I wanted to share a few of my favorite facial cocktail recipes so you can do some home spa-ing without compromising results.  These cocktails are literally boosters for your outer layer & provide necessary nutrition to maintain healthy skin.  Remember, your skin is your largest organ!  Feed it health food & it will take care of you as it’s supposed to do!

 

Cilantro Detox Elixer

2tbs honey
2 tbs finely chopped cilantro
2 tbs oat flour
1 tbs plain yogurt

Mix all ingredients together in a glass bowl until well blended.  Apply to clean skin using your fingertips. Avoid the eye area.  Rich in lactic acid, this elixer is amazing for softening & brightening your complexion.   Rinse off with a warm washcloth after about 10 minutes & apply moisturizer.

Lemon Drop

2 tbs oat flour
2 tbs honey
2 tbs lemonade
1 egg white

Mix all ingredients in glass bowl.  You can add more or less of either the oat flour or the lemonade to make the mix thicker or thinner.  You want to create a rich, thick consistency that won’t drip off your face.  Apply to clean skin with your fingertips, avoiding the eye area.  As the egg dries you will feel your skin tighten a bit, but this mask will not dry.  Rinse off after about 10 minutes & apply moisturizer.  This is an excellent DIY Vitamin C mask & will brighten & tighten your complexion.

Banana Split

2 tbs cocoa powder
1/2 over ripened banana
2 tbs honey

Mash banana in glass bowl then mix together cocoa powder & honey until well blended & smooth.  To clean face, apply a scoop of your banana split onto your face with your fingers & let sit for about 10 mins.  Rinse off with warm water & apply Brown Bag Botanicals Youth Serum for Face or your favorite moisturizer.

 

Simple tips to remember

  • don’t use products that are over drying to your skin as they will promote premature aging
  • properly moisturize & use sunscreen daily
  • remember that your skin is your largest organ – use food grade ingredients that offer healthful benefits