Month: March 2014

Spring Skin Care Challenge

Spring is finally here! I am so excited….the beautiful, green hills, the gorgeous weather & all of the flowers in bloom have me giddy these days. As the seasons change, I find myself staring into the mirror wondering why I have neglected my skin so much in the past few months. Maybe it’s because I was too cold to care or maybe it was just laziness, but either way, I am back to giving my skin some love and it’s made a HUGE difference. I know, I’m a huge nerd.

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This year, I am going to commit to taking better care of my skin & as we head into the summer months I have come up with a little challenge for all of you readers (and myself, of course). The challenge is this: Once a month, book a facial or pick up a new skin care product, for the next 6 months. This will leave your skin youthful & hydrated as Winter approaches again, but it will do something even more important for you: It will get you in the habit of taking care of your skin and I know you’ll just love the results! I know the first thing that comes to mind is the cost of this little challenge, but I want to encourage you to get creative with it & just go for it!

Tips for booking a cheaper facial/peel: Find a spa that’s offering a facial special…simply book a shorter facial & tell your Esthetician that you want to add-on a peel….Call a spa and ask if they offer just a peel, a la carte…ask if your spa offers a discount when you book a series of facials/peels…inquire about seasonal facial specials.

As an Esthetician, who has worked in a high-end spa for years, I know firsthand how expensive skin care, facials and spas can be. Just remember that we only get one skin in our lives. We only get one chance to take care of it. If we neglect it, it will surely show! People shell out the big bucks for their hair and hair products so easily, forgetting that our skin needs to feel the love too!

This month I chose to purchase a new product and I’m so excited to review it for you all!

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I recently purchased the Mary Kay version of the Clarisonic (It’s called the Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush). Guys, I am in love with it! It leaves my skin exfoliated, glowing and super fresh looking. Not to mention, it’s SO easy to use. I leave it in my shower, add a little face wash to it & go to town, 3 days a week.

WHY I’M IN LOVE WITH IT:

  • $100 cheaper than Clarisonic
  • Has 2 speeds like the Clarisonic
  • Starter kit comes with two brushes, Clarisonic only gives you one and replacement brushes for Clarisonic retail at $25/ea whereas Skinvigorate replacements come two in a pack for only $15/box
  • Can use any cleanser of your choice with device
  • Noted to decrease oil production and acne
  • Device is light weight and easy to hold (and water proof)
  • Brush heads last three months before replacement is needed

There you have it folks! Mission complete this month….now, it’s your turn!

 

*photo credit: Elise Whittenburg; Inkspot Photography

 

Week 1 of the Whole 30

WEEK ONE OF THE WHOLE 30….CHECK!

We made it through the 1st week! It was not without cravings, fatigue and many pity parties, but after the 3rd day I started to feel much better. This week I have learned that adopting an entirely new lifestyle takes time and LOTS of planning, but now I am in the rhythm, guys! It almost feels like we have been living this way for years and I am starting to ask the question that many people who have embarked upon the Whole 30 have asked themselves, “Is this how I want to eat forever, once the cleanse is over?” I can’t tell you how I’ll feel tomorrow, or in 3 minutes but in this moment, my answer is, “YES!” I am really enjoying the energy levels I’ve had for the past week…it’s pretty amazing how well our bodies function when we give them the proper fuel.

This week, we made eggs everyday for breakfast, with a sautéed veggie on the side (zucchini, bell peppers, asparagus, were a few we loved). I quickly learned that two eggs were not enough protein for me, to last me until my next meal (especially if I was going to workout right after breakfast), so I started to add ground turkey to my scrambled eggs. This helped me so much! I was much more satiated, which leads to less cravings, which leads to you doing other things than daydreaming about a huge waffle cone with two scoops of pistachio ice cream….with hot fudge. So just trust me on this one….eat a huge breakfast.

After breakfast, I won’t have my next meal for the next couple of hours. In the meantime, I snack on bell peppers, cucumbers (I’m obsessed with the little mini ones from Sprouts or Trader Joe’s), carrots and some almonds.

For lunch I’ll bring a big salad to work. I make it really delicious so that when mealtime comes around, I can’t wait to devour it. I love a mixture of butter lettuce and spinach. I top it with baby tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, cilantro, avocado & salt/pepper. Dressing is olive oil and vinegar. I always bring some sort of protein to eat after the salad. This week we made Jalapeno burgers in bulk, so I just added one to the top of my salad and it was really tasty!

The jalapeno burgers were dinner a couple of nights in a row, just because they were pre-made and so tasty (recipe here: Jalapeño Burgers ). We ate them with sweet potato chips one night, and the other night we topped the burger with a fried egg–my hubby’s personal favorite meal. Another night we made almond and coconut crusted tilapia (again in bulk) and this was my favorite meal! So much flavor and really filling.

One other great meal we made was chicken lettuce wraps with homemade guac. I seasoned the chicken with TJ’s South African Spice (great rub for chicken!) and threw it on the George Foreman. Chopped it up, placed in the lettuce cups and topped with the guac, which was one avocado, 1/2 of a red onion, 1 small jalapeno, and 1/2 of a tomato. Delish!

When I have had those cravings that just won’t quit, I had a Lara Bar, which tasted incredible, and totally did the trick!!! My favorite so far is the Cashew bar…love the flavor! When I’m craving sugar at night, I love to have 1/2 of a grapefruit or some cuties. I will do my best to cut back on the fruit this week. I allowed myself to have it this week, when I was needing something sweet, since I was detoxing from so many things.

Oh, and SOMEHOW I was able to talk my husband into trying Apple Cider Vinegar!!! He is so brave to try this Whole 30 thing and go along with all of this!

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The Whole 30

There’s never a good time to start a cleanse, but starting it after vacation is brutal. You’ve just spent the last week eating out and drinking every night and your body is in a state of shock. The shock turns into  fear utter horror when you abruptly eliminate all of these delicious toxins out of your life….for 30 days. What have I gotten myself (and my poor hubby) into?! Those Greyhounds were so tasty…and don’t even get me started on the midnight taco bell run. Yeah, it happened.

Seriously though, I am so glad that my friend introduced me to this challenge. The timing couldn’t have been better and I am SO grateful that she encouraged me to try it!  I just wrapped up my 2nd day of The Whole 30.  I’m sure by now you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about…..It is a 30 day challenge to cut out all of the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups that comprise a large part of our diets. In doing so, this allows your body to heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing and to learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day-to-day life, and your long-term health. (See more at: http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/#sthash.8RmJIuzx.dpuf).

The day before we started the challenge, I stocked up on tons of organic veggies, eggs, proteins and healthy snacks for us to fill our refrigerator for the week. I spent that night prepping my food for the week and portioning out meals for the next few days. It took time and some planning but it was really rewarding!

I plan on documenting my Whole 30 journey, taking tons of notes on our progress & sharing my favorite recipes! Here’s my first recipe for all of you……….

soup

Last night’s dinner was inspired by a picture that Danielle Walker, from Against All Grain, posted on Instagram of Leftover Roast Chicken Soup (you MUST follow her–she is incredibly inspiring! IG: @Againstallgrain).

I put my own spin on my soup to make it “Whole 30 approved” and I’m excited for all of you to try it because it turned out to be a hit!

Spicy Chicken and Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients:

-4 chicken breasts

-1 can organic, diced tomatoes

-Chicken broth

-1 sweet potato

-1 head of cauliflower

-1 white onion

-1 bunch of kale

-salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon (just trust me here)

Directions:

1) Place all 4 chicken breasts (thawed) in a crock pot & set it to “low”

2) Add chopped white onion, diced sweet potato, chopped kale & chopped cauliflower

3) Next, sprinkle a small amount of cinnamon & cayenne pepper (this can be added to taste)

4)  And lastly, add a dash of salt, pepper, a generous dash of chili powder & cumin (I ended up adding more later in the day to make it super flavorful)

5) Let it all simmer on “low” for 4-5 hours. Shred the chicken, then let simmer for another 1-2 hours.

6) Serve, enjoy and enjoy again tomorrow!

*photo credit: Danielle Walker, Against All Grain