It’s not officially fall yet, but once September 1st gets here all bets are off around here and we go into full fall mode. The beginning of fall is just so truly magical that I like to be prepared for it so I can savor every precious moment. To me fall means warm blankets, fuzzy socks, watching the leaves change, and everything smells like cinnamon spice. I’m a pumpkin spice nut just like everyone else… but another fall favorite of mine are apples. There is something just so warm and wholesome about apples, the way they look and how they taste and how they smell… I just love them.
I think we can all agree 2020 has been a bit rough on us all… am I right? We need fall comfort more than we’ve ever needed it and this apple pie body scrub is an easy way to pamper your mind and body right into fall. It’s the ultimate luxury in the shower, exfoliating and moisturizing your skin while the aroma of apple pie fills your shower.
When it comes to body scrubs I strongly prefer using coconut oil over any other oils. Not only is coconut oil super moisturizing, its light texture is easy to work with and glues all the ingredients together. As I’ve mentioned before with my other body scrubs it’s important to keep the coconut oil at room temperature, meaning solid, you never want to melt it.
TIP: Ideally you want to work with refined coconut oil. Refined coconut oil takes away the coconut smell and taste which is ideal for a non-tropical scrub such as this. If all you have is unrefined relax… you can absolutely use that as well you might just get a whiff of coconut with your apple pie.
When I make homemade bath and beauty products I like to keep the ingredients as simple as possible. Coconut oil, basic sugar, spices and other household ingredients. To intensify the apple pie scent I added a few extras along with my basic spices, but these are optional! I decided to add a few drops of cinnamon essential oil, and to get that great apple scent I added a little apple extract, which can be a little tricky to find but Amazon to the rescue!
Please note that if you don’t have cinnamon essential oil or apple extract you can still make this scrub with basic pantry spices. So I’ve listed these items as optional in the recipe. You can find the recipe and photo steps below.
In a medium size bowl add coconut oil and mix it with a spoon until it softens up. If you're using cinnamon oil and apple extract add it now with the coconut oil.
Add the spices to the coconut oil, mash and stir well to blend.
Add the sugars and mix again, using a spoon at first, and then your fingers to remove lumps and completely blend.
Store in a clean storage container and use within 3-4 weeks.
I’ve made this scrub a few times, first with only brown sugar, it was a great scrub, but in the end I decided my favorite was a blend of white and brown sugar. The texture had a bit more grit which I prefer for a scrub, but it’s up to you. As with all my body scrub recipes you can tweak them to your liking. Add a bit more spice, sugar, or coconut oil until you find your happy balance.
Like all my body scrubs this one should come with a warning. It smells so good you just might be tempted to eat it while showering! I don’t know about you but I’m just so happy fall is here and I’m ready for all the cozy goodness it brings. If you’re an apple lover like me I’ll be sharing my apple crisp within a few weeks. It smells and tastes like apple pie, but it’s better and easier too!
We all deal with stress, and lately mine has been really high. It’s all too easy to grab a glass of wine, go shopping, or binge on an entire bag of potato chips…trust me I know! When it comes to stress it’s really easy to get into a pattern of bad habits as a form of relief. So lately I’ve been trying hard to find healthier ways to manage my stress and to decompress. I’ve been really analyzing the therapeutic activities that give me relief, and they really do work! So here are my 15 effective ways to deal with stress. They’ve certainly helped me, and I hope some or all of them can help you as well!
DISCONNECT FROM YOUR PHONE & COMPUTER
In this day and age it’s really hard, but we all need a little downtime from our phones, computer, and especially social media. This one is especially hard for us, Brian has employees texting him day and night, and I have constant text messages from my kids… quite frequently with problems that add to my stress! When possible I try to disconnect at an appropriate time, late afternoon or evening. Even if it’s just an hour or so it’s very helpful just to step away from it all.
SIP A HOT BEVERAGE
What is it about sipping a hot beverage that’s so soothing? It’s probably best to avoid caffeine if you’re highly stressed, but I especially find comfort in lemon water, herbal teas, and my favorite is sipping on homemade bone broth. So find a quiet spot, grab a hot drink, and let the stress go.
There is something just so soothing about lighting a candle and having the scent fill your home. Essential oils also work wonders when you need to decompress! Sometimes just a spritz of perfume on my wrist can put me in a better place. So find an enjoyable scent that works for you and take some deep calming breaths.
This is one of my favorite tips! I wouldn’t go tackle a big project like cleaning out the garage, I find that actually stress inducing. Small organization projects, however, are extremely relaxing for me. So organize a junk drawer, your pantry, or maybe a bin of your kids toys and see how much better you feel!
Nothing beats stress like exercise. Sometimes you just need to crank up some music and sweat it out! I don’t always have the time for a full workout but little bits of exercise are just as stress relieving. Just a short walk around the block, or 15 minutes of yoga at home can do wonders for my stress. Ashley has a rebounder in her room and will bounce 5 minutes here and there, it does wonders for her stress, especially after school.
READ A BOOK
Reading a book is such a great way to escape and relax, but even better how about a book with actual pages? With a lot of us reading books on our Kindle or iPads you forget the joy of holding a book. The feel of a book in your hands is great, the texture of the paper, the sound when you turn a page, it’s so much more calming. Plus it’s all too easy to get distracted by text messages and notifications if you’re reading on an electronic device.
I love visual therapy, a soothing fire, watching a candle flicker, or the trees blow in the wind. 10-15 minutes of visual therapy is so calming. Another favorite of mine is the TV screen savers that are found on Amazon and sometimes Netflix. If you have Amazon prime The Window Channel Network is amazing! You can watch anything from waterfalls to tropical fish swimming, sometimes I don’t like the sound that comes with them so I just mute that.
WRITE IT DOWN
Writing your thoughts and feelings out on a notepad is satisfying in so many ways. It’s an incredible stress reliever and it gives us the chance to really analyze and peel back the layers of our thoughts. So when you’ve had a hard day, or just feel frustrated with life, write it down, journal, and make lists. Being a virgo I’m all about lists!
TALK IT OUT
Don’t hold it in, let your feelings out! I never feel shame or embarrassment talking to others about my feelings. Whether you speak with a counselor, a trusted friend, or a family member, talking it out and releasing your feelings can do wonders for your stress and mental health. Not only is this healthy, it’s a great way to gain perspective and get a different point of view.
When it comes to relieving stress you can’t get any better than music, and I think this stress reliever can be easily overlooked. The right kind of music can completely redirect and change your mood. I have a variety of amazing Pandora stations ready to go when I feel like I’m about to lose my mind.
PAMPER YOURSELF AT HOME
I love all beauty treatments but I find the ones at home especially relaxing. I’m not sure there is a better stress reliever than taking a hot bath with a face mask and deep conditioner soaking in your hair. Maybe you find painting your nails to be the ultimate stress reliever, whatever you fancy these at-home beauty treatments are the perfect way to get centered quickly.
GET OUT INTO NATURE
Sometimes we get so wound up with our day to day routines that we don’t allow enough time with nature. When the weather is great walk a trail, have some patio time, or sit at a park. Listen to the sounds of nature and just unwind.
COOKING SOOTHES THE SOUL
Let me be clear, coming home exhausted from work trying to get dinner on the table with a house full of screaming kids is not stress relieving, it’s probably stress inducing. But when time allows find time to cook, enjoy the art, and savor every moment…and it doesn’t matter what your skill level is. I just find the act of slicing and chopping vegetables so therapeutic, and the sizzle and scents from the kitchen are so satisfying. It’s even more amazing when I crank up some music… Miss Ella Fitzgerald and I have laughed and cried in the kitchen together… in a good way!
FIND A CRAFT OR HOBBY
Having a craft or hobby is such an effective way to manage stress. Go fishing, sew a pillow, paint a picture, heck… even color in a coloring book. Anything that lets you decompress and take your mind off your problems. This may even be a perfect opportunity to help you find a new passion!
REALIZE IT’S OK TO SAY NO
This is a hard one, I try so hard to be a people pleaser. It’s such a great feeling to help people but sometimes it takes a toll on us mentally and even sometimes physically. It’s ok to say no. Let that sink in. We all love helping people but sometimes we need to realize that love and helping people starts with ourselves. If your feeling frazzled and you feel like you can’t do it, it’s ok to be honest and just pass.
The world we live in is overflowing with stress so I hope some or all of these tips can help you! Do you have any tips you would like to share when it comes to stress management? Pay it forward and leave it in the comments below.
I’m so excited to ring in the New Year at the Stanley Hotel New Year’s Eve Ball tonight. Hopefully we’ll get some good photos I can put up on the blog soon, but for now let’s talk DETOX…it’s not even January 1st yet and I’m so ready to get healthy. I really overdid it, food and drink wise, this holiday season, but hey it’s the holidays so I have no regrets! As a result though I haven’t been feeling my best. Like a lot of you I’m ready to transition back to a healthy diet again. This simple vegetable soup is a great way to detox and help you lose a few of those extra holiday pounds. Those of you who hate vegetable soups, let me explain why this one’s a winner.
It’s all about the pureed texture. I can’t say I’m really a fan of plain chunky low calorie vegetable soups, I’ve just never found them satisfying. When you puree this vegetable soup the flavors blend and create a comforting, satisfying texture. Plus it’s incredibly simple to prepare. This soup is packed full of vitamins and minerals and is the perfect way to sneak more veggies into your diet, even my kids like it!
I use a small amount of coconut oil to sauté the onions, but feel free to omit that and use olive oil or even a bit of cooking spray. I also use homemade chicken stock, but feel free to use store bought, just look for the healthiest kind available. One of these days I will get around to blogging about exactly how I make my chicken stock, or broth. I have several methods to make it, I’ll try to make that a January or February blog goal.
In the ingredients below I’ve listed 5-6 cups chicken broth. I typically do 6 cups but it makes the soup a little on the thinner side, it’s thin enough to drink from a cup. However, if you’d like the soup a little thicker just reduce the broth, you can always add more later if you want to thin it out. You can also up the veggies a little if you want.
How do you puree it? The easiest way is with an immersion blender, if you don’t have one you can still make the soup. Just let it cool slightly and carefully transfer it to a blender. If the soup is hot you MUST VENT THE TOP OF THE BLENDER otherwise the heat will pop the top off and make a huge mess. It’s a mistake you’ll only make once! I usually lift the lid and place a paper towel over the top. The immersion blender method is definitely quicker with less mess.
Once the soup is finished we add a nice squeeze of lemon and top with some fresh herbs for extra vitamins and flavor. My favorites are cilantro or Italian flat leaf parsley. I bet chives or green onions would taste great too!
Italian flat leaf parlsley or cilantro for garnish
Heat oil in large soup or sauté pan over high heat.
Add onions cooking 3-4 minutes until slightly soft. Add chicken stock, the remaining vegetables, salt, and pepper. Simmer until vegetables are soft.
Turn off heat and with a hand immersion blender puree until smooth. Add the lemon juice and any additional salt and pepper if needed.
Ladle into a mug or bowl and garnish with herbs before serving.
Any leftovers should keep for several days in the refrigerator, I’m kind of weird about reheating this soup though. I will not microwave it, I’m always worried the microwave will destroy the nutrients. What do you think, will it? I just always insist on heating leftovers on the stove top. I’ve also had good success with freezing small size portions of this soup. Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year and I’ll be back soon with some Colorado updates. Take care!
With a fresh new year just days away it’s time to start making healthy changes. Most of us overdo it around the holidays with treats and cocktails, but I have a simple way for you to take charge of your health, warm water with lemon! This one is a simple change that you can start right now, warm lemon water is so simple to prepare and tastes delicious. So let’s talk about 8 reasons to drink lemon water and I’ll tell you exactly how I prepare mine.
1 FLUSHES TOXINS FROM THE BODY – Lemon juice is similar to our stomach’s digestive juices, it stimulates the liver’s bile production helping to eliminate toxins.
2 AIDS IN WEIGHT LOSS – Lemons are a natural diuretic which can reduce water weight, and they are high in pectin which can suppress the appetite and aid in weight loss.
3 STRENGTHENS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM – Lemons are packed full of vitamins that strengthen the immune system and fight off infections and colds.
4 REDUCES JOINT & MUSCLE PAIN – Lemons are natural anti-inflammatory agents and can help reduce muscle and joint pain by dissolving uric acid.
5 IMPROVES SKIN – High in anti-oxidants, lemons can slow down the aging process by removing free radicals from the body, and the high dose of vitamin C helps clears acne and gives a nice glow to the skin.
6 BALANCES PH LEVELS – Lemons are acidic but alkaline inside the body so they balance the pH levels in our body which in turn helps fight cancer and other diseases.
7 ENHANCES MOOD – The scent and taste of lemons has been proven to lower anxiety, energize us, and boost our mood.
8 LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE – Lemons are a great remedy for hypertension. They make blood vessels soft and pliable, thereby helping to lower blood pressure.
So what’s the best way to make a warm lemon water? It’s simple, take 8 ounces of warm water with half a squeezed lemon. I usually warm my water in the microwave, but you can use the stove top, always add the lemon after heating the water. Why warm water you ask? Cold lemon water is still great for you, but if you aim to improve your metabolism, lose weight, or clear digestion issues warm water has been shown to be more effective. Vitamin C is sensitive to temperature so the water should be warm to slightly hot but not boiling. Add a splash of honey or stevia if you desire, but I like the plain tartness of the lemon.
I always look forward to my lemon water, I find it really soothing. You can drink lemon water any time of day, but it’s especially helpful first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to kickstart our bodies for the day. Make sure to always pick up a bag of lemons from the grocery store so you can enjoy a few delicious cups a day.
Did you realize that such a small change each day can have such a great impact on your overall health? Let’s see how many small changes we can make in 2019 that improve our health and well being!
Staying workout motivated can be HARD, and I find it can be a little more challenging this time of year for me especially as fall approaches. Since we returned from vacation I’ve been trying to get my workout routine going back strong again, but finding motivation can be pretty tough at times. I think we can all relate to that!
Consistently exercising and maintaining your fitness in the fall and winter months is hard, which is what’s led me to this blog post. It’s not just me and it’s not just you, all of us at times struggle with this. Lately I’ve been thinking about all the reasons that tempt me to skip or temporarily stop working out and I’ve tried hard to think of what motivates and encourages me most.
Summer bodies are made in the winter. Let that just sink in for a moment. That’s probably the best most effective fitness advice I’ve ever received. Don’t be in a panic and try to get into shape 6 weeks before summer, you work and build your body in the fall and winter so it’s ready for summer! This is the easy way my friends! Stop thinking about spring as crunch time, the fall and winter seasons are crucial for building and maintaining your health and fitness goals.
Have I motivated you to get moving? Maybe it’s not fall and winter but other times of the year that’s hard for you, these tips will help with any time of the year. Even if I have motivated you, keep reading because we all know motivation wears off! How do we keep moving when when we lose all our motivation? I’ve given this topic a lot of thought, and these are 10 ways to help you keep going.
Surprisingly most people don’t do this. My husband loves Orange Theory, but I hate it with a passion. If you hate your workout it’s only natural you’re going to become a slacker. There is so much variety now with exercise that we can all find the perfect workout. My favorites are pilates reformer classes, I also like to throw in a few mat and yoga classes as well as spinning. Research different gyms and fitness classes in your area, and find one you really do like.
2. FOLLOW FITNESS ACCOUNTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
We’re not all on social media, I myself am taking a big ‘ol detox, but if you are use it to your advantage! Make a point of following the places you workout on social media, or inspirational fitness figures. This way when your browsing Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram you’ll be constantly reminded, inspired, and motivated to stay moving. Plus you can hear about special events and classes at your facility that you may not otherwise know about.
3. JOIN SMALLER FITNESS STUDIOS
Sometimes big fitness facilities can be intimidating or too crowded, I get it. Boutique fitness studios, which are smaller more individualized gyms, are popping up everywhere. I’ve discovered that I perform best in this environment and you might too. Not only are these fitness studios smaller, but they’re also friendlier. It’s much easier to make friends, and at times when I’ve skipped too many classes I’ve had the instructor call or text to ask why I’ve been gone. How’s that for motivation?? I find the classes are usually more creative and then there’s the cancellation fee. Those who aren’t familiar smaller fitness facilities have a cancellation window when booking classes online. They can be anywhere from 4-12 hours, it’s 6 where I go. If I cancel or no-show last minute I’ll pay $10 – hello that’s motivation to go!
4. SET A ROUTINE & STICK TO IT
It might take you a while to find your routine and that’s ok, but you must find one. Maybe you have a crazy work schedule that always changes, you can set a routine for a couple weeks at a time and change it if needed. Just stay with it. Once you find your workout routine and rhythm don’t break it! I speak from experience all it takes is a few skipped workouts until you’re back to couch potato land. Don’t do it.
5. BUY NEW WORKOUT CLOTHES
Laugh if you must, but I’m convinced this works. Working out is kind of a drag anyway and it’s much worse when you have nothing proper to wear, or your wearing the wrong clothing to exercise in. Nothing gets me more excited to exercise than a new workout outfit. Where else can I wear it? A new pair of leggings can make me crave a pilates class, new shoes can make me excited to go walking the neighborhood. Don’t believe me? Try it.
6. EXAMINE YOUR DIET
Diet and exercise go together. Those who think they can eat junk and exercise it off really aren’t seeing the big picture here. It’s only natural to feel sluggish and lazy if you aren’t eating a proper diet. If your having trouble finding motivation, or having problems maintaining stamina while working out, then examine your diet. Our bodies need to move to be healthy, and for our bodies to effectively move they should be properly nourished. Hydration and a healthy balanced diet is crucial.
7. SET A GOAL
It’s human nature we need goals to work toward. Maybe it’s fitting into an old pair of jeans, maybe you want to run a marathon, or maybe your goals are medical related. It helps to have a goal, and once you achieve that goal you can always set a new one. Big or small set a goal, and shred it!
8. REALIZE IT’S ABOUT HEALTH NOT APPEARANCE
It’s not just about how you look, it’s about health and longevity. We can easily get caught up in our appearances, but when it comes down to it exercise isn’t about looking good at the beach or a pair of jeans. It’s about keeping our muscles and organs in top shape, it’s like taking medicine. Our bodies need this to feel good, to function, and to age well – looking good at the beach or in your jeans is just a bonus!
9. FIND A PARTNER
Having a workout partner can be helpful in so many ways. Those who are easily intimidated by new workouts can greatly benefit from a friend by their side. Plus you can encourage and motivate each other, but most importantly you’ll make a commitment to stick to your fitness goals. When one person is feeling lazy then you be the encouragement they need and don’t let them off the hook! Find a friend, family, your husband, kids, or any kind of buddy to partner up with. You’ll also have a little healthy competition.
10. ADD VARIETY
Variety is important, some people can do well with the same workout routine over and over, but most don’t – I don’t. Once your fitness routine gets boring and monotonus it’s just a recipe for disaster. You’ll be looking for any excuse to break your routine. Even if you have a set workout routine try to find new ways to add variety. Those who lift weights, throw in a yoga or barre class, those who love to run consider adding a day to swim laps. Variety is the spice of life.
I hope these tips help you so we can all stay moving this season, happy sweating!
Chances are you’ve already heard of cucumber water, it’s been around a long time, maybe you’ve even tried it at a day spa. Not just cucumber water, but all infused waters have exploded with popularity over the last several years. Not only do they taste great but they’re an easy way to stay hydrated. I must confess though, in the past I’ve never consistently made infused water even though I liked it, I looked at it as just another thing to prepare in the kitchen.
It was towards the end of our 6 week trip in Europe that I began feeling really sick and run down. My sleep schedule was off, my diet was progressively getting worse, and I was having way too much caffeine and alcohol. Not only did I feel sick, it was seriously affecting the quality of my skin too. So during the last week of our trip I decided to find every way possible to improve my diet. Shortly after returning home my diet was back to it’s usual healthy state, but I still wanted to give our normal healthy diet a makeover.
I’ve improved lots of things, but I’ve been the most impressed with cucumber water! I’ve been drinking it daily for about 3 weeks now and I’ve honestly never felt better in my life! It’s not just me either, I have Brian and the girls hooked on it as well. So let’s talk about the numerous benefits of drinking cucumber water and I’ll explain my routine that makes it so easy! Plus I’ve found a few fun topical uses for cucumber water as well!
Let’s start with the most obvious, staying hydrated, our bodies will not function well without proper hydration. People are recommended to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day, yet many of us don’t come close to reaching that goal. The delicious fresh taste of cucumber water will easily aid in your water intake.
Cucumbers, being a natural diuretic, are extremely helpful in flushing out toxins from the body. They help deliver toxins through your urine and aid in cleansing the liver.
HELPS WITH WEIGHT LOSS
Toss sugary and artificially sweetened sodas to the curb. They aren’t good for you and you really don’t need them. Cucumber water makes an excellent drink replacement and helps you feel full. It’s been discovered that when we get cravings to eat, it’s actually just our bodies telling us we need water. Next time you’re hungry try a glass of cucumber water first.
VITAMINS & ANTIOXIDANTS
Cucumbers are rich with vitamins and antioxidants. Vitamin K found in cucumber water boosts bone health, lowers chances of osteoporosis, and plays a strong role in decreasing chances of blood clots, potassium helps to lower blood pressure, and this great source of B vitamins will increase energy. Antioxidants help prevent and delay cell damage, which can lower chronic conditions such as eye degeneration, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. Cucumbers are a member of the cucurbitaceae family of plants and contain high levels of nutrients known as cucurbitacins which may help prevent cancer and stop some cancer cells from surviving. One study from the Journal of Cancer found that it may slow the progression of prostate cancer.
Staying hydrated is key for beautiful skin and seeing wrinkles fade away, but cucumber water can help even more. Healthy skin-supporting vitamins such as vitamin C and minerals like magnesium and silica soothe the skin and give it a youthful glow. The anti-inflammatories naturally present in cucumber water can help clear up any acne problems as well.
SO HOW DO YOU MAKE IT?
It’s so easy, just 2 simple ingredients – cucumbers and water! Why did I think this would be hard? Just take a cucumber, slice it up and add water. It is that simple – I do recommend organic when possible though.
You can absolutely use a knife and slice by hand, your slices don’t need to be perfect, but I prefer the ease of my mandolin – your choice. Sometimes I use a regular glass pitcher, other times I use my special infused pitcher, and sometimes I’ll use both.
TIME AND RATIO
There is no magic formula, it’s basically about you and your tastes, but I can tell you my favorite method. I slice half a cucumber to 2 quarts of water and refrigerate overnight. It’s become a ritual, every few days I make 2 batches of water. I simply slice the washed, unpeeled cucumbers late afternoon or early evening and refrigerate overnight. I find half a cucumber gives me great taste the next morning. If you don’t want to do the overnight method, that’s fine, I recommend at least 4 hours for the water to infuse.
HOW LONG WILL IT KEEP?
After infusing overnight, or shorter to taste, strain and remove the cucumbers. This will increase the shelf life of the infused water. You should keep any unused water in the refrigerator and use within 4 days. When it comes time to removing cucumbers I just pour the infused water through a mesh strainer into a clean container, so easy.
I have a few different containers that I use to make my infused water. The infusion pitcher on the left is specially made to infuse water, it has a special compartment that makes removing the cucumbers very easy, it just unscrews. I also love my glass rectangle containers, that fit nicely in the refrigerator, and unseen is my individual infusion water bottle, it’s great for when you forget to make water on the go or traveling.
You can use your cucumber water topically for benefits too. Sometimes in the morning I’ll take chilled cucumber water and rinse my face, it makes a great gentle morning cleanser. Other times I’ll wet a washcloth with chilled cucumber water – gently squeeze any excess out – and apply to my face for 5 minutes for a soothing natural face mask. Another favorite option is to keep a spray bottle like this in the refrigerator and mist my face when it needs freshening. Remember to discard after 4 days and make a fresh batch.
I’ve experienmented with adding other flavors to cucumber water, but honestly I enjoy just the pure flavor of straight cucumber water. I’m not a fan of lemon water, but I know many people are and they make a great addition as well as mint. I say start with regular cucumber water, and then experiment from there if necessary.
If you haven’t gotten on board with cucumber water, try it and let me know how it goes. My skin is glowing and my energy is up! Cheers to a healthy new you.