Health, Wellness & Beauty, Wellness Wednesday

Wellness Wednesday: How to Develop a Gratitude Practice for a Happier, Healthier Life

If you want more happiness in your life, learn how to develop a gratitude practice. It’s simple, free, and can have profound effects on your life. 

There’s been so much research on the benefits of practicing graditude. It’s pretty hard to ignore, but I will admit that I haven’t had a serious gratitude practice. I’ve done it, here and there. But I’ve never made it a formal practice.

The last time I heard about the benefits of gratitude, the information somehow struck me in a different way. I was listening to Bob Proctor, who is amazing individual that everyone should read, and he said to commit to writing down 10 things, yes 10, that you’re grateful for, every day, as soon as you wake up. 

I’ve always done a mental gratitude practice. In the morning or in the evening before bed, I’d try and name 3 things to be grateful for. It was never written and I can’t say it was something I did every single day without fail. 

In fact, I usually did my gratitude practice when I was feeling down or upset about something. I’d use it as a way to perk myself up to see that there were actually many good things going on in my life. I just needed to look for them. I still recommend this way of practicing, but I was curious to take things a step further.

I wondered what would happen if I truly committed to a gratitude every day?

Before we jump into all the benefits, let’s first talk about how to establish a gratitude practice.

How to Develop a Gratitude Practice 

As I mentioned, I used to just think about things to be grateful for whenever I remembered. Some days I’d forget. When I did remember, it would often be a reaction to a bad mood and I’d just be looking for gratitude to get me out. 

Once I started a regular gratitude practice, I found the bad moods didn’t come as often. I learned to get ahead of the negativity curve, and start my own positive status quo.

Write It Out

I really recommend putting pen to paper to get the most out of starting a gratitude practice. It’s so much more powerful to write down what you’re grateful for as opposed to just thinking about it. And yeah, ditch the electronics for this. No one needs more screen time. 

I have a little notebook and pen on my bedside table. I practically graze my hand on the notebook after I hit my alarm so it’s pretty easy to remember to do it.

I put the date at the top of the page and then just have a numbered list from 1 to 10 with a word or phrase next to each number.  

Each entry doesn’t have to be super long, but if you’re a freeform thinker and love journaling, then write as much as you like. If you’re already a little unsure if you can commit to starting a gratitude practice, then start with a simple list.

When I started my gratitude practice, all of my yoga teachers, my mail carrier, and delivery people got an even heavier dose of verbal appreciation from me. The unseen trash people, farmers, and delivery people have also been getting silent praise as well.

Sit Quietly

If you can sit quietly for a few minutes after you create your gratitude list to soak it in, all the better.

I put the date at the top of the page and then just have a numbered list from 1 to 10 with a word or phrase next to each number.  

When I started my gratitude practice, all of my yoga teachers, my mail carrier, and delivery people got an even heavier dose of verbal appreciation from me. The unseen trash people, farmers, and delivery people have also been getting silent praise as well.

Sit Quietly

If you can sit quietly for a few minutes after you create your gratitude list to soak it in, all the better.

Notice where the gratitude lives in your body. I’m gonna guess your heart is going to be all warm and tingly. Feel it and get even more grateful for the happy sensation.

Should a conflict arise later in the day causing tightness in your chest, try and tap back into that feel-good heart gratitude sensation. Hopefully that will cause the tightness to soften and you can reframe the situation and find something else to be grateful for.

Set the Tone for the Day

Starting your day with a gratitude practice gets you off on the right foot and that’s why I recommend writing your list in the morning.

When the first thing you think of when you wake up is all the things you’re grateful for, instead of how much you hate your job, trust me, you’re going to have a different day. 

I found that throughout the day, I wanted to add to the list. After about a week, I found myself looking for more things to write down. And you know what? I was finding them….everywhere.

What to be Grateful For

If you’re thinking 10 things to be grateful for everyday seems like a lot, start small. Really small. 

Ideally you’re waking up in a bed, with a structure over your head, and sheets, and blankets. You just nailed #1-4. Yes, those count.

One of the big shifts I noticed is how many things I take for granted….until something happens. For instance, I cut my pinky finger while whipping up a new recipe and it was catching on everything. Every time it caught, I’d think, dang, that little finger.  

After regularly doing this gratitude practice, my attention shifted to, I’m so happy that I have 9 working fingers. Why on earth would I spend any time and angst on one little scrape on such a small part of my body, but folks, this is what we do. This is how we live our lives! 

We see the little scrape and start beating up the poor little pinkies of the world, instead of stepping back and seeing the bigger picture. I find when you can focus on things outside of your tiny bubble, you can realize how good you’ve got it.

So start small with your gratitude list. Repeat the same items every day if you want. Soon though, you’ll begin seeing more and more wonderful things in your life. I know I wanted to add to my list at night or during the day as I discovered more to appreciate.

That’s the law of attraction at work right there. The more goodness you see, the more will find you. I’m going to need a bigger notebook. 

Share Your Gratitude Practice

Don’t believe me? I invite you to try this written gratitude practice for at least 14 days and see how you feel. Hashtag So start small with your gratitude list. Repeat the same items every day if you want. Soon though, you’ll begin seeing more and more wonderful things in your life. I know I wanted to add to my list at night or during the day as I discovered more to appreciate.

That’s the law of attraction at work right there. The more goodness you see, the more will find you. I’m going to need a bigger notebook. 

Share Your Gratitude Practice

Don’t believe me? I invite you to try this written gratitude practice for at least 14 days and see how you feel.

It really only takes a few minutes. It’s not going to hurt you. In fact, I do believe it can have profound effects on your life if you’re open.

Have a friend join you. Practice with your family at meal times. Commit to it and watch the changes come.

I talk about all of the benefits of gratitude in my next post, but I first wanted to get you set you up with the specifics on how to set up a gratitude practice. Then we’ll dive into the results of starting such a simple, but powerful daily exercise.

I’d love to hear your feedback if you’re just starting or are already doing a regular gratitude practice. Hashtag: #tiugratitude.

It really only takes a few minutes. It’s not going to hurt you. In fact, I do believe it can have profound effects on your life if you’re open. 

Have a friend join you. Practice with your family at meal times. Commit to it and watch the changes come.

I’d love to hear your feedback if you’re just starting or are already doing a regular gratitude practice.

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Health, Wellness & Beauty, Wellness Wednesday

Wellness Wednesday: Intermittent Fasting

Hi Friends! Well I finally did it, I hopped on the Intermittent Fasting (IF) train. I’ve been following Lauren Gleisberg workouts for a few months and she recommends to pair them with IF.What is It

Intermittent Fasting is alternating intervals of eating and fasting. Most commonly, the fasting period is 16 hours with the remaining 8 hours spent eating. Basically, as soon as you consume food you “break your fast” and your 8 hour interval begins.

How It Works

IF is an effective fat loss technique because it allows the body to switch from burning sugar/carbs to burning fat for its primary energy source. When you eat, the body begins to digest by breaking down food into smaller components to be used within the body.

Part of what we eat is immediately used. The excess food is saved as storage to be used for energy at a later time. Our bodies actually have a preferred order that it follows when looking for energy, glycogen (carb storage) is first and fat last. When too much time is spent in the eating interval, our body has enough glycogen to serve as energy so it won’t look elsewhere (such as fat stores).

Fasting allows your body to shift so it turns to existing fat stores to burn up as fuel.

Basically by increasing the interval in which we do not eat, we allow our bodies to use fat as fuel.

When we eat, the body begins the process of digestion: breaking down food into smaller components to be used within the body. Some of what we eat is immediately utilized. Excess food is saved as storage to be used for energy at a later time. Weight and fat gain is the results of too much food and “storage energy. Our bodies actually prefers glycogen first when looking for energy and fat last.

When too much time is spent in the eating interval, the body has enough glycogen to serve as energy so it doesn’t look worse where (such as fat stores). When you fast it allows for this shift in which the body turns to our existing fat stores to burn up as fuel.

To sum it all up…. if we keep replenishing our glycogen (carb) stores – such as through eating – our bodies will be less and less likely to burn up fat! By increasing the time we do not eat, we allow our bodies to use fat as fuel.Lauren suggest combing IF with weight training for best fat loss results.

Benefit of Intermittent Fasting

  • Reduction of Body Fat
  • Improved Cellulite
  • Inflammation Reduction
  • Mental Clarity
  • Improved Energy
  • Self Control
  • Breaking Down Your Eating Schedule
  • Experts suggest 8 hours of eating, 16 hours of fasting. For me eating 11am-7pm (eating) 7pm-11am (fasting works best). I suggest slowly adjusting to your fasting schedule.
  • Eventually you will get to 8 hours of eating 16 hours of fasting.
  • 8 Hours of Eating
  • The second you eat or consume food you “break your fast”.
  • 16 hours of Fasting
  • After your eating window closes your fasting window opens.
  • I am not a licensed dietician, nor medical doctor, nor fitness expert. The purpose of this blog is to share my experience with weightloss, fitness and life in general and to offer a little entertainment along the way. If you are seeking a professional opinion on how you should achieve your goals, you should consult a professional. 

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    Health, Wellness & Beauty, Lifestyle, Skincare

    My Skincare Routine

    Happy Tuesday! Today, I wanted to talk about my skincare routine as so many of you have asked what I use! Generally speaking, I do not have a super time consuming routine and tend to only focus on a few products. I also drink plenty of water during the day, which I believe helps a lot, and I ALWAYS wash my face in the morning and at night.

    My Skin Type

    Let’s talk skin- I would say I have dry skin as certain areas can become quite dry (around my nose and mouth). As a teenager, I never had really had severe acne, but I will say that I did have mild acne with pimples mainly on my forehead and chin.

    I am very conscious about taking care of my skin and try to do small things to limit aging! I drink water constantly and try to get in at least 64 ounces per day. Fun fact- I hate sugary drinks like juice and soda and avoid them at all costs. I also never let my face in the sun- if I am laying out, I will cover my face with a towel or have a hat on. I think that limiting sun exposure, drinking fluids, and keeping your face moisturized (plus some good genetics- thanks mom and dad) can definitely help to fight the signs of aging!

    Skincare Routine

    About ago, I noticed my favorite bloggers were all using the same product, Tula. Being a beauty junkie and hearing so many people talk highly about this skincare brand, I jumped and bought some of their products! I did a little research and learned that TULA uses probiotics in all of their products. Basically, probiotics are the “good bacteria” we want in our bodies to help keep everything working like it should. By incorporating probiotics into their skincare, TULA’s products have been clinically proven to balance your skin, lock in moisture, and leave your complexion more hydrated and less inflamed. I was so excited to start using these products!

    Guys, I am not kidding you when I say that the first time I used their face cleanser, my skin was immediately so soft and glowing! I even made my mom use the face cleanser too haha! I started using a few other of their products including the Aqua Infusion Power Liquid, Pro-Glycolic 10% pH Resurfacing Gel, and the Hydrating Day and Night Cream and under eye stick. The power liquid is a super hydrating gel that always leaves my skin more dewy! The resurfacing gel helps to tone and exfoliate my skin, while removing excess oil (thank you!) and debris. Lastly, the day and night cream is a super thick product that is extremely hydrating (a little dab with do ya!). And finally the under eye Glow and Get it stick contains caffeine which instantly wakes up your tired eyes.

    Morning Routine

    First, I wash my face with the cleanser using my Clarisonic, then I apply the resurfacing gel with a cotton ball, then I apply the power liquid and last I eye the under eye glow and get it stick. I let my face completely dry and then start applying my makeup.

    Nighttime Routine

    At night, I do the same steps above, but at the end I apply the hydrating cream. Sometimes, I will just put the cream on a few of my more dry spots (around my nose and mouth), but other times I will just put it all over my face! 

    Below, I linked each of the items that I use!

    Masks

    About once a week, I try to do some type of face mask- typically on Sunday nights. My favorite face mask is this one– I love how my skin feels afterwards and I really do think it helps to unclog my pores. I feel like with so many masks I really don’t notice a difference afterwards, but I always notice that my skin looks better once I have used this mask. Although I will try out other masks, I always come back to this one. One of my other favorites include this one here.

    For those of you that would like to try out TULA, I would recommend starting off with one of their “starter packs.” These packs come with smaller, travel-size products so you are able to try the products for less! TULA has three different starter packs including the discovery kit (the one I started with), the clear complexion kit (for those struggling with acne), and the anti-aging discovery kit (for those who want more anti-aging products). 

    Over the last few months, I have definitely noticed that my skin is more supple, dewy, and radiant. I feel more confident not wearing makeup and am so happy with how my skin has transformed. I would highly recommend trying out these products if you are looking to switch up your skincare routine! *As a side note, this is not a sponsored post- I genuinely love these products and wanted to share them with you all!

    If you try out TULA, let me know how it goes! I would love to hear your thoughts on it and how much you love it! 

    As always, thank you for reading and sharing!

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    Health, Wellness & Beauty, Wellness Wednesday

    Wellness Wednesday: Why I started using the Billie Razor


    I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve really been enjoying our Wellness Wednesday series every week! If you’re new around here, you can catch up on all of our Wellness Wednesday posts here. Today’s post is a little unique and to be honest, is covering a topic I hadn’t given much thought prior to connecting with the brand. But the more I learned about Billie – their product, their purpose – the more I realized just how important it was for me to try + share with y’all!

    It may seem pretty random to dedicate an entire blog post to the razor I use, but hear me out. There are parts of my beauty routine that I put a lot of thought, research, and care into. When it comes to beauty and skincare, I won’t use just anything – I’m pretty sure y’all know that by now. I really scrutinize the products I put on my face from foundation to moisturizer. I have tested out every concealer and self-tanner under the sun. I’m super particular about hair products and tools. But when it comes to shaving my legs? I literally just grab whatever razor has the most appealing packaging and seems most familiar to me. I don’t pay close attention to ingredients, pricing, or anything like that. SO when I had the opportunity to learn more about Billie, I decided it was definitely worth a look. I mean, if not every foundation is created equally, that same logic probably applies to razors, right?

    All about the Billie brand 

    Billie is a female-first brand that delivers both razors and body products (of amazing quality!) at a super discounted price. I had honestly never thought of getting my razors delivered, but then I realized just how convenient and, tbh, sanitary this is. (Am I the only one who forgets to regularly replace their razors/cartridges?!) A key part of the Billie brand, which I love, is the belief that women not only desire the same quality as men when it comes to shaving, but that it should be available at a reasonable price point too. If you think about it, when you hear about ‘quality shaving companies’ you most likely don’t think about products and services aimed at women. You think of guys taking care of their faces/beards, etc. You can read more about their brand and mission here.

     The products + my personal review

    When I received my Starter Kit a couple of months ago it contained the razor base/handle, magic holder (super convenient!), and two 5-blade razor cartridges. I also got some of the body products to test out and review, too. The Billie razor is uniquely designed to give you a close shave without being harsh on your skin. I have super sensitive skin and didn’t have any issues with any of the Billie products. My skin was insanely smooth and soft, and I didn’t have any bumps or irritation after shaving. Seriously y’all, it gives you the BEST shave! The blades are actually framed with aloe so I found that to be extra soothing on my skin. Another thing I love about the razor and all of the products is that they are totally toxin-free and made with natural, high quality ingredients.

    I also tried out some of the Billie body products: the lotionthe shave cream, and the body wash. All of their products are made with natural ingredients and the price point is extremely reasonable (the lotion is only $12). My fave was probably the lotion because my skin needs all the hydration it can get, but I honestly loved all of them! Every products smells AMAZING and is designed with the goal of leaving your skin smooth, hydrated, and healthy.

    How the Billie subscription services work 

    When you sign up for the Billie razor service, they’ll deliver your Starter Kit which includes a razor handle, magnetic razor holder, and two razor cartridges for $9. The price point is seriously unreal, especially for the quality! Then, Billie will send you four replacement cartridges however often you need them for $9. Another amazing part is you don’t have to pay for shipping! Shipping is free and you can always add on other products to your orders – like the body lotion, super luxe shaving cream, etc. It’s really that simple! You can get started by ordering your starter kit here.

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    Health, Wellness & Beauty, Makeup Routines

    Updated Summer Makeup Tutorial

    Happy Monday ladies! It was beautiful here over the weekend so I enjoyed the beach and pool and got some reading done. I’m currently reading The Last Mrs. Parish by Liv Constantine and really enjoying it. It’s defiantly a page-turner.

    I realized that my last makeup tutorial was filmed nearly 6 months ago, so I decided it was time to update it in case you missed it, I shared a full tutorial today on Instagram stores (and it will be saved to my highlights too!). I decided to also add a blog post here on my site, in case anyone preferred to read more about products and why I love them!

    I wanted to also create a post here with a list full of the products I use in order that I use them:

    1. After washing and drying my face, I first apply this primer to help my skin look radiant and glowy.
    2. I apply this foundation (shade NC41) with this powder brush all over my face – don’t forget to blend your neck too!
    3. I apply this under eye brightening corrector (in shade light to medium ) to brighten my under eye. I usually just use my finger to apply.
    4. I apply this concealer (shade NW32) underneath my eyes and on any blemishes I may have. I use a dampened beauty blender to blend the product into my skin.
    5. Next, I set my face with this setting powder and this powder brush.
    6. I fill my brows with this (in the shade medium brown).
    7. One of my favorite products for summer is this eyeshadow palette – I typically apply it in this order: first color all over my lids and under brow bone with this brush, 7th color to outer corner with this brush. This color to the center and fourth color in crease with this brush and blend it all together with this brush.
    8. I apply this eyeliner (in the color jet black) to my upper line and out a bit for more of a ‘cat-eye’ look.
    9. I go back to my eyeshadow palette and apply the very last color on my right to my bottom lashes from the end to the middle with this brush.
    10. I use this primer to my eye lashes and then apply this mascara. I apply 3-4 coats and really get the mascara from the root of my leashes to the end.
    11. I use this bronzer (in the shade rich amber) with this brush to contour my face. I focus the product along my hairline, my cheekbones, and jaw line. I will also try to carve out my chin by applying some product on either side of my chin (watch my instastories if this sounds confusing!).
    12. I apply blush using this brush on the apples of my cheeks. I have this blush (in Gentle) and this blush (in orgasm) and alternate between the two.
    13. For the night, I will also add some highlighter in the color Radiant Light on my cheekbones, bridge of my nose, and the cupid’s bow of my lips – I use this brush.
    14. I will use this brush and apply this setting powder one last time to set the whole look .
    15. I have been using this lipstick in the color Kylie all summer and have been loving it!

    Below, I have included all of my holy grail makeup products. I have been using 85% of these products for nearly 2 years, so I definitely can vouch for every product – they are all amazing! I also included all of the makeup brushes I use – each brush is from Sigma and I have been using these brushes for years.

    Makeup

    Makeup Brushes

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    Fitness, Health, Wellness & Beauty, Tone It Up

    Tone It Up Summer Series Review

    Hi Girls! Last week the Tone It Up Summer Series ended. During the previous six weeks I stuck the nutrition plan and did the studio Tone It Up workouts. Here’s a review of the series and my before and after.

    THE FOOD

    Losing weight starts in the kitchen. Seriously. It’s all what you eat. I know that it sucks to hear that, because I love food, but I can honestly say that I lost over 15 pounds by just eating healthier. (I wasn’t great about following the workouts, but more on that later.) When you sign up for the summer series, you get an email with a few healthy recipes, but I found most of my recipes in the Tone It Up nutrition plan.

    LEAN, CLEAN and GREEN

    Foods that you should expect to eat during the Summer Series are all supposed to be lean, clean and green. No additives, no junk food and very little fat. Some of my favorite recipes are:
    COCONUT KALE BEAUTY SMOOTHIE for a quick and easy breakfast!

    TURKEY MEATBALLS with ZUCCHINI NOODLES is an awesome and easy dinner that can double as lunch the next day!!!

    My favorite snacks are hard boiled eggs, protein bars, almonds with Craisins and even apples with natural peanut butter.

    Tone It Up has a nutrition plan you can buy. The plan is filled with nutrition tips and healthy recipes. I followed the plan about 80% of the time.

    THE WORKOUTS

    The workouts were AMAZING. Everyday there is a 20 to 30 minute workout to do. It’s quick and targeted so that each day you workout one muscle group. I looked forward to the daily workouts and enjoyed several of them. Unfortunately, you need to purchase the Studio Tone It Up app in over to get the workouts. It’s like the Netflix of workouts, hundreds of workouts available at any time. The cost is $12.99 per month or you can save a little money and pay for the entire year upfront.

    MY EXPERIENCE

    Overall, I enjoyed the Summeri Series. I love the online community on Instagram and felt both encouraged and inspired by the entire Tone It Up team. Checking in on Instagram helped hold me accountable, my Instagram username is Megan Motivates.

    The food I ate was mostly part of the “Tone It Up Nutrition Plan,” and followed the same guidelines as the plan (lean, clean, green) and I never felt hungry or deprived. I drank alcohol, ate chocolate and pizza, and even had a piece of birthday cake. After eating clean for so long, I didn’t crave those bad foods and actually felt a little sick when I did indulge. I will definitely continue to eat this way, although I will probably start to eat larger portions when I reach my goal weight. (Still have 10 more pounds to go!)

    I have been doing the the workouts daily and also have been doing Lauren Gleasberg’s 3.0 home workout plan 5 x per week.. I learned that I REALLY enjoy weight lifting and so I plan to continue weight liftings while working in some chosen Tone It Up daily.

    BEFORE and AFTER

    Overall I lost 6 pounds during the Summer Series. I notice it most in my stomach. Here are my before and after picture.

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    Beachbody, Fitness, Health, Wellness & Beauty

    Workouts On Demand

    When someone mentions Beachbody, whether you’re familiar with the workouts or not, you probably think of P90X, Tony Horton, and maybe Insanity with Shaun T.

    You also might think of using a DVD player to watch these workouts.

    That is sooooo 2008.

    In 2015 with a great, forward-thinking move for the company, Beachbody officially joined the video streaming world.  Seeing the societal shift towards streaming technology like the Amazon Fire Stick, Google Chromecast, Roku, and our smartphones, they decided to ditch the DVD’s and allow people access to their popular workouts via smart technology.  They still produce and sell the DVD’s that made the company so popular in the home fitness market, but now offer streaming workouts in addition to the DVD’s and let me tell you it’s like the Netflix of fitness.

    The streaming techonology allows customers access to over 700 workouts, including the entire library of Beachbody workouts while the company enjoys your payment on an annual basis rather than once every few years with a DVD workout. Win-win for everyone.

    WHAT IT GIVES YOU

    Like I stated before, Beachbody On Demand is a streaming workout video service.  It gives you access to over 700 workouts produced by Beachbody.  You get access to popular programs like these…

    • P90X
    • Insanity
    • P90X 2
    • P90X 3
    • Piyo
    • T25
    • 21 Day Fix

    And many, many more.  In addition to these and several other workouts, you’ll get access to Beachbody’s expert trainers.  Including Tony Horton, ShaunT, Chalene Johnson, Autumn Calabrese, and many others.

    You can access the workouts with any streaming device: the Fire Stick, Chromecast, Roku, or any streaming device, including your iPad, tablet, and computer. I currently use a Roku TV to stream my workouts.

    There is a Beachbody On Demand app that makes access to the workouts really easy.  They put a lot of thought into the app and have convenient navigation features that make it super easy and fun to use.

    For example…when you open the app on your phone you immediately see two things.  First is a personalized welcome message telling you to get back to the workout you most recently finished.  And second, is a number that tells you how many other Beachbody On Demand subscribers are currently using the app to workout.  A cool feature that tells me that I’m not the only one languishing through a workout at 5 AM.

    As you scroll down through the app you’ll see “Recently Watched” workouts, then the complete library of workouts which I think is organized by their current, most popular programs.Finally you reach the workouts organized by trainer where you can choose your workout based on your favorite Beachbody fitness personality.  Similar to the workout programs, I think this is organized by popularity.

    One more nice feature of the app is that you can stream the workouts or download.  If you download the workouts they are saved within the app and available with easy access at any time.  This is a nice feature because my internet connection isn’t the greatest in my basement home gym, so the streaming tends to buffer.  If I download a workout I don’t have this problem.

    If you like to monitor your heart rate while exercising, the BBOD even has an option to sync each workout to your heart rate monitor or fitness tracker.  You can sync the workouts to your Apple Watch or Wahoo Tickr X heart rate monitor.  I personally don’t use heart rate monitors so I  can’t tell you how well this works, but it is a nice additional feature.

    THE EXTRAS

    For each of the workout programs you’ll get access to the workout calendars, fitness guides, nutrition plans, and progress trackers.  Basically everything that comes with the DVD’s, you’ll be able to download immediately for quick and convenient access.

    THE PRICE

    For access to this service you have a few options.

    • One time payment of $99 ($8.25/month), with a 30 day risk free trial
    • 2 payments a year of $59 ($9.84/month), with a 30 day risk free trial
    • 4 payments a year of $39 ($13/month), with the first 14 days free


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    Health, Wellness & Beauty, Wellness Wednesday

    Wellness Wednesday: Isles of Paradise Self Tanning Drops

    Genetics are a funny thing, aren’t they? I got my dark, thick,  hair and giant deep set eyes from my 100% Italian father’s side.I’ve got the same build as many of the women in my father’s family, as well as some of the characteristics of my 100% Italian maternal grandmother. One half  of my DNA is Italian, and I think that’s pretty obvious when you look at me or notice my absolute inability to talk without my hands flying around.

    But then there’s my skin color. That’s where my 50% Irish side comes in. I have light skin with freckles. I’m not the lightest of the foundation shades, but no one is calling my skintone “medium.” I can (and have) tanned to a solid Medium before, but my time fighting cancer over the last four years made me put an end to my beach days without sunscreen and a huge umbrella and hat. (I also know that sun damage is the number one way to speed visible signs of aging on the skin, so vanity plays a part in my decision.)

    The problem is that I love the look of a tan on me. I feel like with my very dark brown hair, almost-black eyebrows and brown eyes, I should have darker skin. I think I was meant to have a darker skintone, but there was a glitch. With my hair, brow and eye coloring and the fact that people who look like me often have medium skintones, it only seems right that my skintone is bumped up a few levels.

    Me as a Baby

    And oh, how I have tried to get there. I’ve used self tanning lotions, sprays, gels, mousses, gradual tanners and towelettes. I’ve done spray tans, both the airbrush and machine kinds. I’ve been orange, I’ve been streaky, I’ve been patchy and I’ve smelled like I bathed in DHA. I’ve gotten good results from airbrush spray tans, but I hate the way they look when they start wearing off. Until recently, I’ve relied on St Tropez Tanning Mousse (one for the body, one for the face). Anyway, I recently realized that St. Tropez was starting to turn me an orange color. I am not sure if they changed the ingredients but I am not the same color I use to be when I use it.

    I checked online at Sephora.com, and saw Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops were the top rating tanning lotion. You add these drops into your regular face and/or body moisturizers and they tan you up. They come in Light, Medium and Dark shades. I went with Medium, because that’s the skintone I was meant to have, remember? I immediately did a small patch test.

    While I was patching, I read through Sephora reviews of these self tanning drops in Medium. Still, I waited 24 hours after patching to make sure I didn’t have a reaction. and I liked the color. I didn’t, so on Night 1, I added one drop of the product to my Tula Day and Night Moisturizer and applied it to my face, neck and ears. I noticed a slight smell, but it wasn’t horrible and didn’t linger. It did feel sticky on my skin, but not too bad. I didn’t notice any color of my pillowcase the next morning either.

    When I woke up the next morning, I was tan. Not orange and not streaky, and a good shade for my skin. I didn’t put face makeup on that day, because I wanted to have plenty of opportunities to inspect it and see if the color developed more (and I think it did, a little).

    On Night 2, I was ready to conquer my body. For my body, I first dispensed enough of my moisturizer to cover one arm. Then I add six drops of the product to my moisturizer, mix it together and apply. I match the amount for my other arm. Then do the same amount of moisturizer and five drops of the product to apply to my stomach and back. For my legs, I dispense the amount of moisturizer I would normally use for one leg and foot and add six drops of product. Then I repeat on the other leg.

    The Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops instructions say to add between 1 – 12 drops to your moisturizer. That’s a huge range! My suggestion is to start with one drop, see how it develops, then add two the next time, three after, and so on until you find your perfect mix. I am currently using four drops to every pump and a half of face moisturizer (which is the normal amount of moisturizer I apply to my face, neck and ears.

    As far as packaging goes, A+. I like the design, the top stays on securely and the dropper works. No complaints there.


    Me and Mom in Mexico when I was very tan!

    A few suggestions I have for you after you patch test:

    Exfoliate First. If exfoliation is not contraindicated with any skincare you are using, a good exfoliation before you apply the self tanner will help it look more even as it develops, as it won’t catch on any dry patches or dead skin.

    Start Small. Again, start with the minimum amount of drops and add more each day until you achieve the color you want. It’s important to start with the minimum, as the few bad reviews I read seemed to be because the reviewers jumped right in with five or six drops and it sounds like they also didn’t use enough moisturizer.

    Keep It Up. To maintain the color, I would alternate days of your moisturizer alone with the same amount of drops and moisturizer you used to get the tan. The moisturizer alone with help keep the skin hydrated so the tan doesn’t get patchy as you shed dead skin cells, and the every-other-day application of the self tanner and moisturizer will keep your shade of tan as is so it won’t fade.

    Mix It Up. You need to realllyyyyy mix the self tanner drops into your moisturizer. If you don’t do that, you will get an uneven tan. After the moisturizer and drops are in the palm of your hand, stir them together with your other hand or rub your hands together for about 15 seconds to ensure they’ve melded into one product.

    Don’t Be Stingy. Once you have your self tanner moisturizer cocktail ready, make sure you apply a generous amount everywhere. The best way to get streaky is to use only the little that’s left on your hands to apply to an area. When you can feel it dragging as you apply, you are making the streaks happen. I know better, and I still did that one night while using these drops. I dispensed a little less moisturizer then I meant to, so although I evenly covered my face, I didn’t get enough on my neck (and my neck is notoriously bad with self tanner to begin with). I woke up to some patchy areas on my neck where I hadn’t applied enough moisturizer. Did the same thing on one arm too. I think with any type of self tanning lotion, it’s best to use a little more than you think you need to ensure that it gets everywhere.

    Take Your Time. Spend some time rubbing the cocktail in. I haven’t noticed any transfer on my sheets, even though I usually tan right before bed, and I think that’s because I spend a lot of time rubbing in the product so it really absorbs into my skin. I massage it in until I can’t feel anything on my skin, which usually takes several minutes. But I think it is a key factor in getting an even self tan.

    The Easiest Part. Wash your hands after applying. This stuff will stain your palms if you don’t.

    As far as color, the Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops give me the same type of color I have when I used to get real tans. Not orange, not olive, not red. Just 33 Year Old Megan tan. I don’t know if the drops react with your body chemistry and give you the type of tan you normally get, or if the color they give happens to be the same color I tan, but they work perfectly on me. If you are concerned about the color, you could try a bigger swatch of color on your stomach or somewhere that isn’t visible when you have on your everyday clothes to see how the color develops on you. My point is, I can only give you my experience with this color, and that may be impacted by my undertone and the way my skin looks when it really tans. But judged off the many reviews I’ve read and pictures I’ve seen, the Medium shade in particular seems to work on a lot of people.

    The Medium drops have a green tint, which they claim is color correcting, as green cancels out redness. I don’t typically have any redness in my skin and I’m not convinced you can get color correction from a self tanner, but I can’t say for sure since I didn’t have any redness to start with. So jury is out on the color correction.

    I really don’t have anything bad to say about this product! As long as I apply it correctly, it gives me exactly the type of tan I want. I am loving the Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops!

    Have a beautiful day !

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    Health, Wellness & Beauty

    Healthy Benefits of Celery Juice & 2 Easy Methods to Make It

    Hi Friends,

    Celery Juice! It’s all the rage right now! I first heard about it when I was browsing the internet and came across Kelly and Victoria the bloggers behind Wilson Gabrielle. Kelly is a celery juice devotee. She swears by it and I had a juicer in the basement collecting dust. I figured why not try it.

    By now ‘ve been drinking celery juice on an empty stomach 30 minutes before my morning smoothie for about a month now. Prior to drinking celery juice everyday I suffered from severe IBS. So severe that I often went to the bathroom twice a month. Now I go regularly, almost daily sometimes. Prior to drinking celery juice I had bad acid reflux. I was taking Prilosec daily to control it, I no longer have to take Prilosec. Prior to drinking celery juice I felt bloated and swollen, I no longer feel bloated and swollen. These are just a few of the benefits I have noticed from drinking my daily celery juice.

    Medical Medium is the leader behind this craze. He shares a lot of incredible success and healing stories of people who have been drinking the juice daily. Amazing and mind-blowing healing stories. People who are truly suffering from awful diseases drink celery juice every single day and felt better. WHAT?

    Photo Credit

    CELERY JUICE HEALTH BENEFITS

    • The research shows that there definitely are proven health benefits of drinking celery juice. Celery has powerful anti-inflammatory effects, as shown by this study, due to the phytosterol and unidentified polar substances.

    • These anti-inflammatory properties can help with acid reflux, bloating, IBS, constipation, acne, eczema, and other inflammation issues in the body. (I AM PROOF OF THIS!)

    • Because of celery’s diuretic properties (high water content) and the fact that it contains magnesium, phthalides, and potassium, celery may actually help those with high blood pressure.

    • Celery juice is very high in vitamin K which promotes general bone and heart health.

    • It is high in vitamin C, which is critical for your immune system.

    • Note that I am obviously not a doctor. Always do your own research. Sources are linked within the text above.

    HOW TO MAKE CELERY JUICE

    Below, I included instructions both for making celery juice in a juicer and in a blender. I prefer the juicing method simply because I don’t have to bother straining and I had a juicer.

    I bought this Breville juicer years ago because it is cheaper than other juicers and had good reviews. It’s also pretty easy to clean – many of the parts of dishwasher safe.I have had it for at least 7 years so you know it won’t break after a few uses.

    When using a juicer, you simply put the celery in the hole and the juice comes out the sprout. I use a plastic grocery bag in the “garbage” plastic so I have less to clean up. I throw out the plastic bag and wash the other parts. It only takes 1-2 minutes to clean up.


    The second way to make celery juice is with a blender and strainers. I recommend using a more powerful blender like a Vitamix because you need to break the celery down. You will also need to strain it. A nutbag would be fine, but I personally prefer using a mesh strainer. It’s quicker and easier to clean.

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    Cancer, Fitness, Health, Wellness & Beauty, Lifestyle

    Never Giving Up

    As many of you know I broke my hip in July and had a complete hip replacement. From the moment I broke my hip I promised myself I would not let this stop me from doing what I love, working out. After my surgery the surgeon told me I can leave the hospital when I can climb stairs without a walker. Well the day after my surgery I was not only climbing stairs without my walker I was walking as well. But let me tell you my hips were tight. I mean really tight like can’t even bend over to pick up a piece of paper tight.

    Fast forward to September I was back doing my studio Tone It Up workouts and looking for more. I began taking yoga class once a week and started to gain some flexibility back. Then in December I purchased my Pelaton bike, and just this week I took my first barre class in over two years. It felt so good to be back.

    And guess what? I can pick up a piece of paper. In fact, when I bend over I can almost touch the ground. You see, I wasn’t going to let this injury stop me from doing what I love. Just like I am not going to let the cancer stop me from living my life. I will never stop fighting because life is too precious to give up hope. So next time you say I can’t, change that can’t into can and you will!

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