Tips For Clear, Healthy Skin

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Here are just a few tips I've picked up for maintaining clear, healthy, glowing skin!

1. Eat clean. A diet full of whole, unprocessed foods will do wonders for your skin by eliminating chemicals and other nasty things. Nourishing your body with fruits, veggies, and clean, whole foods will leave your skin glowing in no time!

2. Sweat it out. Exercise will not only make you healthier overall, but it will leave your skin looking better too! Try kick-starting your day with a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) work out, followed by a veggie, fruit, and protein packed smoothie, and people will be clamoring to know your secret for that beautiful glow!

3. Treat Yo Self. If you can, treat your skin to a relaxing and rejuvenating facial. Not only is it important to pamper yourself from time to time, but facials are so good for the health of your skin. They help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and blemishes. 

4. Drink up! This is something of a no brainer in this day and age, but, in case you need a friendly reminder, DRINK MORE WATER. Try to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water every day, as a general rule of thumb. For example, if you weigh 150lbs, try to drink 75oz of water each day. Staying hydrated is the BEST way to keep your skin clear and beautiful, and to get that coveted dewey glow!

5. What goes on goes in. Your skin is an organ...did you know that? It's a big organ. And it absorbs whatever you put on it. That means that every lotion that you apply, every bit of makeup, every facial cleanser or mask... everything gets absorbed into your body through your skin. Including all of the chemicals in them. These chemicals can lead to allergic reactions, breakouts, dryness, etc... So, a good thing to try is to use natural skin products whenever possible, and be sure to remove all makeup before you go to bed at night to give your skin time to breathe and regenerate itself. I will post some of my favorite skin care products soon, so keep checking back!

What are some of YOUR favorite tips to get beautiful skin? Share in the comments below!

Tips To Eat Healthier

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Eating healthy is so important for a number of reasons, most of which you have probably heard many times before. Healthy, clean, natural, unprocessed foods keep your body working in tip-top shape, helping you to stay at your physical and mental best. I don't have to tell you how important this is for an active person. Fueling your body and your mind with healthy foods will help you to push farther, and stay strong through your workout, hike, or just your daily life in general.

But eating healthy can be a challenging undertaking. Processed foods are so readily available, and it can be so much easier to pop a microwaveable meal in then to prepare a healthy, clean meal from scratch. Cooking takes time. Plus it can be hard to know what to make!

I have learned a few little tips that make it a bit easier to stay on track and keep away from the tempting ease and tastiness of processed foods. Hopefully they will be of some help to you as well!

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  • PLAN AHEAD. This is, in my opinion, the most important tip. Plan ahead before you go grocery shopping so that you know exactly what ingredients and food items you need. Make a list, and stick to it! Going into a grocery store without a plan is a dangerous thing. Plan out the meals you want to make, and get ingredients that you need for those meals. Make a list of healthy snacks to keep on hand in case you get a craving or burst of hunger throughout your day. Plan out your meals for the week. Plan, plan, plan. And stick to it!
  • PREPARE. I have found it to be very helpful to prepare food and snacks ahead of time to have handy throughout the week. For example, I always keep a big Tupperware full of washed red lettuce leaves and sliced red onions. That way, if I'm hungry, I can grab a handful of this mixture out of the Tupperware, add a bit of home-made salad dressing, and voila! A healthy, easy, fast snack! You can also prepare meat, such as ground beef or turkey and have it ready in your fridge to mix up with some grilled veggies. Easy, fast, and tasty. Just like processed food...BUT HEALTHY!
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    • KEEP SNACKS HANDY. If you are like me at all, then you need to always have access to food. I graze throughout the day and am pretty much constantly hungry. It is important for me to carry snacks with me wherever I go, or else I get fatigued, cranky, and sick feeling. I have found that carrying a few healthy snack bars - such as Larabars, Kind bars, and Caveman bars - is the easiest way to ensure that healthy food is always at the ready. This ties into the PLAN AHEAD tip - think ahead about what your day holds for you, and then plan your snack-packing accordingly. If you'll be out for a long time, pack a lunch, like this healthy Turkey Pita Sandwich.
    • DRINK WATER. You may or may not already know it, but often times when you feel like you are hungry, you are actually thirsty. Confusing, I know. But it's just another great motivation to always have a bottle of water with you and drink drink drink. Hydration is so important to make sure that your body functions the way that it should. Being hydrated ensures that your skin will be glowy and you will have more energy for all of your adventures!

    How To: Mermaid Braid

    IMG_3542 One of my favorite hairstyles has to be the easier-than-it-looks Mermaid Braid. It's actually really simple to do, and it looks super cool. It's a great style for keeping your hair out of the way and tied back, but it's a little more interesting than your typical braid. It's great for a day of hiking, a day at the beach, or a day in the office. Follow this quick tutorial and you'll be Mermaid-braiding in no time!

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    Step 1: Using a hair tie, loosely tie your hair into a low, side pony-tail.

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    Step 2: Separate the pony-tail into two equal sections.

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    Step 3: Take a small section of hair from one side, and wrap it over, adding it to the opposite side.

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    Step 4: Repeat this by taking a new small section of hair from the side that you just added the first small section to, and wrapping that over to add it to the side that you took the first small section from.

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    Step 5: Continue taking a small section of hair from one side, wrapping it over the top of the section that you took it from and adding it to the other section. Do this all the way down the split pony-tail.

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    Step 6: Once you've gotten to the end of your pony-tail, gently slide the hair tie down the braid to the bottom, and secure it tightly.

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    And there you have it! Easy-peasy, and just like that you look like a mermaid! *wink* This style is meant to look a little loose and undone, so don't worry about keeping the braid super tight or neat looking! Just go with the messy vibe! You are heading out for an adventure, after-all!

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    I'd love to see pictures of your Mermaid Braid! Tag me in your Mermaid Braid pictures on Instagram: @annamcohen

    Wild Eats: Healthy Shamrock Smoothie

    In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, here is a tasty, HEALTHY,  dose of green goodness for you to whip up!

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    Ingredients:

    1 banana

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    2/3cup Strawberry Greek Yogurt

    2/3cup Vanilla Almond Milk

    1 bowl full of spinach

    A few drops of mint extract

    A couple leaves of fresh mint

    A handful of ice cubes

    Here's what you do:

    Mix all ingredients into a blender and blend until creamy. Garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy!

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    Once you've made this, leave me a comment below and let me know how it turned out!

     

     

     

     

    How To Relax This Evening

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    1604786_10203431155011360_4965213623060468996_n As a society, we tend to run on high speed, fueled by packed schedules and deadlines. Stress is a norm in many of our lives. But it is well known that stress is really really bad for you. Stress can have many serious consequences such as stomach aches, headaches, acne, and even life threatening heart issues. It's important to give your body a break from all of the stress and give it time to decompress and relax. So, tonight, I encourage you to take some time for yourself. Here are few ways to relax this evening:

    1. Go for a walk. Exercise is a great stress reducer. Going for a nice walk will expose you to fresh air and a little dose of the great outdoors. It will calm your nerves and ease your mind and give you time to think and enjoy the sights.

    2. Do something easy and tasty for dinner. Tonight is about relaxing and being happy. Order a pizza, get Chinese takeout, or make something quick and fun that you love. Don't get caught up with carbs or diets - tonight is your night to enjoy yourself, so have at it!

    3. Watch the sunset. Sit out on your porch and watch the sunset. Just let your mind be quiet as you take in the sounds, smells, and sights. Allow yourself to just be. Be still. Be quiet. And most of all, be peaceful. Try to think about everything you are thankful for. Try to appreciate the moment and be present.

    4. Soak your worries away. Take a hot bath with Epsom salts and essential oils. Light a candle, turn off the lights, and just relax. Breathe in the hot vapors and let go of the stress and bustle of daily life. Take this time to just be quiet and to listen to your breath and to enjoy the moment. Soak for about twenty minutes to let the Epsom salts and oils do their thing.

    5. Give yourself a facial. Find a face mask in the store. St. Ives has a nice oatmeal one, and Freeman has an avocado oatmeal one as well. Or you can make one yourself. There are lots of recipes for home-made facials. I have used one made up of bananas, olive oil, and coconut oil. It sounds weird, but feels nice. Play around with different recipes and find one that works for your skin. The process of making a face mask can be fun and relaxing in and of itself!

    6. Read a good book. Let yourself get swept away. Reading is an excellent way to relax and to get your mind off of the million and four things that you have to do. Plus, reading before bed is a much healthier option than scrolling through your Instagram and Twitter feeds. The artificial light from your screen stimulates your brain making it harder for you to fall asleep, whereas reading a book is calming and great for making you sleepy at bed time.

    7. Sleep. Sleep is one of the best things you can do for stress. Making sure your mind and body have the right amount of time to heal themselves and rejuvenate is extremely important. Try to go to sleep early tonight. Being well rested helps you to cope with stress better, it makes you look better [bye bye under-eye bags!], and it will help you to feel bright and ready to take on the next day.

    What do you do to relax? Please share in the comments below!

     

    Summer Time Beauty Hacks

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    Summer time is all about effortless, carefree, easy, light beauty. It's about sun-drenched days, and heat that permeates all through the night. It's about going barefoot, living in a bikini [or whatever type of swimsuit floats your boat], and being easy-breezy.

    But summer time can do a number on different parts of your body. Here are some ways to keep yourself looking fresh, low-maintenance, and beautiful all summer long.

    1. Skin: In the summer time, the heat and the constant cycle of being wet, then dry, wet, then dry can do a real number on your skin. Not only can your skin become dried out, but constantly being wet from swimming can wipe off important good bacterias that live on your skin.

    Try this: Since none of us are going to even consider giving up long dunks in the lake or mermaid time in the sea, instead, try shortening your showers a bit. Try to keep the water temperature as cool as you can handle it. Also, find a moisturizer that works for you! My favorites are St. Ives and Ponds. I also have an amazing home made balm that mixes coconut oil, beeswax, vanilla, and a few other natural things to create a creamy, moisturizing dream.

    2. Face: Tend to break out more in the summer? That can happen. No worries, there are some things you can try.

    Try this: Try eliminating your moisturizer a night or two a week. Or, if you're like me and you can't even imagine not moisturizing every night, then try just limiting your moisturizer to areas of your face that feel particularly dry. Also, try to only wash your face in the evenings. Instead of giving it a good scrub in the mornings, just lightly rinse it with warm water to freshen up before starting your morning beauty routine. Also, make sure you are drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water every day to stay hydrated! There is no better way to make your skin glow!

    3. Makeup: Summer time makeup should be easy, natural, effortless, glowy... basically you want to look like you just rolled off of the beach - but still put together. Leave the heavy eyeliner and cakey foundation for the office. As soon as you get home from the office, wipe your face clean with a cleansing wipe, [I like Yes to Cucumbers wipes, available in drug stores], and get your summer face on.

    Try this: Start with a clean slate. Then apply a moisturizer with SPF [at least SPF 20, if you ask me]. Next, rub on a thin, moisturizing BB cream. The BB cream offers additional sunscreen benefits, as well as giving you additional moisture, AND acting as a bit of a concealer. It smooths out your complexion and hides any blemishes. Next, add a bid of cream blush to your cheeks and the bridge of your nose. Brush on a bit of bronzer if that's your thing. Swipe on some waterproof mascara, a bit of lip balm, and you're good to go. This should only take about two minutes to do, and you'll look natural, dewy, glowing, and like you're having one heck of a summer. Which you are.

    4. Feet: Living barefoot and in sandals all summer can make your feet a bit... less than pretty. Your heels can get cracked and dry, which isn't cute. Keep your tootsies nice a smooth with these tips...

    Try this: Whenever possible, try to wear socks and sneakers. Hey, wearing them with cut-off shorts is cute and summery. Or you can rock the "just got back from the gym" look and wear running shoes and yoga clothes. Comfy, cool, AND your feet are safely sheathed in soft socky-barriers. Moisturize your feet at night and try soaking them in Epsom salts or another kind of foot soak that works well for you. Use a foot scraper to remove dead, dry skin every once in awhile. Or get a pedicure.

    5. Hair: Hair is exposed to so much sunshine [UV rays], salt, heat, and water during the summer. This can be harsh on your strands.

    Try this: Wear a hat whenever possible when you are in the sun. This will protect your hair from harmful UV rays. Also, if you have highlights, guarding your hair from the sun will help to make the highlights last longer. Try washing your hair less - every other day will do. Just use a dry shampoo if your hair starts looking a little greasy. Use a deep conditioning treatment every now and then on your hair to help it stay hydrated and soft. A nice Moroccan oil is my favorite. It keeps the ends of my hair glossy. Also, try to avoid using a hair dryer [because who needs one in the summer time, right?], straightener, or curling iron [rock the touseled, natural mermaid waves], or any other tools that may expose your hair to additional heat.

    6. Body: Most importantly, protect your WHOLE body from harmful UV rays and cover up with sunblock any time you will be outside. No one wants wrinkles. Or skin cancer.

    Review: Frank Coffee Scrub

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    Let's be frank about Frank: it's even better than you'd think.

    If you are on Instagram, chances are you have heard about Frank Coffee Scrub - pretty much the hottest skin-care product out there right now. Guys and gals alike are absolutely raving about Frank. Instagram is plastered with pictures of customers, covered in coffee scrub, lovingly clutching their pouches of Frank and professing their undying love for the product. Not to mention, Frank's marketing is brilliant, [ just visit frankbody.com to see what I mean.] It got to the point that I couldn't temper my curiosity any longer. I ordered a pouch of the Coconut & Grapeseed coffee scrub and anxiously awaited Frank's arrival.

    First of all, the packaging is beautiful and cool. Frank comes in a resealable paper pouch. Frank comes in three scents, original, cacao, and coconut & grapeseed, which is the one that I got. I'm a coconut fan, what can I say? The coconut & grapeseed coffee scrub smells a lot like coconut and a lot like coffee. Put simply, it smells pretty darn amazing. True to the warning on Frank's label, the whole process is super messy. But, it's easy to clean up, and totally worth it.

    Here's how it works: Hop in to your empty bath tub or shower, get yourself damp, then scrub your little heart out and  let the scrub sit for about 5-10 minutes before rinsing. Trust me, your skin will have never felt so smooth. It's kind of amazing. Plus, Frank claims to help reduce cellulite, psoriasis, and stretch marks, so there's that too.

    My recommendation: Get your Frank on. As soon as possible. 100% worth it.

    Best part? The original costs only $14.95, the cacao costs $16.95, and the coconut & grapeseed costs $17.95, so you wont break the bank and you can keep coming back for more. Get yours at frankbody.com

     

    Love What You've Got: A Reminder About Social Media

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    Do what you love. With the rise of social media, we are constantly being bombarded with images and stories of people doing cool stuff, and of new things to lust after. When you spend time scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, you will see the parts of peoples' lives that they choose to share with the world. What does this mean? It means that those happy pictures and epic adventures that you see on social media are not the whole story. Rarely do people share their not-so-fine moments, their hardships, or their failures. You will probably not see too many pictures of things that are not brand new and exciting and impressive. People tend to share the most interesting, ground-breaking, and envy-inspiring parts of their lives, and it is important to keep this in mind when you feel yourself starting to feel inadequate or jealous.

    We, as a part of today's society, tend to want more. We want more money, more vacations, more adventures, more peace, more clothes, more house, more cars, more hours in each day, more friends, more love, more admiration... We are constantly stressing over changing and improving ourselves - over our perceived inadequacy in comparison to the parts of peoples' lives to which we are privy through social media. We yearn to be thinner, more fit, taller, better-looking... to go on more adventures and climb bigger mountains and hike further and surf bigger waves. After awhile, it becomes difficult to just stop all of the "wanting" and think, for a moment, about all of the amazing aspects of your life; about the impressive things that you have accomplished and about all of the beautiful things for which you have to be thankful.

    Social Media can be a wonderful thing in so many ways. It is great for businesses to promote their services. It can be a source of inspiration with which to look at people doing things that make them happy and that encourage you to do what makes you happy. It can be a catalyst that makes you want to try something new. It can be a platform for news, and a means of keeping in touch with people. It can be a way to learn about new gear, new products, and new trends. It can show you ways to pursue and live a healthier lifestyle. Social Media has such positive potential.

    Just keep in mind what parts of peoples' lives you are seeing and realize that it is not the whole picture. Take inspiration from what you can and allow yourself to be motivated and to strive to better yourself. But also, remember who you are and remember all of the amazing things that you have done and that you will do. Keep in mind the wonderful things that you have and be thankful for them. That is a sure-fire way to a satisfied life. Don't stress about the cool new things that your friend just bought and wrote about on facebook that you can't afford, or the incredible, awe-inspiring climb another friend did in Glacier National Park. Appreciate the motivation that such posts can give you and work on achieving your own sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Be proud of the life you live, and love what you've got.

     

    Review: Honey Girl Organics

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    Did you know that it only takes 26 seconds for cosmetics and other products that are put onto your skin to be absorbed into your bloodstream? Scary. And gross. Especially when you consider the types of chemicals and "mystery" ingredients that are in most skin care products. The most startling part of that statistic, however, is that everything you put on your skin gets absorbed iImagen. When I heard that, I started paying more attention to the types of ingredients and chemicals that are in my makeup and lotions. It was terrifying. Such a large number of the ingredients are unnatural and man-made.

    When I was in Haleiwa earlier this year, I discovered a skin care line based out of the North Shore of Oahu. The company is called Honey Girl Organics and their products are all natural, organic, and oh-so-good for your skin. Plus they smell amazing. Ingredients include honey, beeswax, and royal jelly, all from the company's own Hawaiian grown bees. Since I've started using Honey Girl Organics products, my skin has never felt better.

    Bottom line: I highly recommend giving this skin care line a try.

    My favorite Honey Girl Organic product is the Face & Eye Cream [$30.99]. Check it out at www.honeygirlorganics.com.

     

    Jump Start Your Spring

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    Spring has sprung and it's about time! It was a long winter and it is easy to start feeling a bit stir crazy when your outdoor activities are limited. With the warming of the weather, it's time to start planning those backpacking trips and getting ready for those wilderness climbs. Image

    During the winter months it is normal for us to slack on exercise in favor of snuggling up with a blanket by the fire. Nothing wrong with snuggling or blankets or fires, however when spring  rolls around, it can be quite the rude awakening to realize that all of that winter snoozing left you feeling weak, out of breath, and totally unprepared for a long trek. When it's time to load up your pack and head out into the backcountry, you want to be ready.

    Here are a few ways to jump-start your spring and get back into the swing of things, physically:

    1. Make a list. Write down your goals [i.e. hikes you want to do, backpacking trips you have planned, climbs you want to try, a beachy vacation that you want to get in shape for...]. That way you can see everything laid out before you. If that isn't motivation to whip your butt into gear, I don't know what is.

    2. Create a routine. Make a plan of when and where and how often you are going to exercise. If it's before work five times a week, then set your alarm a little earlier and go to bed a little sooner than you normally would the night before. Then, [and this is easier said than done,] stick to it. Routines take anywhere from 21 to 66 days to form, depending on who you ask. So when your alarm goes off at 5:30am or you get home from work at 7:00pm, don't give into the urge to "take the day off". Just do it.

    3. Mix up your workout regimen. It's easy to get bored if you do the same work out every day. So, try picking a few different ways to exercise and rotate through them on various days of the week. When prepping for a backcountry adventure, it is important to not only get good cardiovascular exercise in, but also to build up strength and endurance. Try alternating between running, going on hikes, and yoga.

    4. Find workouts that you love. If you enjoy what you are doing, you will be more likely to actually do it. All the good intentions in the world wont make you go out for a run if you absolutely hate running. If a spin class is more your thing, do it! If jump roping floats your boat, do that.

    I love taking barre3 classes. They are fun and they really build up your strength and endurance - plus you get a great cardio work out, mixed with toning and stretching. Perfection!

    And if hiking is the only form of "working out" that you can stand, go hiking more. 

    If crowded trails aren't your style, check out my post on "Why It's Good to Get Off the Trail" for some tips on how to find more remote places to hike.

    5. Start now! It is not too early to start training for your backpacking trip this June. Start your new exercise routine, and make sure you strap on your loaded pack at every chance you get. Even just walking around your house with it on will build up your strength. You don't want the first time you put on your pack this year to be when you're heading out into the wild for three nights.

    This is going to be a great year of outdoor exploration!

    Let me know your favorite ways to get physically ready for adventure in the comments below!

    Salty. Sandy. Happy.

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    I've come to the realization that life is best when one is covered in sand, and one's hair is salty and sun bleached.Where can one get said sand, salt, and sun? A tropical island, of course. I've spent the last week on the North Shore of Oahu. When most people hear Oahu, they think Waikiki and Honolulu - tourist hell holes. However, take a drive up to the northern tip of the island, and you will find a completely different setting.

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    The North Shore is famed for world class surfing and the fabled Pipe Masters, a surfing competition that takes place in the winter in which the best surfers on the planet can compete for the ultimate bragging rights. The quaint little beach town of Haleiwa is at the heart of the North Shore, and it feels a lot like a second home to me.

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    I have been going there for years now with my family and every time we get back into town, I can feel myself beginning to relax. Haleiwa and the North Shore have a much more laid back vibe than the busy cities down south. The locals are super friendly and make you feel like one of them. It's a sleepy, sunny little place with some incredible restaurants and fun activities. Some of my favorite things to do are find new hikes around the northern end of the island, swim with sharks [www.hawaiisharkencounters.com], visit Waimea Valley, get a massage from North Shore Mobile Massage [they will come right to your beach house and set up their massage tables in your own back yard if you want!], and pick up some lumpias and fresh coconut from the local road-side fruit stands.

    But honestly, my favorite way to spend the day on the island is holed up at our beach house, soaking up the rays and body surfing with the sea turtles. Nothing beats being a beach bum for a week and a half.I don't know if it is the balmy air, the vitamin D, or the salt water, but I always notice my skin clearing up after just a few days of being here, and my attitude clears up too. So, first chance you get, book your flight, pack your bags, and head to a tropical island - any one will do. Submerge yourself in the turquoise waters, lay in the sun, let your hair get bleached and let your body get sandy and just...let go.

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    Beauty, Naturally

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    I will admit, I love makeup. I love doing my hair and dressing up. But, I've learned that if you aren't healthy and beautiful on the inside, you wont look your best on the outside, regardless of how much foundation and mascara you use. Recently, I've been on a quest to find a natural beauty regimen. I spend a lot of time outdoors, camping and exploring with my husband, and I don't take makeup with me when I'm out adventuring! So, it has become essential that I focus on shifting my beautifying techniques to start on the inside, rather than focusing on products that go on the outside. Glowing, flawless skin, a healthy complexion, glossy hair...all of that depends on what you put into your body. Here are a few tricks that I've learned to attain beauty in a natural, healthful way:

    1. Drink water. No...I mean LOTS of water. Our bodies are primarily made up of water. When you feel yourself becoming thirsty, that means that your body is already in the beginning stages of dehydration. It is recommended that you drink water constantly throughout the day rather than waiting until you feel parched. I keep a 22oz bottle with me, and I try to drink at least three bottles full of water each day. Ideally, one should be drinking at least half of one's body weight in water every 24 hours. Water helps to flush toxins out of your body, and, most importantly, your skin. If you start amping up your water intake, I bet you will notice your skin start to clear up and, before long, it will take on that greatly coveted natural glow. *Bonus: Drinking more water will give you energy!

    2. Coconut Oil. I have found that coconut oil makes an incredible, all natural moisturizer. It can be used all over your body, like a lotion - minus the chemical ingredients. Coconut oil is a wonderful lip balm, and it makes your skin positively glow. It's also great to use in your hair as a conditioner. Just smooth it into your strands before a shower, and let it sit for a few minutes before washing it out.

    3. Limit Dairy. I've been trying to limit my dairy intake and since I've done that, my skin has become less bumpy and more smooth.

    4. Stock Up On ZZZZs. Getting a solid 8 hours of sleep every night is a crucial part of a natural beauty regimen. When you sleep, your body repairs itself. Your mind, your skin, every single part of you is worked on while you sleep. Getting enough sleep reduces dark circles under your eyes, adds to your natural glow, and helps to reduce cortisol levels (which are caused by stress). Investing in some quality sleep is a good idea whenever you can.

    5. Exercise! Whether it is a relaxing yoga class, a nice run outside, a fast-paced barre class [my favorite barre workout is barre3: www.barre3.com], or a full-body toning video from the girls over at Tone it Up! [www.toneitup.com].  It doesn't matter what you do. Find something you love that makes you feel good about yourself, and then make it a habit! My favorite form of exercise is hiking. What's yours?  Exercise will increase circulation in your body, and it helps pump oxygen to your organs. And don't forget, what is the largest organ in the body? That's right - skin. Exercise will make your skin healthier. And that's what we're going for with this natural beauty regimen! So even if you just do a Tone it Up video for 15 minutes, or an hour-long barre3 class, that's ok. As long as you are doing something good for yourself to get your body moving a little, that can do wonders for your body and, especially, your mind. Exercise reduces cortisol levels, keeps you limber, and gives you endorphins which make you happy. And happiness is beautiful!

    6. Relax. I've been mentioning cortisol - that nasty chemical that is released in your body when you are stressed. Too much cortisol can have detrimental effects on your health. Try to make an effort to relax and let go of stress. Take a hot, candle lit bath with your favorite bath soaps. Go on a weekend getaway with your honey. Curl up by the fire with a good book and zone out for a while. Get a massage, or a manicure and pedicure. Drink some tea, or a glass of vino and just...let go every once in a while. It will do wonders for your body...and your mental health.

    7. Pay Attention to What Kind of Food You Eat. I've tried to focus on eating whole foods and I have been making an effort to eliminate processed foods from my diet. When you think about it, processed foods are hardly food at all. They are modified, filled with chemicals, salt, and sugar, all in an effort to appeal to the taste buds, while completely disregarding what they do to our bodies. By sticking to whole foods, you can be more sure of what is going into your body. Fruits, vegetables, meat, fish...these are all things that are in their natural forms. Stick to those types of foods. Your body will thank you for it.

     

     

    5 Ways the Backcountry is Good For You

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    Image There is always a moment when I first set out on a trail that will lead me winding and twisting for days back into the backcountry. It's like all the stress of the hustle and bustle of life releases in one giant cleansing breath. I feel lighter. Free. Back to my roots. Backpacking has become a huge hobby of mine and not just for the break from work and the city. Here are five ways that being out in the backcountry, away from society and all creature comforts is GOOD for you!

    1. Clear your mind. Get away from the chaos and constant over-stimulation and just be, bra.

    2. Breathe in the fresh, clean, pure air of the wild. It's good for your mind, body, and soul.

    3. It makes you have to rough it a bit. In this day and age of everything being readily available and easy to obtain, having to work for your food, shelter, and - to an extent - your very survival is a GOOD thing. Get your hands dirty! You wont regret it.

    4. Backcountry adventurin' is great exercise! Carrying a huge backpack full of gear on your back for 12 miles a day is a workout like no other. AND you are usually  in some of the most stunning landscapes out there so that's a bonus: amazing view while working out. I'd take that over the gym any day.

    5. In the backcountry, you have to step outside of your comfort zone. You might find yourself in some less than ideal situations: a rain storm, a ripped tent, an encounter with a bear... it is GOOD to face your fears and to tackle whatever the wild might throw your way. It gives you the opportunity to surprise even yourself and to do something that you did not even know you were capable of.

    So get outside! Breathe in the fresh air! Surprise yourself! The backcountry awaits you!

    Backcountry Beauty

    923169_10200729333027499_843181314_n I  do a lot of backpacking, hiking, and camping. My husband and I trek it out into the wild for days at a time and let me tell you, it took me awhile to get the hang of roughing it. I love my creature comforts and eating healthy, and I definitely still want to look somewhat cute around my husband. Anyone who has gone backpacking knows that eating healthy and staying pretty in the backcountry isn't very easy to do.  It was just a matter of time before I had to figure out some ways to incorporate my beauty and health essentials into my packing list without adding a ton of extra weight to my pack.

    Here are nine keys to backcountry beauty:

    1. Bring some great cleansing wipes (baby wipes will do!). I like the Yes to Cucumbers facial clothes [yestocarrots.com]. Nothing feels better at the end of a long day of hiking than giving your face (and body!) a good wipe down. I like feeling and smelling fresh and my skin definitely appreciates the cleaning. Throw a small pack of cleansing wipes in your pack and it wont add much weight or bulk to your load. Your face will thank you for it and your tent-mate will appreciate the clean smell!
    2. Throw a little tube of moisturizer and some chapstick in your bag. My skin dries out SO easily so bringing a moisturizing lotion along is a must. Plus, nothing looks prettier than dewy, moisturized skin and lips. I usually just keep a travel-sized tube of Aveeno or St. Ives in all of my packs and bags so that I always have one handy.  I like a nice tinted chapstick like the cherry or strawberry flavored ones. They add a bit of color. You will feel better too if you keep your skin healthy and lubed up.
    3. DRINK A LOT OF WATER!!! Hydration = beauty AND health. Get used to peeing in the bushes...it's gonna happen.
    4. Bring healthy snacks. Mountain House Meals and Clif Bars are backpacking essentials and they can be oh-so-tasty and necessary after a long day of trekking it in the backcountry. Carbs and calories are important!! But eating all that can really do a number on your skin AND your stomach.  Prepare some baggies of dried fruit and nuts to bring along. If you have extra room at ALL, bring some carrot sticks or apples. Any healthy, whole foods that you can fit and carry, BRING THEM. Trust me, your skin and stomach will thank you after five days in the wilderness. You will look and feel A LOT better if you can manage to eat some whole foods along the way.
    5. Get more sleep than you think you need.  We all know that it's hard to get a really great night's sleep while camping. Take a nap during the day if you can. Try to fit in some shut-eye whenever the opportunity arises. You will feel better and you will give your body a chance to rejuvenate itself. AND you will help stave off those dark bags under your eyes.
    6. Wear sunscreen!! Protect that skin! I burn so easily and let me tell you - NOTHING can ruin a backpacking trip faster than a bad sunburn. Plus, the lobster look isn't very cute.
    7. Bring a travel-sized toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss...and use them!
    8. French braid your hair. No muss, no fuss. It will keep your hair from getting tangled AND you'll have pretty waves when you take it out.
    9. SMILE! Nothing is more beautiful than someone having the time of her life!

    Have fun, backcountry beauties!

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