Switch your afternoon coffee for green tea

Lately I have been craving an iced coffee in the afternoon. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s hot, if I need a caffeine jolt or if it just so happens I have a free coffee every day in June from Panera Bread. In any case, I am loving my afternoon treat. I have recently switched from an iced coffee to an iced tea, which I am totally digging. Cold, refreshing and good for me.

Here are some benefits of Green Tea:

  • Increases metabolism. The polyphenol found in green tea works to intensify levels of fat oxidation and the rate at which your body turns food into calories
  • Helps prevent diabetes by slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating. This can prevent high insulin spikes resulting in fat storage, especially around the stomach.
  • Helps prevent Heart Disease by helping blood vessels remain relaxed and better able to handle changes in blood pressure and may also prevent clots
  • Reduce the risk of esophageal cancer, but also it is thought to kill cancer cells in general without damaging the healthy tissue around them.
  • Reduces bad cholesterol in the blood and improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol.
  • May help delay brain cell deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Studies carried out on mice showed that green tea protected brain cells from dying and restored damaged brain cells.
  • “Catechins”, a type of antioxidant in tea can destroy bacteria and viruses that cause throat infections, dental caries and other dental conditions
  • Regular consumption of green tea is thought to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
  • Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves. This is thought to provide a relaxing and tranquilizing effect, aiding in those with depression.
  • Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents which make them effective for treating everything from influenza to cancer. In some studies green tea has been shown to inhibit the spread of many diseases.
  • Help with wrinkles and the signs of aging, because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Applied topically can reduce sun damage

The jury is out on how much one should drink. Typical consumption in tea drinking cultures is 3 cups per day.  Remember tea is caffeinated, so be careful how much you consume if you are sensitive to caffeine’s effects. Drink tea freshly brewed after steeping for 3-5 minutes. Decaffeinated, instant and bottled teas have reduced benefits.

I knew tea was good for me, but I honestly wasn’t aware of all these benefits.  I will absolutely be drinking more green tea.

Have a beautiful, refreshing day!

Sources:
Harvard Health Publications
Lifehack

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Catching Up

butt

Ok, so I was looking at my challenge schedule and realized my days were off.

It started with Thong Thursday. Which was actually a Tuesday. After that I got all discombobulated and stopped writing. I was way too flustered. Did you know discombobulate was a real word? I thought it was something I made up. You learn something new everyday, I guess.

So right now I’m going to catch up and stay on track. Because I have some amazing guest bloggers scheduled and I don’t want to throw them off track with my discombobulation. I may never stop saying this.

So here goes, starting with Thong Thursday (or Tuesday or Wednesday or whatever day)  I’ve got to let it go.

If you’re wondering what I meant by Thong Thursday, here it is. It is simply wearing something under your clothes that makes you feel sexy. Thongs do NOT make me feel sexy. They make me feel like my ass has swallowed my skivvies and I spend all day trying to pick it out. Not a good look.

What does make me feel sexy is a matching black bra and panties. TMI? Maybe so. But we’re all friends here. Really as long as they match, it doesn’t matter what color or print. It just makes me feel put together.

The first thing I think of when I put on mismatched or frayed undergarments (aka granny panties) is “Oh God I hope I don’t get in an accident”. Did your mom ever tell you that? “Make sure you have clean underwear on, in case you get in accident”. I don’t really know what the significance of that is, but it stuck.

Next came packing a picnic dinner, or lunch. I love the idea of doing this with the family. Taking a hike somewhere, finding a shady spot and eating lunch together. Maybe a game of frisbee afterward. Not everything has to cost a lot of money. Try it sometime.

  • DIY hair masque. This Banana mask has Potassium for healing damaged dry hair, Vitamin A to strengthen hair follicles as well as nourish dry hair, Vitamin E which promotes healthy hair and scalp and Vitamin C which helps regulate oil.

All you need are 2 overripe bananas, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon honey

In a blender or food processor, process the bananas until completely smooth and silky. You can do this by hand, just make sure you have no lumps. Add the remaining ingredients until super smooth. Slather the mask onto your head starting with the scalp and coat hair. Let set for 5-10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. No need to shampoo. You’ll smell delish and your hair will be bouncy and shiny.

  • Pay It Forward! Do something nice for someone and hope they will continue. Perfect example, buy the coffee for the person behind you at the coffee shop. They may be having a really crappy day. Donate to the food bank. Drop off a box of Joe to the police or fire department. Drop off dinner to a friend who’s super busy. Volunteer. Let me know your ideas!
  • Smile!
    A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give. ~Author Unknown
  • Sparkle!
    We all need a little sparkle in our lives. Add some glitter today. Glitter nail polish, some sequins, eye shadow with some sparkle, ruby slippers. Whatever makes you feel like a shiny, happy person.
  • Meatless Monday
    I know it’s summer and everyone is throwing burgers and dogs on the grill. How about some grilled veggies? Chop up your favorite veggies, add some olive oil and spices and place in a foil packet over the grill until cooked to your liking. When done, toss in a bit of feta cheese or grated parmesan. Serve over brown rice or pasta or toss into a fresh pita for a light dinner. Maybe some grilled pineapple or peaches with some crumbled Biscoff cookies over vanilla ice cream for dessert? Drool

And finally we come to today *Phew!

  • Surrounding yourself with beautiful things. This is a good time to take a couple of minutes to clean up the clutter. Nothing feels better to me than cleaning “Clutter Island” and putting up a simple vase of fresh tulips. Surrounding yourself with beautiful things could be as simple as removing the “ugly”. I know that always works wonders for me. Clutter is always a problem. But you knew that already.

If clutter isn’t your problem, how about a home improvement project? Paint is cheap and makes a huge, instantaneous impact. New throw pillows, update photos, change your throw rugs, pretty new hand towels for the bathroom, but a new fresh scented candle. I could go on and on.

But make it pretty. Objects that do not inspire or make you happy need to be removed to create a positive energy around you. Try it. I challenge you today to get rid of one object you’ve been holding onto that you dislike. Go for it.

Make sure you check back tomorrow for a great giveaway.

Have a beautiful day!

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Day 16: Get Your Zzzzzzzzs

Sea_otters_holding_hands

Did you know?

  • Research shows you sleep better during a new moon and worse during a full moon, although scientists don’t know why
  • We only dream of faces we have already seen, whether we actually remember them or not
  • Humans are the only mammals that willingly delay sleep
  • Doing without sleep is likely to make you hungry as levels of leptin, an appetite suppressing hormone drop
  • 75% of us dream in color. Prior to color television only 15% did
  • It takes two weeks to die of starvation and only 10 days without sleep
  • Whales and dolphins, literally fall half asleep.  Each side of their brain takes turns to continue to breathe
  • Insomnia is a natural part of grieving. Taking sleeping pills can disrupt the process
  • Being awake for 16 hours straight decreases your performance as much as if your blood alcohol content was .05% (the legal limit is  .08%)
  • Dysania: the state of finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning. It may signal a nutritional disorder, depression or other medical cause
  • Sea otters hold hands when they fall asleep so they don’t drift.  aw
  • Tiredness peaks twice a day, at 2:00 a.m and 2:00 p.m.
  • Within 5 minutes of waking up 50% of your dream is forgotten. After 10 minutes 90% is gone
  • Different age groups need different amounts of sleep. Babies: 16 hours, Ages 3-18: 10 hours, Ages 19-55: 8 hours, Over 65: 6 hours

 

 

 

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Turn Hump Day into Pump Day! Strength Training

challenge

barbellls

Fitness is not my forte. So, I am not going to pretend I know anything about it. I’m still confused as to what actually happens to the fat when you lose weight. Where does it go? Working out would be much more entertaining if fat cells screamed as they burned. Just sayin. I’m very complex, yet simple. And complex.

So, today I’m going to link you over to a couple of great articles on the subject. They really helped me make some sense of things. I am definitely going to start adding in the weights to my existing routine. Does not doing anything but saying you have a routine count as a routine? Sorry, thinking out loud.

Weights are the only thing I have not really given a fair shot. Maybe it will be just the thing to jumpstart my weightloss. Time to give it a shot.

Do you use weights in your workout regimen? What works for you? Do tell!

If you are blessed to have been given a new day, don’t waste it on “I’ll start tomorrow”. Today is my day. Is it yours too? I hope so. I could use the company.

Have a great workout! Work hard! Tomorrow you get to soak your feet.

Barbells and Bellinis
Dailyburn

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Weekend Recap, Yoga and Procrastinating

Photo and article: MindBodyGreenDaily
Happy Monday!

I hope everyone had a lovely summery weekend and are refreshed and ready for a productive week ahead.

This weekend I asdvised you to eat dessert first. How many times have you gone out for dinner and ate so much you didn’t have any room left for dessert?

Having dessert first takes care of that problem. I love dessert. I have a sweet tooth. Big time! My mother came up with a genious idea. Once a month or so, she goes out with friends to grab a pastry and a coffee at this little Italian cafe in downtown Newburyport. Then they stroll around the quaint specialty shops and street vendors or just take a walk along the pier. After that it’s dinner time, a light dinner of drinks and appetizers or soup and a salad at one of the phenomenal restaurants there. I wholeheartedly suggest you give this idea a try. It’s a nice change, and you won’t miss out on dessert.

Sunday was World Oceans Day. Are you a seafood lover? Click here to see how you can make better choices for our oceans. You can find also find a free app from Seafood Watch to find a convenient list of sustainable seafood. Click here for a list of ocean-friendly recipes from the New England Aquarium.

Monday morning yoga. Did you give it a try? I actually did a pilates video instead. I’ve got to say, my core is feeling it. It feels gooooooood. If you are interested, here is a good link to some good morning yoga moves to start your day. This is one of my favorite sites lately. Spend some time there. Lots of great information.

So, how’s your challenge going so far? Have you done any of the challenges? Or at least dedicated twenty minutes a day to do something for you? Just you! Because even taking twenty minutes to do something you love but don’t often allow yourself to do, will make you feel happy. And remember, happy is beautiful.

That being said, I had a bad day on Sunday. I forgot something very important someone once said to me, which I will share at a later time. But let me just say, you can never undo, or unsay, but you can move on and let it go and make it better.

We’re all human and we’re not perfect. We just have to be the best we can be. Phew, glad that’s off my chest.

Today, although it says facial (we’re doing that on Friday, I screwed up on my list) I think I’m going to do something that I have been putting off. Do you have something that has been nagging at you that you haven’t done? I’ve read that even a small thing that is plagueing your mind can increase stress, cause anxiety and increase blood pressure. It could be something simple like putting off asking for a raise or telling your signifcant other you screwed up plans. Or it could be a task you keep putting off. It doesn’t have to be huge either. Just something. It could be as simple as making a doctor’s appointment for your yearly physical, or going to the hairdresser, or trying one of the daily challenges that you really wanted to but didn’t get a chance. Or it could be starting a bigger task. Like painting a room, starting a garden, or writing a resume.

That’s the challenge I’m issuing you today. Let me know what your going to tackle.

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Day 6: Have A Cocktail!

sangria-0711med10722-par001_hd

TGIF everyone!

It’s Friday. It’s summer. It’s time for a cocktail! How is this part of a beauty challenge you ask? A little alcohol will give you a rosy glow of course. I’m kidding. Well, I mean it does give you a rosy glow, but that’s not why I put it on the challenge.

If you’ve looked through the daily challenges, they aren’t all about your physical beauty. They are about feeling happy. And I’ve got to say, happy people are beautiful. They look at life differently. They are more relaxed and less uptight. And let’s face it, they are more fun to be around.

After a long work week, a refreshing summer cocktail is just the ticket.

What’s your drink? Do you have one that you always go to or do you love trying new things? I have a couple that I stick to. A sangria (this is the recipe I use) or a simple vodka and cranberry juice with lime. Although, if it were super hot out and I were hanging outside, nothing beats a Sam Adams Summer Brew, but it has to be out of a cooler and ICE COLD. That’s pretty much it for met.

Let me know what your faves are and if you have a good recipe to go with it.

Have a beautiful night.

Recipe and photo from Martha Stewart

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Day 5: DIY Manicure and Homemade Sugar Scrub

hand

It’s manicure time!

It’s time to park yourself in front of the TV with a good show, a nice glass of wine or cup of tea and all your supplies at the ready.

  • Hand towel
  • small bowl of warm, soapy water
  • nail brush
  • file
  • cuticle nippers
  • nail polish remover and cotton pads
  • cuticle remover
  • polish (including base & top coat)
  • scrub & lotion (optional)

Sugar Scrub
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 Tbls coconut oil (solid) or other oil if desired. Olive, grapeseed, sweet almond or vitamin E are all suitable choices
2-3 drops lavendar oil, optional
I like using the solid oil as it maintains the sugar crystals causing it to be more abrasive. Try both and see which you prefer.

*Mix together in a small bowl for single use.

Step 1: Remove any old polish

Step 2: File
Using a fine-grit emery board, shape the nail from the outside edge in towards the center. Do not saw back and forth as this weakens the nail. For the most flattering effect, the curve of the nail should mirror the base. Oval is the most common or a squared oval or “squoval”

Step 3: Groom
Prepare the nail for polish by removing the cuticle. That thin dead layer of skin that sticks to the nail. Do this by using a few drops of cuticle remover and gently push back the skin with a cuticle pusher or orange-wood stick. NEVER CUT THE CUTICLE! It’s easy to cut too much off and cause bleeding which can cause infection. Use the nippers to trim hangnails only.

Step 4: Scrub & Massage
Over a sink and while hands are dry, use all your sugar scrub and simply rub hands together all the way up to your elbows. Use the nail brush in the soapy water and lightly brush your nail beds and rinse hands and arms under warm, not hot water.

Use a large dollop of lotion and rub into hands and arms in a firm circular  movement until the lotion is absorbed.

Step 5: Prep

Use a cotton pad with nail polish remover to quickly remove any lotion from the nail or your polish won’t stick. Don’t skip the basecoat! It gives the polish something to stick to and protects the nail from discoloration, which is common when using a dark color. Most basecoats also contain ingredients such as vitamin E, protein and calcium to help nourish weak or peeling nails. A ridge-filling base coat has a creamy consistency and smooths grooves on the nail plate.

Step 6: Paint

Use thin layers for best adhesion and quicketst drying time. All you need are three swipes. Start an eight of an inch from the side of the nail and the base of the cuticle, then gently press down on the brush causing it to fan out and cover these areas. Repeat on the other side and finish with a swipe up the middle. Don’t forget to “cap” the edge by dragging the brush down on the final swipe. Don’t worry if it gets on your skin, you can clean it up later. Wait two minutes between coats.

Step 7: Protect

Use a topcoat over dry polish to give it extra long life. There are so many new types of top coats. Matte, crackle, super-strengthening and more you can give your nails a super cool look.

Now put a straw in your wine glass and relax while your nails dry. Tell your significant other that they have to set for a good hour, so you don’t have to do anything. I won’t tell.

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Day 4: New Nail and Lip Color Shopping

Peach of Cake Sally Hanson Complete Manicure

Peach of Cake Sally Hanson Complete Manicure

Time to shop ladies! A new polish and lip color can bring out a whole new you. This time of year your skin color is changing and a new lighter, brighter color can be just the pick-me-up you need. Even though you should typically take your skin tone into consideration, summertime is for fun. So take full advantage of the trends. I love the rainbow of colors that are out now, but I also love the glitter! I’m like a child. Oh how I love shiny things! Nina and I have matching glittery toes right now. Just sayin.

But if you are more reserved and typically wouldn’t wear mint green or a hot neon on your nails, this is the time of year to try something new. Go ahead!

How about just using those colors on your tips for a funky French? Or a half moon mani? Don’t forget, the classics never go out

I love the Sally Hanson Total Manicure Line. Love, love, love it! It dries super fast and stays on really good. I am a huge fan of their nude shades. They are so very pretty. Also, very reasonably priced at somewhere around $5.00. Sometimes, if my nails are bare, I may just throw a quick coat on while I’m running out of the house waiting for coffee at the drive-thru.

But I wanted a little color. This is “Peach of Cake” and it looks a little lighter than it actually is. It is light but bright. I love the coral colors and they go well with my skin tone. I try to stay in the warm color family as cool colors tend to make “mature” hands look older. No thank you!

I had just bought a new lip gloss, so I really didn’t need one. That being said, a girl can never have too many lip glosses. Why do you think Lip Smackers come in packs of ten assorted flavors. I really don’t like lipstick at all. I hate how it tastes. Yuck! I like a yummy, fruity, shimmery gloss that plumps my lips up. You know I love my Baby Lips. I must have 10 or 12 of them floating around between my purse and the car. I love the shades and the fact that they contain sunscreen. Not just because it’s summer. Your lips need to be protected year round. Check them out in the Maybelline section. They come out with new colors and flavors all the time.

Tomorrow is DIY manicure day. While you are picking your new, edgy shade of polish you may want to pick up some cuticle remover (if you don’t have any), a good quality nail file, a cuticle pusher or orangewood sticks, cotton pads and polish remover, so you are fully prepared. And while you’re there, don’t forget to pick up a dry brush and a bag of epsom salts if you haven’t done it yet.

Happy shopping!

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Day 3: Dry Brushing

woman using bath brush

Your skin is the largest organ of the body. But you knew that, right?

Did you know that healthy skin protects your body from chemicals and extreme temperatures and produces antibacterial substances that enable your body to produce vitamin D when exposed to the sun.

Another vital role your skin plays is detoxification. So think about it, if your skin is overrun with toxins and dead skin cells, it won’t be efficient at eliminating waste.

Here are some of benefits you’ll see after several weeks of daily brushing.

• Reduces appearance of cellulite by breaking down and moving around fat cells. Although not clinically proven, many have seen amazing reduction in cellulite appearance, especially when paired with a healthy diet and exercise, naturally.
•Helps remove dead skin cells and encourages new cell renewal resulting in smoother, brighter skin.
•Helps reduce pesky ingrown hairs
•Improves vascular blood circulation and lymphatic drainage encouraging your body to get rid of waste. Therefore helping the body run more efficiently.
•Rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin. For those who are doubting how scrubbing yourself with a bristle brush could feel good, try it!
•Helps muscle tone and distributes fat deposits more evenly
•Eliminates clogged pores

All you need is a long-handled natural bristle brush, not one made from nylon or synthetic materials. You want to find one that comes off the long handle, so you can hold it in your hand when getting the easy to reach spots. Brushes usually run from $4 to $10 and can be purchased at drug stores, health food stores or stores with a beauty section. Mine came from Target, of course.

Here’s how to do it:
•Skin should be dry
•Work in gentle circular, upward motions, then longer, smoother strokes.
•Start at the feet and work your way up towards the heart. Lymphatic fluid flows through the body towards the heart, so it’s important that you brush in the same direction (with the exception of your back; brush from the neck down to the lower back).
•After you’re done with the ankles, move up the legs, thighs, stomach, back and arms.
•Be gentle on more sensitive skin and never brush over sunburns, rashes, sores or cancerous areas.
•Ensure you shower to wash away the dead skin cells and impurities and remember to alternate temps in the shower to further stimulate blood circulation (check out Day 1 Detox Bath)
•Follow it up with a good moisturizer. I use Burt’s Bees Lemon and Vitamin E Bath Oil

I have been doing this daily for about two weeks and love the way it feels. I can’t say at the moment that my cellulite is better, but I can say that my sunless tanner goes on with no streaks and my skin feels great. Also if anyone suffers from Keratosis Pilaris (KP or “chicken skin”) this makes a huge difference on the backs of your arms.

Try it. You’re body will love you for it! Just ask fans actress Molly Simms and Victoria Secret model Miranda Kerr who swear by it!

Photo credit and some helpful info from Queen of Green

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Day 2: Lighten Up for the Summer

How was your detox bath? Did you give it a shot? If you didn’t get a chance to try it yesterday, really try to give yourself half and hour before bed sometime this week. You’re body will thank you for it, I promise.

Day 2 is all about lightening up for the Summer.  I know that typically hair salons are closed on Mondays, so actually getting or making an appointment today may be out of the question, but take a few minutes today to look at some different hair styles and colors.

I am a brunette. And I know they say blondes have more fun and all, but I prefer a deep, rich, chocolate brown. But since it’s summertime, I think it’s time to change it up a bit. Now, I’m not talking going platinum or anything. But I have been toying with the ombre look. You’ll have to wait and see.

I don’t want to forget about you other gorgeous ladies. The blondes and redheads of the world. Maybe it’s time to think about taking it down a shade or two with highlights, a bayalage effect or a trendy ombre. I’m a fan of the ombre, can you tell?

Don’t feel left out if color isn’t your thing. Maybe think about switching up your style with a new cut. Maybe a couple inches off the bottom or some bangs or maybe some pretty long layers.

Check out some stunning celebs who are a sporting different do’s these days. Maybe you’ll be inspired. Need some more inspiration? Check out Hair and Beauty. And don’t forget to search Pinterest. You can always find inspiration there!

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sg

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By the way, I’ll be waiting for some Before & After photos! And remember, it’s only hair!

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